20 Loves

Before the holidays my CEO asked my coworkers and I to put together a personal business plan that outlined our personal (if we wanted to share) and professional goals for the next three years. I struggle with doing things like that, but I know this kind of planning and goal-setting is a useful life skill and after procrastinating for a while on it I ultimately enjoyed the exercise and found it helpful. We also all had to do a DISC profile (an in-depth personality test that basically details how you work), and it nailed me to a T! It was so eerily accurate, and I am actually excited for my CEO to read it so that he can kind of “get to know” me better. Not that he doesn’t know me…but it really does show the way I think and what I need to work productively.

One of the assignments we were asked to do as part of our plan was a 20 Loves exercise, where we simply wrote down 20 things that we love. Your loves can be anything. When I first heard this I wondered how I was going to be able to come up with 20 things that I loved…but once I got into it I realized that I could probably write an endless list of things I love. I guess I love a lot of things. Of my personal business plan, this was the part I liked doing the most!

So I have decided to share my 20 loves with you. Here they are!

20 Loves

  1. My family and partner in life.
  2. My wonderful friends.
  3. Reading. I’ll read anything, I am always reading something, but I especially love reading a good book.
  4. Writing and blogging.
  5. Being outside, always. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing, if I have a choice I want to be outside.
  6. Being active outside – hiking, skiing, skating, swimming, just going for a walk.
  7. How I feel after a good workout. I wish I could bottle up that feeling so when I really, really don’t want to work out I can remember how good I’ll feel afterwards.
  8. Deep water lake swimming (or ocean, I’m not picky).
  9. Eating. Just eating good food in general, but home cooked meals by Evan are my favourite.
  10. Making Sunday brunch and weekend dinners with Evan.
  11. Leisuring around at the cottage.
  12. Making people laugh.
  13. Graphic design/drawing/cartooning/video editing.
  14. When I arrive home after a long work day and dinner is ready.
  15. Listening to music very loudly and singing along very badly while driving.
  16. Red wine on Friday evenings. And Saturday evenings. Probably Sunday too. Beer on sunny summer days.
  17. Traveling and exploring Ontario (yours to discover!). Going on adventures.
  18. Camping!!!
  19. Networking/socializing.
  20. Telling stories. To anyone who will listen.

(PS – after 1 and 2, these are just in random order for me. Numbering by what I love more would be tough)

Now tell me about your loves, lovers!

Whole30, Day 15

Evan and I are now on Day 15 of the Whole30 program. Day 15! That is crazy! We are halfway there! As a reminder, on the Whole30 you cannot have any grains (this includes bread, rice, quinoa), dairy, legumes (beans, chick peas, peanuts), any form of sugar, alcohol, sulphites, MSG, or carrageenan. It is pretty strict, and as someone who enjoys eating a lot of bread with cheese (preferably bread topped with cheese), it is tricky. I also love chocolate. And beans. And rice and sugar and oh God booze. So yes, it is tricky…

So a few bullet points on how it’s been going.

