Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Fear or Love… Where Are You Coming From?

The Fall 2015 season of The Biggest Loser has begun… and along with Bob and Dolvett, there are 2 new trainers…. Jessie and Jennifer… who just happen to be married to each other.  This is not going to be a post about The Biggest Loser, or a recap of the first episode, but it is a take off on something that Jen said during the show.  She talked about coming either from a place of FEAR or a place of LOVE.


Fear or Love\

That really struck a chord with me and I have been thinking about it quite a bit ever since.

I have been trying to get back on track with my workouts and food plan since returning home from our vacation to Colorado at the end of August.  I have gained a couple of pounds over the past several months, and I am afraid that if I don’t work out enough and if I keep eating crap. I am going to keep gaining weight and keep getting softer… that I won’t be comfortable wearing the new dresses I bought… and on and on and ON.   I have been struggling a lot and really not doing well at all.  I am working out hard and regularly but really feel like it’s a waste of my time and effort because I am not supporting the work with good fuel. or maybe I should say, that along with the good food, I am eating a fair bit of junk… which is really quite unlike me.  So I am talking a much better game than I have been playing.

It is obvious to me now, that they key words in that paragraph are TRYING and AFRAID.

Yes, I have been coming from a place of FEAR…which is causing a lot of stress… instead of LOVING myself and taking care of myself. I have been TRYING and not DOING.  This is such a change in mindset and I am so glad to have come to the place where I can really take in that information and relate to it  and make good use of it,

BAZINGA!


Coming from/being motivated by FEAR  leads to:
  • deprivation, dieting mindset
  • stress, worry, apprehension 
  • tentativeness, hesitation
  • shyness
  • avoidance
  • overwork, injury
  • crankiness, moodiness
  • self-doubt
  • self-pity

Coming from/being motivated by LOVE leads to:
  • awareness
  • self-nourishment
  • good choices
  • confidence
  • rest, relaxation
  • happiness
  • energy, play
  • establishing healthy routines
  • excitement, anticipation

FEAR is so negative… LOVE is so positive.


What about you?  Are you motivated by FEAR or by LOVE?  Do you see the difference?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

My Best Travel Planning Tips

I have done a bit of travelling for pleasure (as well as for business) over the years… to several different places in Mexico, all across Canada and the U.S., and to Europe twice… Germany, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, and Holland, and I have also cruised to The Bahamas.

There are still so many more places I want to visit.  I love to travel and explore new places.  And I love planning our trips, too.

The first thing I do when I plan a vacation is to start a file folder or a notebook so that I can keep the information I accumulate, such as documents, pictures, articles, and correspondence, altogether in one place.  I make a checklist of things that need to get done, and check them off as I go along.  I also keep a list of question as they arise, and make sure I get answers to them, too.

I would like to share some of my experiences and offer some advice as to what I think are key elements of vacation travel planning.  Read on…

So, perhaps you have decided on a destination… maybe a mode of transportation… a time frame…some hotels… site-seeing activities, and you are so excited to get going.  But before you go too far in your planning, and start booking rooms and flights,  there are some other very practical things that you need to consider and research before you think about finalizing things.

I call these things the not-so-fun part of vacation planning – not fun perhaps, but oh so important. And yes, most of them do only come into play if you are planning to travel to a foreign country… but not all of them.

