Healthy Vacationing

I’m going to go quite a few weeks back in time again and talk a little about our honeymoon. However, I’m not going to bore you with a recap, rather I want to talk about how you can make your vacation a little healthier. Don’t get me wrong- Zach and I drank more than our fair share of beer as we explored the rockies and the pacific northwest, and we definitely ate a lot of ice cream and charcuterie. Even with all of this indulgence though, we tried to keep our vacation as healthy as possible. With the Christmas holidays upon us many of you are probably getting ready for a winter vacation, so I thought I’d share a few tips on how you can stay active while away (at least to balance out the intake of junk- because let’s get real, you’re on vacation and I’m not going to preach “eat a salad!”)

    1. Go for a ride! Rent bikes and explore the city you’re visiting, it’s faster than on foot, it’s cheaper than renting a car (and easier to park!), great for the environment and a great calorie burner (bonus points for riding up steep hills). Zach I rented bikes and explored Stanley Park and Kitsilano in Vancouver. We were able to see so much in a matter of hours (side note: the bike lanes in Vancouver are so great! Take note, Toronto.)IMG_8308
    2. Choose “active” adventures. While helicopter rides and boat cruises can certainly be an exciting adventure on a trip I challenge you to try something that also challenges you physically. For me and Zach this meant some intermediate hikes with some solid inclines. We hiked up to Upper Joffre Lake just outside of Pemberton B.C. and instead of taking the gondola up Grouse Mountain in Vancouver we opted to hike up and tackle the Grouse Grind.IMG_8226 IMG_8151DSCF7447 IMG_8335
    3. Take breaks. While sometimes long drives and train rides can’t be avoided be sure to keep your blood flowing and take some breaks to move when possible. Remember, even on a road trip half the fun is getting there. Taking a break allows you to see something new and explore a place you may have never been before. For us, this meant some short road-side walks and hikes, or even just a nice stretch break. A short hike break isn’t tough when the view looks like this:IMG_8059 IMG_8094
    4. Lace up those shoes. We chose not to rent a car while we explored Vancouver, Seattle and Portland. While a car is definitely convenient at times, not relying on it means you have to rely on your own two legs (and public transportation) which means a lot of exercise. I find exploring cities on my feet makes the experience feel a lot more authentic instead of just driving from point to point. Again, it’s nice to see so many different things as you make your way to a destination. Sometimes this does take a little extra planning, but it’s definitely worth the money you’ll save and the activity you’ll get. While in Vancouver there was an ice cream shop that I really wanted to check out. It was pretty far away but we took a beautiful long walk along the water seeing so much. By the time we got there I felt a lot less guilty about getting a double scoop (which we then chased with some samples from a nearby craft brewery)IMG_8421 IMG_8294
    5. Eat a solid breakfast. This is easiest when you find accommodations that all you to cook up a hearty am meal but having a kitchen isn’t always necessary. We tried to start our days with some protein (usually eggs) or something that would keep us going. When cooking wasn’t an option we had some instant oatmeal packages that only needed some boiling water. These types of meals are really easy to find on the go as well. I found that when I started my day with a pastry or something indulgent I spent the rest of the day hungry and wanting more junk. Starting the day off right kept the junk cravings at bay, or at the very least, left my stomach much happier when I waited until mid-day for that pastry.
    6. Rest. While it’s fun to pack as much activity as possible into a vacation don’t forget the importance of some R&R. Remember, so much of living a healthy lifestyle means taking the time to relax, unwind, take a step back and rest up. Sleep in, take an afternoon nap or lay in a park with a blanket (like we did in Seattle, pictured below). Even if you spend the majority of your vacation doing just this, don’t feel guilty. It is rare that we get the chance to do nothing and if you let it, it can be very rejuvenating!

While our trip was perfect for the warmer weather, I realize these things may not all be possible while exploring an area that gets snow in the winter. If you’re in the wilderness, rent some snow shoes, go cross-country skiing, or simply put on some good boots and go for a winter hike. If you’re exploring a city, check out the outdoor skating rinks in the area. The possibilities are endless!

For those of you travelling to a resort this winter there are also a ton of ways to stay healthy too! Go for a beach walk, dance the night away at the disco, join the water aerobics at the pool, explore a nearby town on foot, sign up for an active excursion or just bask in all the relaxation (while wearing sunscreen of course!)