  • Surprisingly, and not to contradict myself, but I am not finding it all that hard. I wouldn’t say that it’s easy, but somehow I have already gotten to this point where I feel like it’s just the way I eat now. It feels normal. It is really working well for me. And as I mentioned before, our dinners are basically the same (just have to be careful on ingredients in meats and sauces and things). It is mostly my breakfast and lunch that I have had to clean up.
  • There are a few reasons why I don’t think it’s been that hard. The rules are so black and white that I find it easier to follow. You can have these things, but you can’t have these things. For me it is 100% or bust. So the strictness is working in my favour. Also, I am very much against restrictive diets, as in the ones that restrict how much you eat. I don’t feel like that would work for me because I am definitely a volume eater. But with this, I can basically eat as much as I want for my meals as long as I’m eating Whole30 compliant ingredients. And it’s January. Everyone is on some sort of diet. No one is drinking. And also, Evan is doing this with me. It is so much easier with him helping with cooking and meal planning/prepping. That’s probably been our saviour, and cooking with Evan in our new kitchen is genuinely fun.
  • I stay out of the forums on the Whole30 website because they are a bit too hardcore for me. Basically the consensus is if you cheat even a little, you have to start over. F that. If I cheat even a little I will not be starting over. If I did that I would never finish. Life happens. Sometimes you can’t eat just meat and vegetables. I haven’t cheated yet (not exactly but I have probably had more fruit than you’re supposed to on occasion) but my friends Emily and Corey are getting married in a week and a half and you better believe I’m having wine. It’s a big deal. And I’m not going to grill the servers about what’s in the meat. And if there’s butter on my potatoes then I guess I’m eating dairy. With any diet (or lifestyle change), it has to work for you or it’s not going to work. I will do the best I can for 30 days.
  • If you don’t like coconut I don’t know how you would do this. I find I am putting coconut in everything. Coconut milk in my coffee, cooking with coconut oil, coconut manna on sweet potatoes, coconut flakes on whatever I can put coconut flakes on, toasted coconut chips (actually very good), the occasional coconut water… I can’t get enough coconut! Also olive oil. I’m not using ghee or clarified butter, everything is cooked with olive or coconut oil.
  • I’m not snacking in between meals. And for the most part I don’t feel like snacking between meals. That is HUGE for me because I am usually a constant snacker. At work I am usually eating all afternoon! But I feel full and satisfied after every meal (since Week 2, the first week not so much).
  • I’m not tempted by treats. We have some leftover Christmas chocolate at home, including Reese’s PB cups, which are my very favourite. There’s also still cheese in the fridge, and crackers in the cabinet. Since week 2 I have not been tempted to eat any of these things. They will still be there when I’m done.
  • I’m surprised at the level of energy I have. It has completely skyrocketed since Day 5. I usually get in a bit of an afternoon slump around 4pm, and that has not been happening at all. My mind feels clear and I am more productive. I wouldn’t say I am at the Tiger Blood stage just yet, but I’m feeling pretty good.
  • Two people told me I looked like I was glowing this week.
  • My sleep has improved. I have never had trouble sleeping to start with, but I am falling asleep really quickly, staying asleep, and waking up feeling energized before my alarm goes off, rather than hitting the snooze button a million times.
  • My stomach has never been so flat. Not that it’s flat but it is not bloated or rumbley or anything. It has been so long since I have felt like this that it is pretty clear when I eat normally I’m eating something that is negatively affecting me, whether it is dairy, sugar or grains. So, that sucks.
  • Will I eat like this forever? NOPE. But I am feeling so good that I don’t want to go back to eating all the things all the time. I feel like it’s giving me a good foundation moving forward, so that when I reintroduce grains, dairy, legumes, etc. I might know what moderation is again.
  • Evan is experiencing pretty much the same outcomes as I am, but I know from reading various forums, etc. that not everyone is. So if it’s not working for you, don’t feel bad or guilty. Our bodies are different and weird.

Now onto what we’ve been eating since my last recap

Whole30

1. My mom’s chicken soup without the rice, adapted by Evan (recipe is: a bunch of onions [my mom says a sh*t ton, so maybe 5?], chopped carrots and celery, and whatever seasonings you like – salt and pepper, oregano, thyme, etc. Heat some olive oil in pot and add the vegetables and seasonings. Add a whole raw chicken and fill the pot with water, enough to cover the chicken. Let simmer for at least an hour. Take out chicken, take off meat, put the meat back in soup).

2. Homemade beef burger served on kale (the burger is hiding under the tomato), baked sliced cassava (aka yucca). Cucumber and a pickle, because sometimes you just need a pickle. (for the burger – onions, parsley, ground beef, an egg, and a bit of chili powder “to make them taste like A&W burgers” says Evan)

3. The same homemade burger topped with a fried egg and tomato for breakfast.

4. Chicken wings tossed in Frank’s red hot (I have been putting that sh*t on EVERYTHING, especially since I can’t have Ketchup), more baked cassava, green bean salad.

5. Steamed salmon with lemon, asparagus, rutabaga fries (I’m not supposed to call them “fries” on the Whole30 though so…baked rutabaga spears).