Just a few come to mind. But they are biggies:
  • Find out if there any legal impediments to your entering the country.  For example, in Canada, a DUI is considered a felony and you may be prevented from entering the country if you have one on your record. This happened to a young American acquaintance a few years ago. He was turned back at the border and his family’s vacation was abruptly ruined.   There are avenues to apply for entry waivers. Pursue them.
  • Learn about the current political climate and determine if it is stable and safe for visitors. Sometimes our local governments issue travel advisories against visiting certain parts of the world. You may just have to watch the news or tune in to your spidey senses.  We had plans to visit China and then Tienneman Square happened. Of course we didn't go then.
  • Check out travel health warning and health restrictions, too. 
  • Learn about vaccinations and if required, make appointments to get them done early. Some countries still require shots well ahead of your intended travel dates. 
  • Make sure your passport is valid beyond your travel dates.  And if it is expiring in the year you are travelling, make sure it will be valid long enough for you to return home. For example, you must have a passport that will be valid for 6 months beyond your intended stay if you are visiting the U.S.  Don’t rely on your travel agent to confirm that your passport is ‘good enough’.  Find out from a government agency and follow the rules. And another thing… it is a very good idea to take a photocopy of your passport with you, and leave another with someone else where you can access it.  For example, The Captain and I carry copies of each other’s passports.
  • Find out if you need visitors Visas or other special papers.  And get them. I have a friend who was born in England, but now lives in Canada, and she had to get some other paperwork completed before she could travel to Hawaii recently.
  • Check out the climatic/weather conditions for the time of year you intend to travel. Do you really want to drive through the Rocky Mountains in January (or early September this year!) and chance heavy snowfall on the highways? When is the rainy season in India? Can you actually go skiing in Australia in July?
  • If you have special dietary needs, find out if they can be met.  Or decide if you can find and live with substitutions or even without altogether.  For example, I wouldn’t bet on finding gluten free bread or fat free milk in a Mexican resort… but I certainly could live without them if I wanted to vacation there.
    • And find out if you can take your own food with you.  I had no trouble taking packaged protein powders and nuts across the border into the U.S. from Canada but fresh fruit with pits would not be allowed.
  • Find out about banned/illegal items before you think about travelling with or without them.  For example, you cannot bring your handguns to Canada.
  • Research your shopping intentions.  Can  you make your intended purchases legally, and also legally bring them home with you or even carry them along as you travel? These things can vary from state to state as well as country to country.  In February a few years ago, we purchased fresh fruit while on a day's outing to California, but had it taken away from us as we crossed the state line into Arizona where we were staying that week.  
  • Have a look at local customs to make sure you would be comfortable.  Are there any clothing restrictions you wouldn’t care for, or any social mores that make your skin crawl?  Do you require a lot of personal space and cannot imagine being constantly jostled on a street in New Delhi?
  • Will you be able to rent a car or drive your own vehicle once there if you need/want?  What about vehicle insurance and licensing requirements? Is your own driver’s licence valid or will you need to have an international licence?
  • Make sure the activities you want to enjoy are realistic? Can one really run along the Left Bank in Paris?  Are you allowed to cycle around the streets of London?  
Once those things are researched/taken care of, and you find you can live with them all, then you can start finalizing your plans.


Travel Planning Tips

I like to travel with a certain peace of mind that things at home will be looked after while I am away.  The Captain and I have never used a house/pet sitter ourselves when we travel, but we have acted in that capacity for several different people… some for many months at a time. We always went through a check list with our clients well-ahead of their departure.

