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S’laters August! Welcome September Goals

Well friends, it is the last day of August, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit sad.  I love the fall, but I LOVE the summer!

The summer has always been my favourite.  I don’t know if it has something to do with growing up on a lake and having access to awesome summer activities 24/7, but I love everything about it.  I love the sunshine.  I love having a tan (or looking Mexican).  I love throwing on a sundress and flippies and being good to go do whatever.  I love how everyone is in vacation leisure mode all summa.  I love cottaging, and summer event eating, camping, and the beach.  And I love seeing my family and friends (like my bestie :)) more often.

I know it isn’t fall just yet, and I plan to soak up every last second of this summer before it is over, but it will be September and I think everyone’s mindset changes after Labour Day weekend.  The party is over.  It’s back to reality.  Time to start wearing socks again (aside from workout socks, I don’t think I’ve worn socks since May ;)).

These Days are Over

However, now that September is here, I want to take a few moments and set some goals for myself.

I will admit, that I am bad at goal-setting.  I tend to just let things sorta happen, and then go from there.  I have a general idea of the direction I’d like my life to take, but aside from that I don’t really “plan” anything (aside from to-do lists, because I LOVE making to-do lists).

I am noticing this about myself and it is something I’d like to improve upon.  It is good to have something, or several things, to work towards.  I think it will keep me on track, and help me to live the life that I want to be living.

What do I want my life to look like, and what actions am I going to take to get to that place?

So with that, I am going to start setting monthly goals, starting with September.  As my friend Jessica said, September is like New Years!  I wholeheartedly agree.

I am going to start with some general goals, and then maybe they can get a little more craycray later on.  Here they are!

September Goals

  • Switch up my workouts

For the majority of the summer, I have just been running (unless I squeezed in other activities like hiking, swimming and kayaking).  I have strength-trained only a handful of times, and I only did yoga one day on the dock (and I half-assed it, I’ll admit).  I want to incorporate at least one other type of exercise besides running into my workout regimen one day a week.  This can include strength training, yoga, a bootcamp class, or spinning.

  • Hit up an active activity with a friend

This one shouldn’t be hard, since I have signed up to run the 5k Toronto Zoo Run with my office Bestie Lexy.  Well, I’m on the wait list currently, but I’m sure someone will drop out.  I’ll see how that goes.  If not, a spinning class with a friend will count also!

  • Read at least two books

I am a HUGE bookworm.  I can devour a book a day.  Before I started my blog I was always reading something and carried a book with me constantly (I haven’t made the switch to an electronic reader just yet, and I love books so much I don’t know if I’m going to anytime soon).  When I was younger, that’s what I wanted for Christmas, and for my birthday (I was a giant nerd, I know this).  I love reading.

Since I started my blog in January (whoa!), I have read maybe four books.  This is extremely unlike me, but I find that my random spare time goes to blog stuff instead of reading.  I miss it.  I miss totally getting carried away and wrapped up in a book.  I think reading at least two books this month is a very achievable goal for me, and I hope to surpass it.

  • Try out one new recipe a week

It doesn’t have to be anything cray-zay, but I have been in a bit of a food rut lately and I’d like to snap out of it.  I eat a lot of repeat foods, and I want to switch it up and try new things.  This is a goal that will benefit you guys as well 😉

  • Create one new cartoon post a month

I really, really enjoy writing (and drawing) my cartoon story posts.  They are time consuming though and they take a little longer than my typical posts.  That is probably one direction I’d really like to move the blog towards though, so I think one a month will spice it up a bit :).

If you are new and you missed my previous cartoon story posts, you can check them out here:

Annnd I think that’s all I got for now.  I think I can do this!

Breakfast

This morning I was feelin’ my fave peanut butter, banana, and honey combo, but I also wanted something cold and creamy.  Hm…conundrum.

I decided to make myself a cold and creamy peanut butter, banana, and honey (green) smoothie!

So Greeeen and so Gooood

This smoothie turned out better than I expected, and the best part was, I took it to go!

Drink it Up, Buttercup!