Above all else, ENJOY your vacation and don’t feel guilty about a little indulgence, you’ve earned it!

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A beautiful start to a life-long love letter

Nostalgia has a way of waking me up from dreams and reminding me of all the good things that are no more. I have always been a nostalgic person, one who hates forgetting. I struggle with accepting the natural flow of life where days go on and new things happen, and without noticing, details of days and specific memories slowly slip away. While this is something I have accepted more and more as I have grown up, realizing that some things should slip away to make room for new things, there are some memories that I just do not want to let go of.

In particular, August 29th, 2015 is one that I refuse to let slip away. Of course, the most important days, like this one, have a way of sticking in our minds, and this is no exception, but I don’t want to forget any of it, even the small details that so easily blur and fade away. Nostalgia can often be a way of glorifying the past, However, when it comes to August 29, 2015, already 16 weeks ago, I don’t think this is true.

August 29, 2015 was the day I married my best friend. Given my nostalgic nature, I spent quite a few hours after the Wedding journaling about all of the details, the moments that I know will probably slip away over time- hoping to keep them forever, a beautiful memory to one day share with our future family. While I want to gush these details to anyone, I realize they don’t mean as much to everyone as they do to me and Zach so I have decided to at least share the highlights here with you all.

It is difficult to pinpoint a favourite event or moment, because each part was so amazing and meant so many different things to myself and to Zach. However, I thought I’d go over all of it as briefly as I can for you, highlighting the things that stand out the most in my memory, the moments that are so special, I can’t find the words for. While I am going to try my best, I also have to share some photos from our incredibly talented photographer Ash Nayler because her photos have a way of capturing emotion the way my words never could.

The highlights:
Ali&Zach-27

Ali&Zach-192Getting ready with my girls in the morning. It was amazing to spend such a large chunk of time that day with these incredible women. We laughed, we cried, we drank champagne, we told many inappropriate jokes and we shared so many special moments together. It was so incredible, and the last moments I had with my girls as a single woman are something I will cherish forever

Ali&Zach-219The few quiet moments that I had with myself as I looked out the window at our venue and saw every single person I loved gather for the purpose of us. The string quartet was warming up and it was probably the only moment of this day I had by myself to sit with my own emotions. It hit me at this moment that I was really getting married and I felt SO calm and relaxed and was ready to burst at the seems with love.

Ali&Zach-198Zach and I chose to keep things traditional and not do a first look. We had a really early ceremony (1:30pm) so we didn’t need to do pictures before and this is what felt right for us. I wanted Zach to see me for the first time as I walked down the aisle. However, we did have a quick moment beforehand to connect. It was actually pretty strange to not spend time with Zach the night before or the morning of as we had worked so hard to put all of the wedding together as a team, but this short moment kept me grounded and reassured me that we were in this together and all would go well.

Ali&Zach-260

Ali&Zach-261I always imagined myself walking down the aisle to Canon in D (I know, typical) and taking in the music and crying. Even though my string quartet dreams had come true and this song request was a reality, I wasn’t even focusing on the song! In fact, I had to ask Zach afterwards if they were playing at all (they were!) Walking down the aisle I was just bursting with joy seeing everyone’s faces and looking at them. Until I saw Zach. At that moment I couldn’t focus on anything else. I didn’t cry but I do remember thinking “Zach is losing his shit” and I may have even said that to my parents. Never thought he would cry that much! I think I blocked everything else out and just smiled the biggest smile, so excited to marry this man! It was like I had tunnel vision.

Ali&Zach-292Our Ceremony was perfect. Short but not too short, non-traditional but traditional and very much our own. I find that as a guest at a wedding the ceremony often gets lost in the day as the excitement for the party takes over. But in this moment, experiencing it first-hand at our own wedding it was so beautiful and made me realize how it is arguably the most important part of the whole day. Zach and I chose to write our own vows and this was probably the most romantic moment of my life.

Ali&Zach-337Immediately after the ceremony we took a few moments to spend some time just the two of us. While I held it together during the ceremony, now it was my turn to lose my shit! I’m not even sure we spoke in those 10 minutes we took to ourselves because I was pretty much bawling the whole time. We both thought it was really important to find some time for just the two of us to drink in everything we were feeling right after becoming husband and wife(!). It was such a special moment to experience with one another (and probably the only time we were alone that whole day!)