Some of the things you will want to consider, whether or not you have someone staying in your home:
  • Check with your insurance policy to see if they have any requirements about the house being left empty, or house sitters moving in.
  • Alert any home security company to your absence whether or not you have house sitters.
  • Make arrangements to pay bills and collect mail and newspapers or stop deliveries.
  • Suspend any services you won’t need such as cable television if it is economical to do so.
  • Alert a trusted neighbor you will be away, if you have one. You may or may not want to leave a contact number with them, too, and a key. We live in an apartment now, so we tell our building supervisor that we will be away and that we have not given anyone a key.
  • Make arrangements for the living things in your home that are not travelling with you if you have them… pets, and plants.
  • Decide if you will have lights turned on while you are gone.  We used to have timers that turned some lamps on and off, but quit using them when we learned they may be a fire hazard. 
  • You may want to think about installing a security camera.  I have never used one, but have a look at  DropCam if this is something you think you might like.
Once I know home matters are taken care of, I start thinking about practical personal items:
  • Make sure you will have any medications you need while you are away.  And if you carry medication, make sure you also have a copy of your prescription with you. Don’t rely on being able to purchase needed medications in foreign countries.  When I was in Sweden several years ago, I contracted a terrible cold and the only help I could purchase for it in pharmacy, without visiting a doctor, was a Vick’s inhaler and tissues.
  • Find out about money and make plans to have enough with you.  There are all kinds of decisions to be made in this area so I have broken it down a bit:
    • Travelling with credit cards?  I like to have at least 2 different ones in case something happens to one.  Make sure you let your credit card companies know you are travelling.  And make sure you have their 1-800 number in your wallet so you can contact them if you run into problems.  Sometimes when you make a purchase at a foreign retail outlet they will offer to let you pay in your own currency so it is a good idea to have an idea what the rate is, and also what your credit card companies charge.
    • Travelling with debit cards? Get the details.  Find out from the card issuer if you can use the card out of the country and on which networks.  Make sure you have a way of keeping enough cash in your main account, or a way of adding more.  Again, get that 1-800 number. Many years ago my Father-in-Law thought he was travelling on a MasterCard credit card. Turns out it was a MasterCard debit card and he was amassing a huge overdraft in his chequing account that cost a great deal of $$ in interest when he arrived home 10 weeks later. 
    • Travelling with cash?  How much will you need?  Can you get more?  Will you exchange for a foreign currency before you leave home or after you arrive at your destination?  When we travelled to Mexico a lot, we always bought pesos with our Canadian dollars at the resort we where we stayed. Their rate was much better than we would have gotten here in Canada at a bank. Find out if the currency of the country you are visiting can be exchanged after you leave the country or if you will be stuck with it.
    • Travelling with traveller’s cheques? Not as common these days with the advances made in electronic funds around the world, but you may want to look into it. It has been many years since I used them.
  • Do you need your electronic devices? 
    • Cell phone?  Get a roaming plan if one is available. I just found out that there is no roaming plan for cruise ships from my carrier and that roaming talk on the ship would be $4.00 per minute. I can only imagine one emergency that would make me use that phone!  Check out roaming for talk, text, and data. Know what you will pay if you use your device.
    • Lap top computer or tablet? My advice is if you can live without it, don’t bother taking it.  Then you don’t have to either pack it around with you all the time, or worry about it being stolen.
  • Will you need travel medical insurance? Don’t take chances. We have a friend who ended up with a $16,000 medical bill from a hospital after being treated for a small medical emergency in Mexico several years ago.  I wouldn’t travel out of the country even for a couple of days without insurance.  Years ago when I worked for Manulife Financial, I was automatically covered with a wonderful inclusive policy from them simply because I was on staff. Find out what you have already and purchase more accordingly.  And don’t lie on the forms. They will check if you have a claim and you may be denied if they find out you lied about anything, even if it is something that would not affect your claim.
Packing for travel is such a personal thing… and I know that I always take a bit more clothing than I end up needing.  But I would hate to be caught wanting a dress and not having one, or without enough lingerie… hand-washing is not always practical!  I tried hand-washing some undies in Orlando, Florida one January, and it was so humid there, they were still damp 3 days later…

And while travelling, here are some tips that will help you navigate through the crowds and checkpoints:
  • If you are using public transportation, make sure you carry important personal items with you and don’t put them in checked baggage, which may be lost or stolen or delayed upon your arrival. 
  • Learn the on-board baggage allowances and pack accordingly.  Every airline has different carryon baggage sizes.
  • Learn about any government guidelines for checked luggage and for carry on luggage. 
  • Find out about any restrictions that the carrier has for bringing goods on board. For example, some cruise ship companies allow you to bring a certain amount of alcohol on board… others allow none. Some will confiscate it and hold it for you till you disembark… others say they pour it overboard. 
  • Arrive early to make your connections.
  • Be polite to everyone, especially if they are wearing a uniform.  Remember what your Mama told you.. ‘you catch a lot more flies with honey than vinegar’. It’s true.  A smile and an ‘excuse me, please’ go such a long way and don’t cost you a penny… oh yeah, did you know that we don’t use pennies in Canada anymore?
  • Be careful with various words and phrases. Everyone around you is on high alert these days and may report your innocent shenanigans to an official who won’t think they are as cute as you do. You could end up being delayed or even arrested.
MOST IMPORTANT of all… when all is said an done, and you are on your way… have a wonderful, memorable vacation.  Roll with the punches, accept delays and cancellations and snow storms as they come… enact Plan B and carry on. 

One of the things I love best, and loved first, about The Captain is that he is such a great travelling companion. He never grumbles or gets angry when things go awry.  He always makes the best of every situation and that attitude just makes everything go better.. .when it’s good, it’s GREAT and when it’s not so good, we find another way to have FUN!  I hope you do, too.  And I hope you will be that great travelling companion for your spouse or friends and family, too.

I love to travel, and we are already planning our next vacation, so if you have any tips to share… please do!