In this smoothie mix is:

  • 1.5 frozen banana
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • squirt of honey to taste (I didn’t measure, maybe a tsp?)
  • 1 large handful spinach
  • 1.25 cups almond milk
  • 2 ice cubes
  • xanthan gum (optional, to thicken)

I couldn’t taste the spinach, but I could taste the peanut butter, honey and banana, and it was delicious!

Questions of the afternoon

  • What is your favourite season?
  • Do you set goals for yourself?  Do you set them as weekly, monthly, or yearly goals?
  • Do you have any goals for September?

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Pinning on Pinterest

Allo.

Please forgive me if this post sucks… A surprise cold popped up yesterday evening (boo) and it’s giving me a bit of mushy brain.  I’ve also been working non-stop since 7am (from bed home) trying to get a bunch of stuff done for work, so that may be contributing also.

Winnie loves it when I work from home.

I usually get a cold twice a year, around the time of change in seasons.  I actually missed my spring cold this year (no complaints here!), but my fall cold seems to have set in a bit early.

Thankfully, that is really the only time ever get sick.  I rarely get headaches, and I haven’t had the flu since Grade 7, so…I can deal with a little cold a couple times a year.  No biggie.  I’ve been drinking lots of OJ and water, and taking my vitamins, so hopefully I am back in tip-top shape tomorrow!  I even plan on making it to Body Pump tonight.  Maybe I can pump this silly cold right out of me…

Eats

You know how some people lose their appetite when they’re sick?

Well, not me.  I have never been one of those people.

Andy-pop came home for lunch today, and he brought me this monstrosity from a deli near his work:

Big Sammy

Holy ham!  I don’t think I have ever seen so much ham on a sandwich!  This thing was HUGE.

Whole Lotta Ham

I had some troubs getting the entire thing in my mouth, but in the end I ate it all up.  It was pretty darn tasty.

I didn’t skimp on breakfast either, but I didn’t want anything too heavy since I wasn’t feeling the greatest.  I also wanted a nutrient-packed breakfast to hopefully speed up the healing process.  A green monster sounded perfect.

Green Monsta

My smoothie included:

  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 2 large handfuls spinach
  • 1.25 cups almond milk
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)
  • pinch xanthan gum (optional, to thicken)

Yummers in my tummers.

Pinterest

A couple of weeks ago I discovered Pinterest, which is a virtual pinboard that lets you share photos of interesting/funny/beautiful things you find around the internet.  Then you can browse around other peoples’ pinboards and get inspiration, or repin them onto your own boards.

It would be perfect if you are planning a wedding, or decorating a new house.

My Pinterest Profile

At first I thought it was just another social networking site to keep up with…but I spent a couple hours on it yesterday, and it’s kind of awesome.  I am always seeing things I like around the web and sometimes I bookmark them, but mostly I forget about them.

I think Pinterest is going to be especially helpful for me for work, because I do a lot of posters and graphic design and I am constantly looking for inspiration.  I regularly troll the internet and bookmark posters that I like, but with Pinterest it’s pretty awesome that I can just pin them all into one spot and they’ll always be there.

Same with recipes.  Sometimes I will find a really good one that I want to try, and then totally forget where I saw it.  No more!

If you guys have Pinterest, feel free to follow me!

I leave you with a quote that I found and repinned from someone else:

“I’ve got two daughters who will have to make their way in this skinny-obsessed world, and it worries me, because I don’t want them to be empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones; I’d rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny – a thousand things, before ‘thin’.  And frankly, I’d rather they didn’t give a gust of stinking chihuahua flatulence whether the woman standing next to them has fleshier knees than they do.  Let my girls be Hermiones, rather than Pansy Parkinsons.  Let them never be Stupid Girls.” – J.K. Rowling

I love it.

Have a great evening!

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Why I Like to Run in the AM

Gooood morning sunshines!

My morning today started out with an early run in the dark.

It's Darrrrrk

Last night I set my alarm for 5:30 am, laid out my running clothes, and went to sleep with a morning run on my mind (always easier to get up and do it if I’ve committed to it the night before).  These days it is still pitch-black at 5:30 am, but by the end of my run the sun was almost up and it was quite a bit lighter.