Ali&Zach-607After spending a good hour with our guests and taking the family portraits we wandered off with our photographer to take photos of just the two of us. Ash has a way of making everything feel natural and easy. She captured our vision for the day and everything we were going for (ethereal, understated elegance, midsummer night’s dream-esque) so perfectly. I was actually a little bit anxious to just get this over and done with because I really wanted to be with everyone having a good time, but after a few minutes it donned on me that this is actually a pretty special time. It is easily one of my favourite memories from the day. We got to spend some quality time just being all gross and cute and being present with one another. Hanging out with Ash was just like hanging out with a friend who was there to celebrate the fact that we just got married! I don’t think we left an inch of the property untouched. We played in the vineyards, hiked through forests, sat on a tree swing, took photos in front of the drapes from the ceremony, stood in the beautiful tree covered drive way, and hung out on the porch of the beautiful estate. (I can’t wait to share the rest of these photos with everyone!)

Ali&Zach-374A textbook type “A” I had spent months going through every detail to make sure that it was perfect. The moment I first saw the reception area I actually gasped. It was even better than I had imagined. This was definitely a superficial moment of satisfaction but come one, how gorgeous are those live-edge harvest tables? I was so happy to see this! (and a HUGE shout out is in order- thank you to our goddess of a co-ordinator Liana of Birch and Lace for executing all of this!)

Ali&Zach-715The reception was AWESOME. I can’t pick a favourite speech because they were all equally touching and endearing (and hilarious – thanks to my sister for tearing me apart in the most loving way possible). When Zach and I got up to say our speech I was completely overcome with emotion. I think this is the only time during the whole day that I cried in front of everyone, but I was just so full of gratitude and everything came rushing out. It was amazing to see everyone we love sitting in front of us as we were able to thank them all.

Ali&Zach-919Ali&Zach-929The sun was about to go down and even without a pretty sunset we had reached “magic hour”, with the twinkly globe lights in all the trees, it really did feel like a true magic hour. We cut our cake (so delicious, wish I had actually eaten a piece) and then started our first dance (turning page by sleeping at last). I’m not even going to try and describe the first dance because the photos do a better job. What. a. moment.

Ali&Zach-960The Party. It started with backstreet boys and only got better from there (if that’s even possible). This was also the time when I finally was able to catch up and speak with people that I hadn’t yet spent any time with. I had SO much fun dancing with everyone and seeing everyone else dance the night away. What a night!

I realize now that I pretty much summarized every moment of the day, but there is so much more that I want to share. I hope that you all enjoyed this re-cap and I will be sure to share more details soon including all the tips and advice I have for planning a wedding.

Much love!

How can you tell if someone is running a marathon?

… Don’t worry they’ll tell you.

Last year around this time I was that obnoxious person who was ALWAYS talking about running. “I’m running a half marathon” I would boast, without even being asked.

This year, you may have noticed there has been a lot of radio silence around here. You may have also noticed that I posted about running a full marathon a few months back. Well I’m here to tell you that I failed, BUT I have also come to realize that no failure is a true fail.

My almost-silence on this endeavor came from the fact that I was really not sure I could do it. I KNOW I can do it now, but I didn’t think that I could, and that overwhelming thought got in the way and I stopped talking about it. I was terrified that I wasn’t putting everything I had into it, and I ended up putting nothing into it and giving up. I will be the first to admit that boasting about runs can be annoying but just think about it for a moment. The training involved in running any sort of distance race is time consuming and honestly, not always that fun. Telling people is a way that I (and other runners) hold myself accountable. Even if no one really cares that much, there will always be a few people who will remember and then ask you later “how’s your training going?” Which is an instant reminded to pick it up when I’m slacking.

