Friday, July 25, 2014

Early Birthday Celebrating and Faves and Raves

We are not quite in vacation mode yet, because I am working a Weight Watchers meeting on Saturday morning… but I decided today that we should start The Captain’s birthday celebrations couple of days early!

We did our Metabolic Aftershock workout this morning, and followed it up with a good stretch and then a half hour walk… met a new little bulldog friend called Lily along the way. I have met several puppies this week and that always puts a big smile on my face.

Then, back home, after our showers, and a bit of packing, we headed off on foot to our new favorite sushi restaurant where we both enjoyed delicious sushi bento box lunches.

July 25 sushi box lunch 001
Miso soup for starters… and of course a cup of hot green tea…

July 25 sushi box lunch 002
with salad, California Rolls, Salmon, Tuna and Prawn sushi…  this is the only time I ever eat rice.

The Captain loves tuna and I love salmon so we traded those pieces!

Then we walked around the Inner Harbour, picked up a few items for our trip, and then stopped at our local Starbuck’s so that The Captain could enjoy his birthday reward.  He chose a Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappucino… and I didn’t get a picture of it before he started in on it!

July 24 the birthday boy 001

Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino® blended beverage
This picture is from the Starbuck's web site

It was iced coffee for me today, with a vanilla shot and fat free milk.  Lovely.  Then we came home and did some packing in earnest. I am so excited about getting away soon.

I read so many great blog posts and articles this week.  Here are the highlights:
If you check them out, please be sure to let the blogger know I sent you!

This is likely my last post before we leave on vacation so I will catch you on the road!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Travel Planning… a Wee Glitch

A little update… my 21 Day Fix is going really well and I am feeling great and seeing good results.  Eating healthy and covering all my bases, nutrition-wise, just makes me feel better and helps me operate at peak capacity.  I have also been having a blast with new Metabolic Aftershock workouts and walks, and playing a lot of tennis as well. This is my latest HAPPIEST way to run around and sweat a lot!  I came home absolutely exhausted yesterday, but you couldn't wipe the smile off my face.

And on the vacation planning front… I am almost about ready to start packing my bags.  I have been making lists… itineraries, ferry schedules, hotel confirmation, maps to stores and parks and zoos I want to visit… and shopping lists too. 

A  trip into the U.S. affords the opportunity to purchase items not available in Canada.  YAY!  Things like all those nut butters I read about for instance.  And we almost fill up the car with just a single trip to any Trader Joes’ market I can find.  And don’t forget about Costco… and the outlet malls.  That is really the beauty of a driving vacation for me… the shopping before returning home!  Getting off The Rock is a spree just waiting to happen.

There are so many things to think about when getting ready for a vacation and we divide the tasks up into what seems to happen naturally for us.  I love the planning almost as much as the going and doing.

My jobs:
  • research destinations and routes
  • book travel reservations
  • book hotel reservations
  • purchase travel insurance
  • access and assemble passports and other travel documents
  • acquire maps, information booklets
  • keep lists - general packing, shopping, pre-travel chores
  • pack my personal items
  • pack our general items, ie. phone, camera, computer, cables, address book, etc. 
His jobs:
  • make sure our vehicle is serviced and clean
  • check the spare tire and tool kit
  • pack his personal items
  • load bags into the vehicle
  • do the majority of the driving
Normally when we make travel plans and get ready to go away, we are pretty much on the same page about how things are going to shake out… We like to have loose plans but are certainly open to any opportunites for fun and entertainment that arise. And I have to say, that The Captain is so good natured and never ever gets rattled if things go awry.  He always makes the best of every situation and never complains or gets stressed or cranky.  Lovely, really.  One of the first things I ever learned and loved about him.

But when I suggested we take along a couple of yoga mats so that we can continue our Metabolic Aftershock workouts while we are away, my idea was met with a fairly strong negative response.  I was kind of surprised.

The Captain is kind of a germaphobe.  Shhhhh.  He thinks that laying our yoga mats on a hotel room floor and then bringing them home, may carry along some unwanted bacteria, etc. into our home.  Okay, we have all see those tv shows about how ‘not clean’ even the nicest hotels can be… but really?  I thought about it, and even though I don’t think it is an issue, I am not about to insist.