6. Roast beef, roasted vegetables (potato, celeriac, carrots), steamed broccoli.

7. Chicken andouille sausage from Whole Foods, green bean salad again, baked sweet potato slices (definitely not chips! No chips there!)

8. Salsa chicken, salad with oil and vinegar, zucchini noodles.

9. Egg muffins. We didn’t really follow a recipe, just threw a bunch of stuff in with the eggs.

Evan also made almond milk using this recipe from Oh She Glows and it is AMAZING (and we just used our crappy Hamilton Beach blender, so you don’t need a vitamix!).

And because we wanted breakfast sausage but regular breakfast sausage has a bunch of things in it that we cannot have, Evan made his own.

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He looked at this recipe to get an idea of the seasonings he should use, but otherwise did his own thing. I’ll have to get him to do a guest post, because he is a true chef. I don’t even know what he does when he’s making things, but I do know that I am very lucky to have him around.

And dessert on Sunday night. Strawberries dipped in whipped coconut milk, dipped in coconut flakes.

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I don’t think you’re technically supposed to have dessert, so maybe we’re stretching the rules here but whatever. It’s fine. Those strawberries were delicious.

So things are going well! Fingers crossed we can keep it up.

Anyone else doing the Whole30? How’s it going?

Bowling, Kitchen Carts and Spanish Tortillas

I don’t know how to tell you this but I feel like my blog is going to be pretty boring over the next few weeks. Not that I think my blog is usually exceptionally riveting or anything, but my big annual event is coming up at work, so January is my super insane busy time and this makes my blog suffer. I’m aiming for three posts a week, so fingers crossed I can keep that up.

We are still doing this Whole30 thing. We are almost at the two week mark and have not cheated at all, so I will have a recap on that coming up (content, yay!) because we are experiencing some pretty good side effects over here. On Saturday we had Evan’s friend Ian over for dinner and this is the first time we have entertained since this lifestyle change we have embarked on. I understand that most people still like to eat grains and dairy (I don’t want to start thinking they are bad either, it’s just 30 days!), so we tried to go with a dinner that would work for everyone.

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Spaghetti squash and Evan’s meat sauce. Ian had regular noodles, and our cheese drawer is miraculously still full of cheese even though I tried to take care of that (by eating it)  before January 1st, so Ian was able to find some fresh parmesan in there. No parmesan on my squash, but that is alright. A few years ago if you told me that spaghetti squash was as satisfying as spaghetti I would have laughed in your face but I don’t know what is going on lately because I like it. I don’t think I was cooking it long enough before because the squash was still on the crunchy side. But if you do it right, spaghetti squash is a good time!

Afterwards we went glow-in-the-dark bowling with 10 of Evan and Ian’s friends.

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Evan after leaving just one pin behind…

I confirmed that I am very, very bad at 10 pin bowling. I wasn’t dead last, but I was pretty close. Sometimes I will surprise myself and pull a strike out of nowhere, but it is a total fluke. I wouldn’t be able to do it again if I was trying. It only happens when I’m not expecting it. It is also too bad I wasn’t drinking, because I tend to get better at bowling the more beer I consume. And mostly everyone was drinking, so I cannot lie, that was tempting. But Evan and I stuck to our water and I was happy about that the next morning.

I also had a moment where I tried to use a ball with finger holes that were too big for me (which was a surprise as my fingers are pretty fat), and it slipped out of my hand when I brought my arm back and rolled behind me instead of down the lane. So that was funny for everyone, of course. It could have been worse.

Bowling PBA Trip
We spent most of Sunday cooking and food prepping. Exciting, I know. Evan and I have been listening to podcasts while we are cooking though, and that makes it kind of fun.

We spent two hours on Sunday morning making this delicious specimen for brunch.

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A Spanish tortilla (recipe there). It is made with eggs, potatoes, onions, garlic and olive oil, so it is Whole30 compliant, which is great. Although the potatoes are sort of deep fried in the olive oil so it is not exactly the epitome of healthy. But it was amazing and totally worth the two hours.

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It wasn’t overly difficult to make, but it was incredibly time consuming. But I also had it today and yesterday for breakfast, so it is paying for itself.

Also, the best way to cut onions.