Almost Donezo

I completed about 4.5k in just under 30 minutes.  Not too shabby for first thing in the am!

Why am I doing this to myself?

Some of my friends and a few readers have been calling me crazy for waking up so early in the morning to run, and wondering how I’m able to do it.  I just want to take a moment explain my reasons for being a crazy fool.

Just like with running in general, early morning runs are becoming easier and easier.  I’m finding that the more often I get up that early, the less difficult it is to actually get up.  It is starting to become a habit, and my body is becoming used to it!

Even on days I don’t run in the mornings, I still try to wake up earlier than I used to, just to keep my body on the same page.  I am really liking this because it extends my day and I can actually get a lot of stuff done in the morning (like this blog post) that I would previously leave until my work day was over.  More chores done = more leisure time, and friends, I am alllll about the leisure time!

I am finding lately that I much prefer to run first thing instead of leaving it until later.  I cannot eat less than an hour before a run or I get superly crampy.  I run best on an empty stomach, and when I get up that early I’m not hungry yet.  I can just head right out the door!  I usually feel light and breezy, as opposed to the heavy and blarg feeling that I sometimes get when I run after dinner.

Also, for some reason in the morning I have more energy!  I feel tired and lethargic when I first get up, but after completing a five minute walking warm-up I am usually ready to just give ‘er!

Working out in the morning gives me more energy for the rest of the day as well.  I don’t mind being on the go, and I generally just feel good all day.  It gets my day started off on the right foot!

It’s also a lot cooler in the mornings, which always makes for better running conditions.  Running in the heat is no fun.

And it’s quiet!

No one is around that early.  The streets are empty.  This morning I saw one person waiting for a bus, and four bunny rabbits.  It is the best “me time” ever.  I jam out to my iPod, can sing along, bust into crazy dance moves, even take pictures of myself if I want…and no one is around to notice or care.

I guess that’s all I got!

What time of day do you like to run or workout?  Morning, afternoon, or evening?

Onto breakfast!

Blueberry Green Monster

I haven’t really been into breakfast foods too much lately, and the only breakfast I was feeling this morning was a cold smoothie!

My smoothie included:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries (you could use fresh als0)
  • 2 handfuls fresh baby spinach
  • 1.25 cups almond milk
  • 2 tbsp. vanilla Greek yogurt
  • pinch xanthan gum (optional, to thicken)

I loved this smoothie and slurped it down in minutes!  I was FULL afterwards, that’s a lot of liquid!  Also, spinach AND a run before 7am?  BAM.

Welp, it’s work time!  I have some exciting activities coming up today that I’m pumped about :).

Hope you all have a great day!

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Some WIAW Action

Gird your loins my friends, it’s time for…

(and thank you to Peas & Crayons for being the brains behind this beautiful eating operation)

Not gonna lie, my eats were pretty stellar today.

First up!

Smoothie-Licious

Breakfast was a portable cup of delicious smoothie that included frozen strawberries, a frozen banana, fresh pineapple, and about a cup of almond milk (plus a little xanthan gum for thickening).

Portable Yumminess

I took this baby to-go, as I had a long car ride ahead.

Downtown Toronto

At least traffic was light!  I headed downtown to meet my coworker Liz, before carpooling to Brock University in St. Catharines.  We have a coaches conference coming up there in the spring so we were just doing a little site visit.

And that is where I scored my lunch.

Big Ol' Stir Fry

A giant chicken stir fry, and the cafeteria had one of those circular grills, so you pick out all your ingredients and they stir fry it in front of you.  Love those.  Why couldn’t my school have one of those?!

Our conference coordinator at the university treated us to lunch, which was a nice surprise.  She really knows the way to my heart and is currently in the running for my favourite person (in the conference coordinating category ;))

It may have been dinner that truly stole the show for me today though…

Quinoa Goodness

Protein-packed quinoa stirfry (I’ll put the recipe up at the end of this post).

I love quinoa more and more each time I eat it.  It has totally replaced rice for me, and it just has a good healthy taste.  With every bite I get the feeling that I am eating something that is so absolutely good for me, and I love it.  Of course it helps that it is tasty.