But, in the back of my mind, I am thinking perhaps we could just use large hotel bath towels on the floor instead of the yoga mats and do the workouts anyway.  Or even just buy some cheap mats and throw them away before we come home. We shall see.

Other than that wee little glitch.. we are rolling!  We plan to pack along running shoes and walking shoes, and the hotel has a nice looking pool and exercise room for any rainy days we may encounter.  I know we will get in lots of exercise. 

How do you stay active when you travel?

What do you think about the yoga mat/hotel germ issue?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Focus on the Fix

Today, I am starting my new week with intention and a firm plan!  Next Sunday morning, before we normally even wake up, we will be on a ferry bound for the mainland U.S.A. on our way to Portland, OR for The Captain’s birthday week celebrations.  I am so excited to be going on this little road trip.  And I would like to do it a little lighter! 

So, this week I am starting each day with my Lemon Water and Fermented L-Glutamine cocktail, with a side of 30 EnergyBits.

July 20 Fix 001

July 20 Fix 002

And I am following the 21 Day Fix eating plan this week.  I have re-read the Start Here guide and the Eating Plan booklet… printed a fresh tracker and am raring to go.   I do like the program and think it is a healthy mix of nutrients and portion control... giving me some direction in making good choices.

July 20 Fix 003

July 20 Fix 004

The refrigerator is stocked with fresh fruit and veggies and I am planning the week’s menus too.  I always do so much better when I plan ahead… and I also want to make sure I use up the fresh produce before we go away.

And on the exercise front, I plan to do 3 Metabolic Aftershock workouts… Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, each one followed by a 30 minute walk. I love the way they seem to give me lots of energy for the remainder of the day.  

I will be heading out for a 5 km run later this morning;  Tuesday we will walk and play tennis; Thursday I will walk before going to work and after dinner as well;  Saturday I will walk after work.  If I can fit in another run and some swimming I will, but what I have stated here is realistic and do-able.  

For some reason, the hardest time of the day for me to stay on track with my food plan is late afternoon, just before I start making dinner.  I am planning a high protein snack for that time of day, and a big glass of iced tea. 

So, I am armed with my tools and my battle plan… and yes, for some reason it is a battle right now.  But I intend to win it!

What are you planning to do for yourself this week?

Does your eating ever go off the rails and need some serious revamping?

Friday, July 18, 2014

FIXING it Up… Faves and Raves

I fell flat on my face this week and pretty much completely blew the 3rd week of my 21 Day Fix eating plan… I am not going to make any excuses or go into the gory details.  I failed. Major.  So, starting tomorrow (yes Saturday, odd I know) I am getting back on the wagon and plan to FIX my shortcomings… I have a full week before we head to Portland to make a good showing.

On the exercise front, though, I have had a stellar week.  I got in 3 hard and sweaty Metabolic Aftershock workouts and followed each one up with a speedy walk.  I started phase 2 this week so the workouts were new and each one of the 3 zeroes in on a different  area of the body…and works it to fatigue.  I am getting kind of tired of the leader yelling at me, but I do love the workouts.  15 minutes flies by, and then we stretch, hydrate, grab a piece of fruit and head out for a walk.  I am loving the endorphins and am ready to take on anything the day throws at me after one of these workouts.

We also played singles tennis twice this week, did some swimming, and walked after dinner in the evening several times as well.  My tennis game is coming along nicely and I do really enjoy it very much. The walk to the tennis courts we like takes about 20 minutes, then after we play we take a longer, ocean-side route home that takes about 40 minutes.  All in all a nice outing.  I make sure to pack dry socks to change into for both of us, and a dry shirt for The Captain, too.  Putting dry socks on just feels so good, don’t you agree?

A nice package arrived early this week… I won a Pure Via Summer Fit Kit in a giveaway from Sarah who writes Creating a Great Today and an Even Better Tomorrow.  I am really enjoying this Lipton’s intant tea… iced, and with lemon and Stevia to sweeten. I had forgotten how refreshing iced tea can be in the hot weather!

July 13 Pure Via 001

I read some really good articles this week… check them out:

Anything special happen for you this week?

Friday, July 11, 2014

July is Flying By Me... Friday Faves and Raves

Friday already!  This week has just flown by me.

