Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Over the Moon About...

It's hard to believe that February is nearing an end. I have really enjoyed being a bit self-indulgent this month and taking care of my own needs. Yes, some basics... like a haircut, eating well better, exercising regularly, and even a few luxuries, too, like self-mani and self-pedi. ( I just cannot get myself to let someone else tend to my toes after reading a newspaper article a few years ago about unhygenic/dangerous practices at salons and spas.)

And to go along with spoiling myself, here are some things I am truly over the moon about right now.

These new Tommie Copper Micromodal Compression Dress Socks.  I cannot TELL you how excited I was to get these socks in the mail to try.  I have been longing for a nice soft, lighter pair of plain black compression socks to wear with dress pants/shoes and under tights.  When I work, I am standing and walking on concrete floors.  My legs get tired. I wore these new socks to work on Saturday and ended up keeping them on well into the evening. Love LOVE LOVE!  Tommie Copper never disappoints.

They are somewhat easier to get on that a regular, athletic compression sock, and are a nice, light, soft and luxurious fabric that looks good with a dressier shoe.  And they stay up, never slipping a bit. Win, win.  Check them out at the Tommie Copper website here.  

I don't normally talk much about skin care or makeup here but this is something I am quite excited about.  A while back I joined a Canadian group called Chick Advisor and sometimes get products to sample and review.  These Garnier Skin products arrived last week and I have been using them since, and really am quite happy with them.

The Micellar Water is a makeup remover/cleanser and is quite fabulous!  It easily removes every trace of makeup and doesn't need to be rinsed away.  Leaves your skin soft and refreshed.  Nice surprise and great price, too.  The Clearly Brighter is a moisturizer with an SPF 15 and the more I use it the more I like it... took me a few days to see any difference from my regular moisturizer but I do find it makes my skin feel softer... the brightening effect?  Not so sure on that front yet.

I am so pumped about this new workout series I just purchased!

This is a follow up to the Metabolic Aftershock I bought last year and have been really loving.  This new one has the option of adding weights or resistance bands to the bodyweight exercises. It is a 12-week program so we are going to wait till we come back from our little Rocky Mountain getaway in March to tackle it.  But I have been looking at the workouts... and WOW!  

I have been thoroughly enjoying the Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts Bars that came in the mail a couple of weeks ago.  I did a review of them for Sweat Pink that you can read here, if you like... taste great and good N.I. as well.  I love the texture, too.

And I am still really loving the Premier Protein Vanilla Shakes that I was given to review through FitFluential a few weeks ago.  These shakes, along with the Chocolate are available at Canadian Costco stores through the end of March.

I like to keep a few in the fridge and use them when I am in a hurry for a nutritious snack or take along on a walk or to run errands.  Really tasty Vanilla flavor and great N.I. too.

And one more thing... Spring has arrived at my house!  When I came home from my Saturday morning Weight Watchers meeting, there were a few vases full of daffodils here and there.  Love that The Captain thought to surprise me with these cheerful blossoms!  It doesn't even matter that he couldn't find the flower vases and used mason jars instead!

Wouldn't you love a pair of lighter compression dress socks?

How are you spoiling yourself right now? 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts Bar Review

I was given an opportunity to try these Manitoba Harvest Hemp Heart Bars through my association with Sweat Pink.  I was eager to get them as I am a big fan of Hemp Hearts and use them regularly in a variety of ways.  The bars come in 3 flavors... Vanilla, Chocolate, and Apple Cinnamon.  I received Chocolate and Apple Cinnamon for this review.

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Heart Bars

I was not disappointed!  The flavors are subtle but tasty, and the texture of the bars is kind of creamy, yet still kind of chewy. Very nice.  

They have a good amount of healthy fats, proteins, and fibre, along with a bit of sugar.  I used them as snacks on the go, and found them satisfying and convenient.  

If you are interested in trying them for yourself, Manitoba Harvest is offering an introductory discount code to get 15% off your order. Use code hhbarlaunch1015 at checkout until March 31, 2016.

Manitoba Harvest is also sponsoring a photo contest.  You can check out the details here.  Just tag @manitobaharvest and use the hashtag #fuelledbyhemp to be automatically entered.  Good luck!

Have you tried them yet? 

What is your favorite flavor?

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Loving Lately... The Valentine's Day Edition

I have been focussing on self care this month as most of January I completely ignored my own needs! I decided it was high time I started taking care of myself again and have been devoting February to being quite self-indulgent.