I Love You, Quinoa

Friends, if you are on the fence about trying quinoa because it has kind of a weird appearance, just buck up and do it.  You will not regret it.  It is fast becoming my favourite easy meal.

I am off to hit the pavement for a run (didn’t happen this morning, whoooops!)  I will see you cheeky minxes later!

Here is the recipe:

Protein-Packed Quinoa Stirfry

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 can any kind beans, rinsed (I used a bean medley that included chick peas, kidney beans and white beans)
  • 1 can green beans, rinsed (you could also use fresh, but I only had canned)
  • half a large red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup salsa

Directions

1. In a large skillet sprayed with cooking spray (I used olive oil spray, or you could just use a couple teaspoons of oil), add your gaaaahlic and onion.  Cook on low for about 6-8 minutes until translucent.

2. Add both cans of beans, stir, and continue to cook until the beans are warm.

Beannnnnnns

3. Add in the cooked quinoa, stir.

4. Add in the salsa, and stir it alllll together.

Annnnd, deliciousness is born 😉

Stay full, my friends 🙂

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That Silly Grocery Shopping Thang

Salut, and also allo!

So tonight I had to do something I really do not enjoy at all…last minute grocery shopping on a weeknight.

If you read my healthy grocery shopping tips, you know I like to do all my shoppin’ on weekend mornings.  When I have to squeeze this in on a weeknight, it feels much more like a chore.  I feel like I am rushing to get it done and just want to get out of there as fast as possible.  I love taking my time in grocery stores, and thinking through my meals for the week while I’m there.

This is my own fault though, for putting that silly grocery shopping thang off for too long.  I don’t even remember the last time I properly grocery shopped, and if I didn’t go tonight, we may have starved.  Or we would be eating freezer burnt hamburger buns and canned beans for the rest of the week.  So I went, and I did it, and it’s done.  Hooray.

Total unhooray for this though…

Robin Hood Oats WHAT?

My grocery store was all out of all kinds of Quaker Oats.  So I guess I’ll be enjoying Robin Hood oats?  I dunno about this… I LOVE my Quaker Oats!

Quaker Love

Love them a lot.  I guess oats are just oats though, right?  I can probably get on board with this Robin Hood business.

Anyhoozle, I’m excited for having good food in our house again.  Not that we were ever starving.

Breakfast was actually quite a yumfest.

J'adore Smoothies

I made myself a smoothie that included:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1.25 cups almond milk
  • half cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • pinch xanthan gum (to thicken it up!)

It was pretty darn amazing.

Oh So Smoothie-Smooth

Usually I like to add a handful or two of spinach in my smoothies, however I am not sure about the spinach/pineapple combo.  It seems weird to me, but I don’t know why?

Has anyone tried a pineapple smoothie with spinach?  And is it good?

Lunch was just some leftover Mel’s Cool Beans (and Quinoa) from yesterday, but dinner…dinner was interesting.

Yum?

Chicken curry with brown rice and beans (pretty sure there were some potatoes in there as well, which was a surprise).  I’m sorry, I know the above picture looks so, so disgusting.  It tasted a lot better than it looked.

Andreezy and I were out running a bunch of errands after work, and we always see this Caribbean restaurant in our neighbourhood that we’ve never been to.  We passed it today and decided to check it out.

Caribbean Eats

That plate of food is a lot more attractive than mine was.  I wasn’t blown away, but the food was good (and cheap also).  And Andy-roo loved his beef patty so much he went back for a second (I do love a good beef patty now and then as well ;)).

Afterwards we hit up Ando’s sister’s house because it is our little nephew’s third birthday today and we wanted to drop off his present (sadly we missed the big party on the weekend).  I snagged a delicious vanilla dip doughnut while I was there…

I Love Donuts (and Toy Story)

Which I enjoyed at the kids’ table with another little doughnut lover.

Doughnuts are Way Cool

I’m off to read The Help in bed.  I am loving it so far!

And I’m crossing my fingers for an early morning run tomorrow, so hopefully it’s not thunda storming!

S’laters!

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