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It may look ridiculous but I did not shed a tear!

We also skipped out to Ikea for a bit because we had a $20 coupon to use since we bought our tree there, and we were on the hunt for a kitchen cart. This one specifically:

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We brought it home and Evan seemed to really enjoy putting it together…

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Et voila. Kitchen cart.

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I love it!! We may eventually paint it, or Evan is thinking of making a tile top for it using tiles that match our turquoise wall. But for now it’s fine as it is. The extra storage space is great, since previously all those fruits and vegetables were just hanging out on the counter.

So that is that. My uneventful weekend. Hope yours was great!

Friday Things feat. mix CD’s and care packages from my Nana

Some new things and some things I’ve been meaning to talk about for a few weeks, in list form.

1. The holidays were not enough time for leisuring. Don’t get me wrong, one day shy of two weeks off is absolutely amazing and I am so, so grateful for that. But I had big plans for that time. I was going to read all the books and marathon all the shows and watch movies that I have been meaning to watch for years and play the Sims and write a book and stock up on blog posts and catch up on internet browsing, etc… But it turns out two days (the actual amount of time over the holidays where I was home and available to do those things) is not in fact ample time to do all those things. My expectations of leisure time were too high. Oh well. Next holiday.

2. Remember in the summer my brother’s best friend Dixon made Evan a mix CD?

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So thoughtful.

It is the best CD ever and we frequently listen to it in the car. WELL. Evan decided to repay the favour and made Dixon a mix CD for Christmas.

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He made the cover himself. I cannot look at it without laughing. Pretty good list of songs on here…

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3. Speaking of Evan and his shenanigans, each year for Christmas he and Brotherman like to make a joke gift for their family. Usually they will put ridiculous photos of themselves on a mug or in a snow globe. Here is the photo this year:

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That would be a bookmark they made for their mom. They even laminated it! And Evan actually looks like Elf!!! Oh, it kills me.

4. Over the holidays, some of our lady friends spent a night over at my Bestie Lisa’s parent’s while she was visiting. We didn’t do very much but it was a very, very fun evening.

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Now, Lisa’s mom has a thing for Santas.

No really, she has a lot of Santas.

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I counted, and throughout the house there were 106 Santas. Funny though, for the amount of Santas I would say they were very artfully arranged and actually subtle. I said this to Lisa and she was like “SUBTLE?! There are 40 just on the fireplace, how is that subtle?!” I honestly didn’t notice until someone pointed out there were a ton of Santas. It’s not like I walked in there and was like “OMG SANTAS EVERYWHERE!” I never felt like the Santas were in my face or anything. It made me wish I had more Santas in the condo. I liked them.

5. Winnie’s face when we arrived home from our winter getaway and she had been alone for a few days (don’t worry, Brotherman checked in on her every day). Note: we also left her alone for Christmas.

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Here she is saying “F you guys. If you ever go anywhere for that long again I will poop on all your belongings.”

6. My Nana did not have a very good day yesterday. She just did not have any strength and was not feeling herself. She called me and asked if I could come see her because she had a few things that she urgently needed to give me. Here are the things:

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Werther’s, a pen, tape, goat’s milk soap, Halls, and cookies saved from meals! The cookies are maple flavoured too, so I know they are delicious! Unfortunately I cannot eat them right now because Whole30. But I was in tears, this just killed me. What a peach. I think I will save the care package as-is, forever.

7. As I was leaving my Nana, it was TV time so all the residents were in the main room positioned around the TV in their wheelchairs. As I was walking through, one lady grabbed my hand, kissed it, and yelled “OOOOH, I just love you!!! You are hired! You can start at 9 tomorrow!” I was surprised, so I just thanked her and said I’d be there. And then the lady beside her said “She doesn’t know what she’s saying.” So I guess I don’t have a new job then…

8. This can stop any time.

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Have a great weekend!

Whole 30, Day 6

I mentioned briefly last week that Evan and I are doing the Whole30 program for the month of January. I’m sure many of you have heard of it and already know what it is, but my mom didn’t and people’s mom’s somehow seem to be my blog’s target audience, so a brief explanation just in case.