Disclosure:  I have no affiliation with Drop Cam and was not compensated for mentioning them in this post.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Loving Lately... Faves and Raves

I am finding lots of new things to love this week…

I played my first tennis match this week in these ASICS tennis shoes that I got in Portland at the end of July. They are wonderful… so supportive and comfy and I almost hated to take them off.  Love the color, too.  I have never had real tennis shoes before, only used-up running shoes.

shoes

Do you recall the ToiletTree Professional Skin Care System that I raved about last Spring?  You can read that review here if you are interested…  well, they just sent me a Storage/Travel case for it along with a set of replacement brushes. Awesome.  I love these brushes and use them a lot.  The case a nice finish to the set and will make storing it much easier… and travelling with it, too.

Sept 10 ToiletTree brushes and case 005

I am thrilled that my friend Kate did a guest post on my food blog this week…she shared her Bright Green Lettuce Soup with me and it is fabulous.  Check it out, won’t you?

Kate's Bright Green Lettuce Soup

On my September Simple RE-Start front… I am struggling with night time snacking so have taken a book out of the library called the 21 Day Sugar Detox, to see if I can get some ideas from it. I know some of you are fans. I need to be a bit more disciplined. But,  I am getting in lots of exercise and I am happy about that.  I am doing things I really love and it makes all the difference when it feels like play.
Sept 11 21 Day Sugar Detox 001

Our fabulous warm and dry Summer weather is lingering… I am so happy to be still able to go out in sleeveless shirts and shorts… even if I am now prepared with the proper gear for rain.  I am feeling kinda bad for family and friends who are living with early cold temps and freak snowstorms…. also the peacocks, who lose their tailfeathers this time of year.

Sept 11 morning 003

Here are some great finds from around the internet this past week:

Let’s start with a utube vid:
And some informative blog posts:


  • 6 Skincare Secrets at  Her Heartland and Soul
    • Erin has some good advice here and a giveaway as well




Here is a good looking recipe that I cannot wait to try:
And I am lending my voice to a PSA today:

What are you loving lately?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

What I Learned on My Summer Vacation

Doesn’t that sound like the title of an essay you would have written in grade school?

Actually, I had two vacations this Summer… and that is such an odd thing for me because for the past 12 years, my whole life has been a vacation.

As you probably already know, we sold our home, fully furnished and turn key ready, in the Summer of 2002, and moved onto our sailboat…. for 10 years we cruised and explored the inner coastal waters of B.C.


g12

Then, in the Spring of 2012 we decided it was time to move ashore… so we took possession of an urban apartment, furnished it, and became land lubbers again.  I accepted a part time job with Weight Watchers and we have slowly but surely embraced urban life and routine.


Feb 18 light 003

So this year, when we drove to Portland OR, and again a couple of weeks later when we flew to Denver, CO from Bellingham, WA, we really did go on vacation!

I like to think I know myself pretty well, and how I am going to feel and react to various things… but occasionally I surprise myself.  That happened a couple of times while were were away.  Here are some examples:

I am quite happy eating the same foods every day.
This was a real eye opener for me because I think I crave variety in my diet.  While we were in Colorado, we stayed at the home of long-time friends. They don’t cook, and we ate every meal except one at restaurants.  I wanted to stay on track with healthy, clean foods and not fall too far off my own food ‘wagon’ so I mostly ate salads of some kind, with grilled chicken on them.  I ate a LOT of them, and was quite fine with it all.
I don’t snack when I am not at home.
I ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner and that was pretty much it. We were busy most of the time and I didn’t get hungry or even think about snacking.  I need to incorporate this now that I am back at home. I tend to get snack attacks mid-afternoon, and sometimes they end up being more meal sized than snacks.
I don’t like to go to bed in the dark.
In our apartment there are spots of light coming in the living room and the dining room, even though the curtains are drawn at night, so if I get up during the night, it is not completely dark.  When were away, I learned to leave the bathroom light on and close the door most of the way so that I could see and get oriented when I woke up during the night.
I don’t like to listen to international news before I go to bed.
Things I saw on the tv news bothered me and kept me awake a couple of times. Not good.
I like to get lots of exercise.
I love to walk and explore new places. I never seem to get tired. On our trip to Colorado there was not enough opportunity for exercise every day and I missed it… who knew?
I don’t take enough pictures.
For some reason, I carry the camera these days. It used to be The Captain’s job to photograph our vacations and adventures and we always had too many pics!
I love being near the water.
For the past 12  years we have lived on, or near, the ocean. Before that, we lived near a river. I think I have just taken it for granted. When we were in Colorado, there wasn’t any water nearby and after several days I realized I really missed it a lot. I was so happy to get back to the seashore.
I spend way too much time on social media.
I didn’t check my email for 8 days while were were in Portland, and only once in the 10 days we were in Washington and Colorado.  I didn’t miss doing it, and I didn’t miss anything important either. 
I have been re-bitten by the travel bug.
Sometimes I think it is just too much trouble to do the planning and all the work that a trip entails… taking care of home details, making arrangements for paying bills, taking care of mail, re-arranging schedules, etc… but when it is all said and done, and we are off exploring some wonderful new place, I know it is all worthwhile and I can’t wait to go again… next Spring… a cruise to Hawaii… something to look forward to if it gets rainy and gloomy here over the Winter.
This post was inspired by Christine Yu's... 14 Things I Learned on Summer Vacation.  Check it out, too.