With moving, wedding planning and a few weeks of extreme heat, my training was pushed to the back of my mind. Eventually, it disappeared.
Up until about mid-August I was still SO determined that I would run the full. I went on a 20k training run after a few weeks of not much training and smashed it. I truly felt unstoppable, but I was quite honestly not prepared for the amount of work that came with planning a DIY wedding, especially in those two weeks leading up to the event. I was exhausted. My life was consumed by wedding planning and work. I have always been one of those people who says “you just have to make time for it anyway. no excuses” when it comes to exercise and I’d like to apologize right now if I’ve ever said that to you, because as I have learned, you truthfully sometimes don’t have time. Especially when that time involves putting 3+ hours into going for a long run.
My wedding was perfect, and so was my honeymoon, and I swore once I got back to a normal routine I would pick up where I left off and run that race damnit! But I was never able to pick up where I left off. Work was insane upon my return, and life sucked me up, and I gave in. It is SO easy to stay off the bandwagon once you have fallen off and nearly impossible to get back on.
Yet, here I was, a full TEN weeks since my last run feeling incredibly sorry for myself that I hadn’t just got back on. But, my friends, life happens and I had to live with the life I had been living and be okay with it. I decided I would run the half marathon instead. This mostly came from my self pity and wanting to prove to myself that I could do it. I knew I could, or at least that’s what I told myself, so that was that, I would do it. But I also had to learn to let go of any unrealistic expectations in my head. I decided my only goal would be to finish. So, on Sunday, I laced up my sneakers and set out to run a half marathon with essentially no training.
I don’t recommend this. It wasn’t fun. My legs weren’t ready. While I had not been sedentary, I certainly hadn’t been running, and it HURT. Yet I am still glad I did it, and if you are/were a runner, you could probably do it too, just be careful and don’t push yourself. Here is my mini re-cap I posted on instagram about said run:

Finished the half!

Finished the half!

Kms 0-2: “okay I’m just going to turtle this whole thing. I got this. I see the 2:30 pacer so I’ll just stick with them. Not so bad”
Kms 2-5: “oh wait, I can run! I forgot I used to be somewhat good at this, alright, see ya later 2:30 pacer”
Kms 5-10: “I’m a machine! I’m going to beat my time from last year! This is the easiest 10k of my life. Okay I may not beat it but I’ll be pretty close. I could have run the full. I have so much energy! Running at my old race pace is so easy I could probably run an ultra!”
10-11km: “wait a sec. My legs aren’t working. Maybe I should have trained. Oh well I’m still in front of the 2:30 pacer I guess I’ll take a walk break”
11km: “ouch, walking hurts more than running”
12km: “just keep swimming, just keep swimming”
13km: I don’t think I can see properly my legs hurt so bad, and what is that stitch in my side?”
14km: “okay that’s a bad stitch. Where am I? What is life? Everything hurts.”
15km: “so much for finishing in 2:15, the 2:30 bunny just passed me”
16km: “I think I’ll just walk the rest of the way. Wait never mind, I can’t walk”
16.5km “gels! I forgot about those! And I have one! Oh and hey look at that smiling stranger cheering everyone on! Okay, one foot in front of the other”
16.75km: “I got this I got this!” 17-21km: “I’m not sure if I’m running or floating and I can’t feel anything but I’m doing it! Won’t stop until it’s done! Yup, I can totally run a full next time”
21.1km: “why do people run?”

Now, back to why this wasn’t totally a failure. Sure, I didn’t run the full like I had wanted to, but I ran a half marathon, without training! That still counts for something right? Even though I finished pretty close to the bottom of the pack in my category I still did it. Second, it was all I needed to remind me WHY I run and why I want to continue to do so. It forced me to look at my goal of running a full again and reevaluate how I can make that happen.
I may have turtled that race all the way home but I still did it! It may not have been anything close to any of my races that I actually trained for but sometimes you just have to get out there and get it done and be proud of just that.
At the runners expo on Friday I met a woman who had just found a lump in one of her breasts and was awaiting results, she said it put a huge damper on her training but “sometimes you just have to do the best you can under the circumstances”. Her words couldn’t ring more true. My only excuses are that I planned a wedding and went away for 2 weeks, but I still have an able body and health and that’s no excuse to back down from a challenge that would have been easier to just not face at all.
That, my friends is what running is all about for me. Being grateful I can move my body and that I have my health to do so. There are days where I can run like a champ, and days where 5k feels impossible, but you really just have to go out there and do the best you can, under the circumstances. So many lessons in running can be applied to real life.
After all is said and done, it was still an important race in many ways. I ran the first 10k without stopping. I’m not sure if I’ve ever done this. It wasn’t my fastest 10k time by far, but even in my fastest 10k races I have taken brief walk breaks. I also didn’t take any walk breaks up any of the hills that forced me to do just that last year. Even the last hill at the end when my legs just could. not. even. In fact, I passed every single person who was around me on that hill.
And now, as I hobble around the city of Toronto, I am telling myself (and others) that I WILL run that full this coming May. So you bet that I will be talking about that A LOT around here. If you don’t hear anything about it…ask me.
“It’s only impossible until it’s done”