Basically, the Whole30 is a strict version of the Paleo diet. For 30 days you can have meat, seafood, eggs, (lots of) vegetables, fruit, and healthy fats like oils, nuts and seeds. Nothing processed. Whole foods, and foods with minimal ingredients that you are able to pronounce. Which all sounds great, but just let me get to the bad news… You cannot have:

  • Dairy
  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Sugar (of any kind, artificial or real, and that includes honey)
  • Alcohol
  • MSG, carrageenan or sulphites

For 30 days. It is a nutritional reset designed to make you aware of how certain foods affect your body and make you feel. It will undoubtedly change the way you think about food, and maybe even change your life. I’m leaving out some rules, but you can find them all here.

Of course when I first heard about the Whole30 my immediate thought was fad diet, no thanks. You may be thinking that right now. So before you hear my thoughts on it so far, please know that I am not a dieter. I don’t think I have technically ever gone on a diet. There are so many ways to eat these days and I have turned up my nose at all of them: low carb, no carb, vegetarian, vegan, high-protein, keto, gluten-free, dairy-free, breakfast shakes, only shakes, juice cleansing, food delivery service, the same thing for breakfast and lunch but then you switch it up for dinner… Seriously, everyone will recommend something different, so how in the name of pizza are you supposed to know what and how to eat?!

My method of eating has always been…

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(Inspiration obviously from Allie Hyperbole and a Half for her original Clean All The Things)

But in moderation.

But here comes the problem with moderation. Who is the moderator? It’s me, and I am doing a crap job of it. If I’m at home and have healthy groceries, great, I’m a healthy eater. High fives all around, self-congratulatory pat on the back to me. Otherwise, if there is food in front of me I will eat it. I used to be 80/20 healthy/non-healthy ratio (ish), but that is dangerously slipping. I don’t know where I’m at anymore. Around the holidays? 100% gluttony. If I’m at a party, I’m stalking the food table and I’m eating all the cheese and all the dips.

So I am doing the Whole30 for several reasons:

1. I feel gross and b-word (rhymes with floated) after eating about 90% of the time. It is so often now that it has become normal.

2. I have never done any sort of experiment to see how certain foods are affecting me. I think that it is very good to be able to know how the food you are putting into your body is affecting your body, so that you can make informed decisions about what you are eating. Maybe cake is making me feel bad. Will I still eat the cake? Probably. But maybe I won’t. Maybe I will only choose to suffer from the cake if it is homemade vanilla cake with buttercream icing. At least I will know what it’s going to do to me and I can make that decision, rather than continue to EAT ALL THE THINGS and feel gross, but who knows why! It could have been any number of these delicious things!!!

3. I should probably simmer down on the wine drinking. I doubt anyone would call me an alcoholic (to my face…) but it would not be a bad idea to cut it out on the weeknights.

4. My go-to snack is some sort of cheese in or on some sort of bread-y carb. This needs to change.

5. It’s the best time to do it. Something like this is absolutely not sustainable for me (they don’t even recommend doing a Whole365 because it is too difficult to make it work), and I just don’t think I could pull it off in the summer. Or any other time when a lot of social things are going on. It is VERY hard to eat out and it requires a LOT of food planning and preparation (which, I am actually really enjoying). But after the holidays is the perfect time. I feel fully gross after stuffing my face for weeks that I don’t want to look at chocolate right now anyway. And also I was off last week so I had several days to get into it.

6. Lose some weight. Of course. It’s not a priority, honestly, but I am not skipping out on cheese and wine for 30 days and not losing some weight. It better happen.

Evan and I are now on day 6, and it’s going really well. I am so glad he’s doing it with me, it makes it so much easier! My holiday bloat (ughhh that word is so awful) was completely gone in three days, and I am already feeling more svelte. Our dinners are very similar to what they usually are (minus when the kitchen reno was going down, that was some dark eating times right there). But I felt better after eating almost immediately. There was no gross feeling. Though Evan and I are both pretty on par with the timeline of how most people feel while doing the Whole30.