It seems I have spent a few hours online firming up our travel plans… we are heading to Portland, OR by car at the end of the month. I have booked us a week there to celebrate The Captain’s birthday… and of course I have plans to visit Trader Joe’s and fill up the car before we head home.  There may also be trips to Voodoo Donuts... yikes!  I just saw a picture of one iced with maple frosting and covered in bacon.

And a couple of weeks after we get back from that trip, we are heading to WA and then on to Colorado by plane… a week with boating friends who have kindly offered to tour us around, and then back to WA for a few days of R&R before coming back to the Island again.  It's a big deal when we get off the Island so going to make the most of it.

So, lots of planning and organizing and I think it mostly done!

But I have also had a good week on the exercise front… we have done the scheduled 3 sessions of our Metabolic Aftershock program, some running, lots of walking, a swim, and some yoga, too.  We tried the yoga workout that came on the 21 Day Fix DVDs and quite enjoyed it.

June 30 21 Day fix arrives 004

I am doing well with the eating plan.. haven’t followed it to the letter as I had originally planned but I am finding it to be an adequate amount of food and a good assortment as well. Overall, I think it is a sensible plan and am quite pleased with it. I have lost 4 pounds and that is a nice bonus.  I am going to stay with it till we leave for Portland.

This box of Detour Smart Bars arrived a couple of days ago and The Captain is quite taken with them.

July 9 Detour Bars 002
July 9 Detour Bars 003

The package was delivered by courier and the box of bars was wrapped in a thermal bag along with 5 or 6 gel-ice packages. They had melted but were still cool. I am so impressed with this delivery… these bars are not supposed to fall below 70 degrees F and the company that sent them wanted to make sure they arrived in good shape!  And more kudos to them because this is an American company who doesn’t normally even send to Canada, but the blogger who hosted the giveaway I won, insisted I get them, so they did.  I won’t embarrass her by naming her here… but extra thanks to her as well.

I got another shipment from North Coast Naturals this week too.. lots more of their protein powders, and nutritional supplements to try. Love this Canadian company.  I have been having a first-thing-in-the-morning cocktail of Fermented L-Glutamine and lemon water for several weeks now, and just recently The Captain has started having one with their Daily Greens mixed with water.  Great healthy way for us to start our day.  They aren’t pretty, but they are tasty!

July 11 North Coast Naturals cocktails 001

The fresh blueberries here are so wonderful this year! I cannot seem to get enough of the big plump deliciousness! I have been eating them with everything… including this breakfast scramble…. Yummmers.

July 9 breakfast scramble 001

The weather is spectacular here this week… we are enjoying a hotter and drier Summer than normal so taking advantage of it by being outside as much as we can … today at lunch we are walking downtown to enjoy a feed of fresh raw oysters at our favorite oyster bar overlooking the harbour…  See you later!

Make sure to have a look at some of these great posts and articles I read this week, too:

Do you like raw oysters?

How do you stay active on vacation?

p.s. don't forget to enter my Kiss Me Organics Matcha Green Tea Powder Giveaway.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Kiss Me Organics Green Matcha Tea Powder and Giveaway

I was given an opportunity to try this  Organic Green Matcha Tea Powder when I won a giveaway hosted by Kat on her blog, KatrinaElle a few weeks ago.  I was so happy when I found out Kiss Me Organics  would actually ship to Canada, because lately it seems that several of the American companies I have won food-related giveaways from, will not.

And a short time later, I was given another opportunity to write a review and offer a giveaway to my readers.  You know I do love to share my good finds with my friends and associates.

June 23 Green Matcha Tea Powder 001

June 23 Green Matcha Tea Powder 002
Have you already discovered Matcha Green Tea for yourself?  Well, I hadn’t… although I have heard and read great things about it.  This information is found on the back of the package itself.

June 23 Green Matcha Tea Powder 004

We have been enjoying it in a variety of ways.  The first time we tried it, I made us each a Green Tea  Latte, from the recipe e-book I also received from Kiss Me Organics.  My lattes didn’t look as nice, because I don’t have a milk foamer, but were very tasty, just the same.

June 28 Green Tea Latte 001
The green tea powder is very fine.

June 28 Green Tea Latte 002

And then I decided to try it just as a cup of hot tea….

July 6 Green tea 001

July 6 Green tea 002 
Also very nice.   It reminds me of the green tea we get with our lunch at the new sushi restaurant we discovered in our neighborhood a few weeks ago.