Here are some of the things I am loving lately...

First of all.. I am loving my husband!  We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary on the 5th of February... and yes there was a wee bit of champagne involved!

I am loving being back on track with my workouts!  I have been running about once a week and walking almost every day, but  now that we are more settled in our new apartment, I am working out again.  We have a fitness room in the new place and Friday I grabbed a yoga mat and one of my 21 Day Fix DVDs and headed down there.  It is really quite-well equipped  with machines, free weights, stability balls, mats... and has a wall to wall mirror on one side and plenty of room in the middle for free exercise and to lay down mats.  I will take some pics next time... but the best thing is a large screen TV (with cable) and a DVD player.  It felt great to get sweaty with Autumn Calabrese again!

Oh yeah, there is a bookshelf too, with lots of magazines so I brought a couple home with me to have a look through.

I am also loving being back on track with my food plan.  I have been really loving the new Weight Watchers Beyond the Scale program. Along with food and fitness, it now emphasizes fulfillment and this third component has really made a difference. If we are happy we are more likely to take care of ourselves, right?

And, since I am a huge proponent of carb cycling for weight loss and maintenance, too, I was thrilled to finally get my hands on Chris and Heide Powell's newest book.  I have had it reserved at the library for many many months.  I love the simplicity of it all... but mostly love how effective it is.

Lately I am loving being able to get out and explore my new neighborhood on foot. There are so many huge old Victorian mansions nearby....

and Spring has arrived in my little corner of the World and I am loving the increasingly warm temps and blossoming flowers.  Even if it does happen to rain, it's warm!

I hope you have a Happy Valentine's Day and are enjoying some self love and happiness too!

What have you done for yourself lately?

Monday, February 8, 2016

Sunday RUNday at Rithet's Bog

It was barely above freezing and kind of damp outside when I first woke up on Sunday morning... I knew I wanted to get in a short run but I also had a few other things on my to-do list so gave I it some thought over my morning coffee and came up with a plan to incorporate it all.

One of the errands on my list was picking up a few registration forms from the Weight Watchers Store to take to one of my Thursday meetings this week, and there would only be someone there till about 10:30 a.m. There is a grocery store in that same strip mall that had cauliflower on sale for 2/$5 which is a phenominal price as they have been as high as $6.95 each lately, and I wanted to check that out.  So... where to run.

I remembered that there is a waterfowl conservation area a few blocks away... called Rithet's Bog... and even though it is low-lying I know that the gravelly dirt trail that loops the perimeter is well-maintained and sits a bit higher than the bog itself.

So, I made us some breakfast, packed some water and a chilled premixed Premier Protein shake for us to share after the run, and we dressed and set off in the car for the 15 minute drive.

This map is from the Rithet's Bog web site

I particularly like that there are no horses or bicycles allowed on this trail... it is just not wide enough for that.  There are a few small hills and lots to see.  Several small ponds on the inside of the trail loop provide habitat for mallard ducks and red winged black birds, and we have also seen deer and the odd racoon as well.  Most people that walk the trail with their dogs are very careful to keep them leashed.

I had thought that we might run into some washed out spots but there were none so we did the 2.8 km loop in just over 23 minutes and then stretched while we shared the water and Premier Protein shake that I had packed.

The Captain, back on the street near our parked car

After that we headed to the strip mall a few blocks away where I was able to successfully complete my errands and score some lovely heads of fresh cauliflower!

Are you a trail runner?

What is your favorite Sunday morning distance?

Friday, February 5, 2016

Premier Protein Review and Canadian Giveaway

Over the past many years that I have been learning more about nutrition, and experimenting with my own food and supplement intake, I have come to realize how important protein is. I know I need a good deal of protein to fuel my workouts and get me through the day.

When I eat a healthy serving of protein at meal time, I rarely need to snack between meals. I stay satified for much longer.  If I don't, I get hangry between meals... no one wants to see that!  And I have read that protein helps repair muscles after a workout, and can help boost our energy levels, too.

I get most of my protein in by eating lean meats, and I very occasionally indulge in low fat cheeses, Greek yogurt, black bean spaghetti, hummus, and raw nuts.  But I am also a big fan of protein powders and shakes... they are not only convenient and portable, but also versatile and quite tasty.  I use a variety of dry powders and also stock up on premixed Premier Protein shakes when I can find them.   I first learned about them a few years ago after winning a giveaway.

I find the premade shakes really handy to take along in the car, and are especially great on busy days when I am not really interested in cooking or meal prep.  Over the past month that we were moving moving, I used them a lot!