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Kill all the things was Day 3 for me though, and feeling like I needed to nap all day was on Sunday (which worked out well). And I TOTALLY felt like I had a hangover on Day 2. I think from all the sugar detox, because we went nuts eating all our chocolate from Christmas until New Year’s Eve. The last two days though, I have felt amazing.

I will just go ahead and answer the obvious…I miss cheese and homemade chocolate chip cookies. But not as much as I thought I would, surprisingly, and I do feel very satisfied. Here are the kinds of things we’ve been eating so far:

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1. Steamed salmon with lemon slices, sweet potato with coconut manna (or coconut butter, and OMG SO GOOD!!!!), and Evan’s green bean salad (whole green beans cooked, tossed in garlic, oil + vinegar and salt and pepper and then cooled).

2. Lots of giant salads with protein like hard boiled eggs, walnuts, avocado. This one tossed in a lemon garlic dressing I made.

3. Stuffed peppers with ground beef, cauliflower rice (grated cauliflower), compliant marinara sauce (just no additives, no Prego, it has sugar!)

4. Eggs, leftover half stuffed pepper, homemade guacamole.

5. Big salad topped with compliant tuna salad (I made my own mayo using this recipe – it’s delicious and it took literally five minutes), and also sunflower seeds.

6. Grilled pineapple with coconut oil, cinnamon and walnuts. At the time I thought it was one of the best things I have ever eaten, but it’s possible that’s because I hadn’t had sugar for three days.

7. Egg frittata with seasoned ground beef and vegetables, guacamole on the side.

8. Eggs, potatoes, veggies in olive oil, avocado on the side.

9. Spaghetti squash with Evan’s grandma’s meat sauce (made by Evan and so good). The spaghetti squash was really, really good. I was so full but actually felt good after eating this, where normally with spaghetti I’d have to take a nap or something.

And not pictured, but coffee with coconut milk (I would usually use almond milk but it has carrageenan in it) and a bit of cinnamon.

Evan also received The Veggetti for Christmas from my brother Eric and his girlfriend Kenya (THANK YOU GUYS AGAIN!!!) and it works WAY better than both of us expected, so we have been cranking out the zoodles.

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ie: the zucchini noodles. They are not too bad at all.

So we have been eating very well, as you can see. But we’re still in the new and exciting phase. I’m sure I’ll be back in a week to tell you about how I hate everything and I just want to eat an entire block of cheese like a banana. And I just need to complain that I cannot find bacon without sugar ANYWHERE! Why does all bacon need to have sugar?!

The biggest struggle I think for me for me is that I have always been the girl who eats everything. My friends used to (lovingly) refer to me as the garbage disposal because of this. Like if you don’t want your food toss ‘er over here ’cause I’ll take it for ya. So to go from someone who leaves no food uneaten to being that girl who makes all the special dietary requests, no dairy, no grains, no beans, no sugar, oh, are there sulphites in this? THEN NO. … That’s tough on my food ego. We’ll see how that goes. But I’m doing it. I’m in it now. Only 24 more days until this happens:

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And God help me if I feel anything but amazing after I introduce cheese back into my life in 24 days. I am not sure a life without cheese is a life I want to be a part of.

Have you done a Whole30? Considered doing a Whole30? Think the Whole30 is a cult? TELL ME!

Pine Vista Resort

Last week Evan and I went on a leeettle romantic getaway to Pine Vista Resort, a small-ish cottage resort on Stoney Lake, just outside of Lakefield. We had been planning it for a while, as a kind of anniversary/Christmas getaway, and we looked into a bunch of different Ontario resorts. We chose this one because it had fantastic reviews, it was a great deal, and Pine Vista offers a ton of activities in the winter – cross country skiing, snowshoeing, skating (and skating parties!), and even a toboggan hill. So for the entire month of December I was excited to get my winter adventure on.

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Our winter has been quite mild so far (until this week), and I almost started this sentence with “Unfortunately” but I don’t think a mild winter is unfortunate at all because last year was freezing and we got an insane amount of snow and it was annoying. However, it is unfortunate that the ONE TIME I want there to be snow there is none (also no snow for Christmas and that was sad). The day before Evan and I left for our getaway we had given up on tobogganing and cross country skiing and snowshoeing, and were resigned to the fact that we would instead be going on muddy nature walks. Hurrah.