Since then, I have been adding the Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder to lots of things… I put a small spoonful into my High Protein Breakfast Puff, to give it an extra nutritional boost…

July 7 green tea puff 002 
And there was no discernable taste or real color change…

July 7 green tea puff 004
until I cut into it!

I am going to be adding it to some of the salad dressings and sauces I have been making, too.  I think it will mix quite readily with Greek yogurt.

I found a very informative article on that talks about the 8 benefits of drinking Matcha Green Tea:
  1. Cancer Prevention
  2. Anti-aging
  3. Heart Diseases Prevention
  4. Weight Loss
  5. Detoxifier
  6. Mind Improver
  7. Fiber
  8. Energy Energy
Check out the details for yourself… very impressive health benefits.

If you would like to find out how to order the Matcha Green Tea Powder for yourself use these links… 

 But wait... I do have a giveaway opportunity for you!

Would you like to win a bag for yourself?  The kinds folks at Kiss Me Organics would like to share a bag of their lovely Organic  Matcha Green Tea Powder and the recipe e-book with one of my Canadian or American readers.  Just enter via the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Update... the giveaway has ended and I have contacted the winner.  I hope you enjoy your Kiss Me Organics Match Green Tea Powder and find lots of fun ways to use it!

The prize will be supplied by Kiss Me Organics to the winner.  I will email the winner after the giveaway has ended so be sure to leave me an email address where I can contact you if you win.

Kiss Me Organics supplied me with Matcha Green Tea Powder for the review but the opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Joy In July… Faves and Raves

I am so happy about the way my week has progressed so far….

I am following the 21 Day Fix eating plan and loving it.  I was a bit afraid it wouldn’t be enough food for me.  So, I went into the program promising myself extra green veggies if I felt I needed them.  And on the first day, I did have some.  Today I am wrapping up Day 4 and can honestly say I am loving this plan and haven’t even eaten all of the food I am allowed.  When I compare what I am eating on this plan to what I would be eating on Weight Watcher’s newly introduced Simple Start, they are pretty much identical… whole, real food.  Nutrient dense… so you don’t need as much volume to feel satisfied.

And I am still working hard on the Metabolic Aftershock program with The Captain, too. So far this week no extra workouts like running or any of the 21 Day Fix DVDs … just lots of walking.  Perhaps next week.

I am still loving North Coast Naturals Fermented L-Glutamine mixed into my lemon water every morning… it is my wakeup cocktail and I never miss it.  First my cocktail, then my coffee.

June 13 lemon water and glutamine 001

I have recently been introduced to Kiss Me Organics Green Matcha Tea powder.  I won a giveaway hosted by Kat at Katrina Elle, and since then, I have been working with them to do a review and giveaway here as well. More about that next week…. needless to say, I really like this stuff. I am a newcomer to Green Matcha Tea and really like it.  

June 23 Green Matcha Tea Powder 001

I have been loving my light and fluffy High Protein Breakfast Puffs lately.   Since I started doing the 21 Day Fix, I have increased the amount of protein powder in them to 3/4 scoop, cause it fits the program better, but doesn’t really alter the results much.  This puff is really easy and quick and can be topped with anything you like.  It has a great texture, too.

July 4 breakfast 003

Breakfast Puff 5

I have been a bit remiss in my blog reading this week… but did come across a few things that really hit home with me:

Did you read anything especially compelling this week?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Fix is On!

I have always loved the promise of a new page on the calendar and July is one of my favorites…  My younger brother and older sister both have wedding anniversaries in July.  The Captain’s birthday is in July.  And we have our best Summer weather and hottest, sunniest days in July. It was alway the best month to be sailing and enjoying the long blue days and afternoon winds.

The noisy heron chicks high up in in the oak and pine trees in the park across the street from our apartment will be testing their wings soon; the ducklings on the lake have grown out of their yellow downy coats, and the painted turtles will be coming out of the lake to lay eggs on the shore.  The roses are at their showiest right now; the butterfly trees are blooming and the city is bustling with tourists. Everyone is happy and smiling and friendly. 

I do love July.

And I have a fabulous month somewhat planned.  The transgressions of June are forgotten behind me, and the Fix is On!  That is my mantra for the month of July.  I intend to get my food plan back under control and work hard on regaining the muscle size and strength that I have lost, and also lose about 5 pounds before we head to Portland, OR at the end of the month to celebrate The Captain’s birthday.