Premier Protein Vanilla 30g shakes are available in Canadian Costco stores for a limited time - from February 1st through March 28th.

I find the Vanilla shakes to be particularly versatile as they can be blended with fruit or veggies to make great-tasting, healthy smoothies.

But honestly, these Vanilla shakes are very tasty right out of the package!  I like to chill them in the fridge and then give them a good shaking before opening and drinking... yum.  If I do have a bit of time I will blend in some fruit... here is my version of that Blueberry Smoothie...

I poured it into 2 glasses and shared it with The Captain while we stretched after our Sunday morning run. Delicious!  And I know that it was doing something good for our bodies, too.

Would you like to try them for yourself?

Premier Protein is offering to give away an 18-pack of Vanilla 30g shakes to 5 different Canadian winners!  The prize packs will be shipped to the winners by the folks at Premier Protein.  The only requirement is that you have a Canadian address.  I will keep the contest open till 11:59 p.m. Pacific time on Saturday February 13th.  One entry per person will be allowed.

In order to enter, please leave me a comment and tell me something fun about the part of Canada where you live.  Do make sure I have your email address to contact you after the contest is over.

For example.... I live in Victoria and we have just been named the most Romantic City 4 years in a row!

Good Luck!

Update... this giveaway is now closed and the winners are being notified.... thanks for your entries.

Premier Protein did provide me with product to review through my association with FitFluential.

Monday, February 1, 2016

SLS3 Dual-Pocket Running Belt Review

The offer to test and review one of the SLS3 Dual-Pocket Running Belts could not have come at a better time for me.

Normally I run with The Captain.  He carries his keys and we don't always bother with a cell phone, or if we do, I pack it.  But since we have been busy with our move and organizing our new space, I have run alone a couple of times... I have taken my keys and reluctantly gone without my cell phone because I had no convenient place to carry it.

When the SLS3 Dual-Pocket Running Belt arrived this week, I could hardly wait to try it out!

It has 2 zippered pockets, side by side on the stretchy one-size-fits-all belt.  One pocket for my keys and maybe a gel and some money, and the other for my cell phone... all by itself... I am a stickler for the screen being unscratched and clean!

The belt itself is a nice width so it doesn't fold over and can be worn over or under your clothing. The clip fastens securely but is not difficult to press and pull open. Makes me feel very confident that it will stay fastened and stay wrapped safely around me.

There is ample room for any number of things you may want to take along when you head out.  The pocket openings are quite wide so you can easily get your items in and out without any fuss.

In this next picture, I have keys in one pocket and The Captain's Blackberry in the other.

Even after putting keys, money, and a garage remote, there is still lots of room for more.

Maybe when I start to run longer again, I will have to think of more essentials to pack along!

If you are interested in one of these SLS3 Dual Pocket Running Belts for yourself, I can offer a discount code...

I am not an affiliate, and there is no benefit to me in your using this code to get a 40% discount off your first order with SLS3.  

They are also hosting a giveaway, if you are interested in trying to win one.... enter through the following Rafflecopter form... please note this giveaway is being operated by SLS3 and not me.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What kinds of things would you put in your SLS3 Dual-Pocket Running Belt?  What do you never leave home without?

And in case I wasn't clear, I was given a belt to test and review.  The opinions are my own.

February Focus... Love and Care in the Air!

Finally... February 1st.  I have really been looking forward to this month for so many reasons.  I have a shopping trip to a nearby city planned this week and we will be celebrating our wedding anniversary later this week as well.

Our move is finally over!  We have, for the most part, organized our new apartment and have begun some new routines here.  Still lots to do but I am finally in the position to be able to relax a bit and turn my attentioins to looking after ME.

So, my February Focus is going to be about self care and self love.  I have a few fun things lined up and I will share them as the month progresses.

Today, I am cooking a lovely breakfast for The Captain and me and then we are off to our local IMAX theater to catch a film before lunch. I love IMAX... get totally lost in the surround-sound and enormous, beautiful images.  I will do a bit of grocery shopping after lunch and then enjoy a nice long walk... still exploring the new neighborhood on foot and having fun with that.

Speaking of love... here are some things that I am loving lately:

A SLS3 Dual Running Belt that I have been testing to review

Blueberry Smoothies made with premixed  Premier Protein Vanilla Shakes

My Mizuno running shoes and my Tommie Copper gear.  Big love!

What is on your calendar for February?