But even without the snow, Pine Vista was pretty awesome. Definitely more family-oriented, but I saw a few other pairs of lovers lovering around as well. I also liked that it was not fancy and quite rustic. It felt like a cottage. Each accommodation is set up like your own little cabin, and we had a full kitchen:

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Which was fantastic because it was just after Christmas and we brought all our turkey dinner leftovers.

One bedroom with a double and single bed…

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A second bedroom with a queen bed…

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A living room with a wood burning fireplace…

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A huge deck with a view of the lake/other cottages (and a barbecue!)…

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And two full bathrooms, one with a jacuzzi tub and shower, and the other with just a stand-up shower.

The amenities around the resort included an indoor hot tub…

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Outdoor hot tub…

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A games room! (air hockey is the best)

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And lakeside tetherball!

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Exciting! We took advantage and did all the things. Also included in our romantic getaway package was a bottle of wine.

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Which was much appreciated.

Since there was no snow, the staff had to get creative with the holiday activities. When we arrived they were hosting a “winter” festival (I shouldn’t have quotes, it did become extremely cold our second day), with a fire for weenie and marshmallow roasting…

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And syrup drizzled onto ice to make taffee. Also archery.

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Which looked like a good time, but Evan and I did not partake as the kids looked like they were loving it and we didn’t want to take it over.

Our first night there the lake wasn’t even entirely frozen.

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But it froze overnight!

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I was really excited about this, because if we couldn’t go tobogganing and snowshoeing and cross country skiing, at least we could maybe go skating. The lake rink wasn’t ready yet though, so we decided to wait until the next day.

Also included in our getaway package was a ride on a horse drawn carriage.

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Usually it is a horse drawn sleigh, but again the no snow. The beautiful horses took us on a 45 minute adventure along the lake.

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It was really cold at that point, so very important to bundle up.

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Afterwards the resort staff invited us inside for hot chocolate and homemade chocolate chip cookies, which were delicious. I ate at least five of them.

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We went on our nature walk, which thankfully was not even muddy because it got cold.

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Guess the animal tracks! We are thinking raccoon maybe?

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That tree had a sign beside it that said it was marked by the Ministry of Natural Resources as the perfect example of a healthy pine tree because it was so tall and straight. It did look like a perfect tree.

We spent both nights in our little cabin by the fire.

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Lots of wine and lots of reading.

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So that was pretty amazing.

And on our last day we went skating!

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I was so, so excited about this. You may remember on our Niagara Falls getaway last year my plans of romantic skating were foiled because the rink was closed, and when I saw the state of the ice when we first arrived I thought that was going to be the case again. But nope! I was a little unsteady at first, but it all came back to me. For Evan though, this was his first time on skates in 20 years, so he was a bit apprehensive…

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But with a little coaching he was all good, and surprisingly steady.

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I just held his hands and skated backwards, pulling him around, which I am pretty sure would have looked hilarious to anyone watching.

The scenery was beautiful.

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I love that we were able to go skating. I miss living on a lake.

As for eats, we brought all of our food with us and made pretty spectacular breakfasts…

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And for dinner one night we had a giant soft bun filled with leftover turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy.

We also went into town for dinner one night at Trip Advisor’s #1 restaurant in Lakefield: Jack’s Family Restaurant!

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We looked up the reviews beforehand and everyone seemed to recommend the seafood chowder, so both Evan and I started with that.

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Definitely good. For my main I ordered the pan-fried haddock with Caesar salad and rice.

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My fish was amazing.

They also made homemade pies so I got a slice of lemon meringue to go.

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Because I cannot resist homemade lemon meringue pie. Ever. It didn’t compare to my mom’s, but it was still tasty.

So all in all, a very good time and I’m so glad we did it. It was nice to get away from everything and just relax for a few days.

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Highly recommend Pine Vista resort if you are looking for a cottage resort to stay at in Ontario. It would be amazing in the summer, and we are definitely going back in the winter when there is snow for activities.