I have taken the Beachbody plunge and purchased The 21 Day Fix… a diet and exercise program that focuses on clean eats, portion control and daily workouts.  This box of goodies arrived on Monday afternoon.

June 30 21 Day fix arrives 002

It doesn’t look like much does it?  But after I opened it all up, I was happy to find…

June 30 21 Day fix arrives 004

A shaker bottle, several brightly colored food containers, 2 workout DVDs, a booklet explaining the eating plan, and a START HERE guide to the whole works… there are a couple of other pieces with additional information including one about a 3 Day Quick Fix that is apparently a shed-some-pounds quick method.

First, in  the interest of full disclosure here… I do believe you know I am a Weight Watchers fan, and work part time as a meeting receptionist.  So why on Earth would I purchase another company’s diet plan?  Doesn’t Weight Watchers work?    Well, yes, in fact it works very well.  I have been a loyal follwer and member of Weight Watchers for many years… and I think it is a fabulous program.  But honestly, I am human. I get bored. I like to try new things… and this 21 Day Fix is something I have been reading about for a few months now… and using the colored containers for portion control in the food plan are the gimmick that hooked me.  I am also quite interested in the workouts.

There is a 30-minute workout to be done each day … a different one for each day of the week.  One one DVD, they are Total Body Cardio, Upper Body, Lower Body, Pilates. Cardio, Dirty 30, and Yoga.  There are also 2 ten-minute abs routines, and another DVD that has a 30-minute workout on it that is called Plyo Fix.  I haven’t viewed or tried any of them yet.

So… I have joined a private Facebook group set up by Danielle Prestejohn, who is an independent Beachbody Coach, and also a NASM certified trainer, a certified holistic health coach,  and has a MS in Nutrition.  Danielle is also a FitFluential Ambassador and writes a blog I read regularly.    Already there is a nice camaraderie in the group and I do think there will be lots of support and sharing of information and motivation there too. 

At the beginning of this post I mentioned that  I have the month somewhat planned.   It is my intention to follow the 21 Day Fix eating plan to the letter.  As for the exercise/workout part of the plan, I am going to assess that daily and see how I can work it in to my schedule.

That is because I have recently started the 9-week Metabolic Aftershock workouts.  

from their web site

The Captain and I are doing them together.  On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings we are doing the prescribed 15-minute high intensity full body workout, followed by about 5 minutes of cooling stretches and we have been following that up with a 30 minute brisk walk to complete the cool down.   There are 3 phases in the plan and the idea is to follow each phase for 3 weeks.  Each phase has 3 different workouts A, B, and C, so there are 9 different workouts altogether.  I am really enjoying them and I do like to work out with The Captain.

Right now we are still in phase 1, on week 2.  The workouts so far have been lots of pushups, Batmans, squats, hip thrusts, lunges and split lunges.. .body weight only, no additional weights.  (I haven’t peeked to see what is to come.)  They are really hard, and the annoying instructor yells a lot,  but they only last 15 minutes.  I have been feeling the heat from them for several hours after they are done, and I like that they leave me feeling energized and eager to do more.  I  can still go for a run, or a hike, or play tennis or perhaps even do a 21 Day Fix workout… see where I am going with this?    When I was doing 40 – 50  minute strength routines with dumbbells I was pretty much too tired to want to do any more vigorous activity that day. 

So, I am thinking that I can do the Metabolic Aftershock workouts as scheduled, and then either fit in the appropriate 21 Day Fix workout, or another activity of my choice.  I will assess as I go and do what I can.

All in all, I am very excited about my plans.  I have Day 1 of the eating plan under my belt, and so far so good. Yes, it takes some planning. And, I do better with planning so I am happy for that, too.

I can’t wait to share how it’s going.  Wish me luck!

What’s in store for you in July?

Happy Canada Day

Happy Canada Day!

We Canadians tend to be somewhat subdued when it comes to showing our national pride so we are taking every opportunity today to show off our colors and puff our chests... just a little… and yes, enjoying all things stereotypically Canadian…

July 1 2014 003 (2)
I surprised The Captain this morning with a breakfast of MOOSE and MAPLE LEAF and a new tee…

July 1 2014 002

And now we are headed out for a run… enjoy the holiday!