Do you ever learn new things about yourself when you travel?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Some Fun New Finds… Faves and Raves

I cannot believe we have been home from our vacation to Colorado and Washington for a whole week already. The time is flying by me… I have been busy with unpacking and putting away all of the food staples we purchased in the U.S., stocking up the fridge and freezer at Costco, food prep for the upcoming week, planning our next vacation in the Spring of 2015, working out, and shopping… yes, more shopping.

I don’t really need Winter boots here as we get so little (if any) snowfall, but it does rain. I decided  needed some good waterproof walking shoes because my mesh running-turned-walking shoes get soggy pretty quickly and rain boots are just not supportive enough for my legs and feet.  I was on the lookout while in the U.S. but didn’t see anything I liked.  But, since we came home I found a great pair of Salomon light hiking shoes with Goretex at a local Sport Chek… on sale!    Love them – yes they are jade green -  and now am looking forward to walks in the rain.  Let it pour! 

Sept 2 new waterproof kicks 001 

Next on my shopping list is a new waterproof jacket for rainy day walks… I have a Goretex Sierra Designs coat and matching pants that I wore skiing and sailing for many years.. but the waterproofing is starting to fail after so many washings… I need a new one and have seen some nice North Face jackets, also at Sport Chek.. like this one.

jacket
picture from the Sport Chek site


On another note… I opted to try this new gluten free pizza that I found at Coscto this week.

Sept 9 Gluten Free Pizza 001

Now, I don’t normally eat many grain foods… a bit of rice when I have sushi only occasionally, and I do really like the pizza crust that I make myself with flax and egg whites… but this box grabbed my attention immediately (probably the picture of the gooey cheese).  I tried it out this week with some added canned pineapple and lean ham… and it was wonderful. REAL pizza.  I think this will go on my special occasion list now too.  It was so good, that The Captain ate the leftovers and would never have guessed the crust was different.  If you like thin and crispy, this might be for you.

Sept 9 Gluten Free Pizza 003

I got some packages of Drip Drop powder in the mail this week… this is a medical grade electrolyte powder.

Sept 5 Drip Drop 001

It couldn’t have come at a better time for me. 

I was having problems all week with my legs feeling heavy  and cramping up during the night. I just couldn’t get comfortable for more than an an hour or so at a time.

While we were in Colorado, we made a point of drinking several litres of water every day.  We carried water everywhere we went… I felt like I had a water bottle growing from my hand after a few days… because our hosts told us that we should be drinking lots of water, not only to counteract the heat, but to avoid headaches due to being at a much higher altitude as well. We live at sea level and apparently the high altitude near Denver can cause headaches and fatigue. Being well-hydrated counteracts the effects.

After we got home, I kinda forgot about the water and I think that is what caused my suffering. So I got up during the night and made up a Drip Drop drink… tasted great, by the way, and no waiting for any fizzing to subside as with other electrolyte formulas I have tried.  I went back to bed and did find I was more comfortable after about 20 minutes, and was able to sleep through the rest of the night.

Since then, I have been making a point to drink more water again... but the Drip Drop powder is going to be a regular supplement from now on.

It is taking me forever to get caught up on my blog reading… I did find a couple of very good posts this week, though, that you might like too:
And just because it sounds so good and I want to try it (perhaps minus the pimentos)
How is your week going?

Anything new you are loving right now?