Re-framing Exercise

Disclosure: I am often eavesdropping on conversations that I am not a part of. I don’t do this to be rude or because I am nosey. Rather, I work in an area where there is a lot of traffic coming and going. Given that I work in wellness I am always curious when people start talking about health. My office is actually located in an area where people work out so naturally, I hear a lot of these conversations and my ears perk up.

From all my eavesdropping, one thing I know for sure is that everyone wants to lose weight. I am always amazed at how often I hear the exact same words and conversations. It is so common, which is not that surprising given our society’s views on body image.  However, this focus on weight loss, as we know, does not always pave the way to a healthy lifestyle. I am starting to realize just how big of a focus it is for a lot of people. Yet, it is so rare to see people really stick with health and fitness for long periods of time. I am also shocked at how misinformed people are about fitness and diet, and always find it so sad when I hear the words “nothing works for me, I can’t get fit so I give up” or “I will never look like that, I feel awful” or even “I hate exercise but I do it to get skinny”.

I am here to challenge this and ask you to re-frame the way we think about exercise. What if we focused on how good exercise made us feel instead of seeing it as a means to an end. What if we focused on our health, energy levels, well-being and less about the way we looked? I know, crazy thought, but hear me out.

I have been you. I have eaten too few calories, been obsessed with the gym, all with the intention of losing weight and getting my body to look a certain way. I have since learned that my body is not MEANT to look that way, and even if I have achieved it for a short period of time, that’s the extent of it – it’s a short period of time. Even though I looked a certain way, I can assure you, I was not healthy. I deprived myself of enjoyment. I was grumpy. I was hungry. I would reach the end of the day and fight the urge to binge on chocolate and chips. I wasn’t able to enjoy my weekends and felt plaugued with guilt if I followed the lead of those around me and had a glass of wine. I would go to sleep feeling miserable that I had failed myself so terribly if I did give in (see previous post on balance). So why did I even do this? Because there was some pre-conceived notion in my head that happiness=having the body of a bikini model. Even when I nearly had that body, I wasn’t all of the sudden happier. In fact, I was miserable.

The crazy thing is, for even those of us who don’t really have any weight to lose; we still obsess about it and can’t be convinced otherwise no matter what others around us say. Weight is such a deeply personal concept and we are so easily brainwashed into thinking we must look a certain way.

It doesn’t help that we are constantly bombarded with images like this all over social media:

(it also takes depriving yourself of all fun)

(it also takes depriving yourself of all fun)

I am not saying that males don’t have these same insecurities because many do. However, I find in my circle of female friends, weight and body image is something that is always coming up. We work out to get fit and often, that is all we talk about concerning fitness. I recently have had a lot of conversations with my friends about this though and have started challenging that. I encourage them to still put a lot of effort into being active, but change the focus of it and the reasons for doing it. Furthermore, I really try and steer any conversations about health and wellness away from weight. But it doesn’t stop there, by merely having a few chats with my friends about changing their focus on exercise I’m not accomplishing much. So how do we make the conversation in society about something else?

We have fitness instructors urging us on and saying things like “think of your bikini”. I hear it every day. Every day. And frankly, I am sick of it. “Summer is coming, get beach ready” “don’t give up, think of your vacation body”. Why is our motivation to do a healthy behaviour coming from statements that are not healthy? It’s backwards, isn’t it?

Our obsession with the way we look is unhealthy. It causes unrealistic expectations and spins us into a downward spiral of self-loathing and distorted body image. And it truly isn’t our fault. How can you disconnect yourself from these messages when everything that is being portrayed is skinny=happy=healthy. This message is constantly being shoved down our throats from every industry out there trying to capitalize on our insecurities.  What if we were to remove the “skinny” from the equation? What are we left with? Happy=healthy. That doesn’t sound all that bad to me.

What if we stopped focusing on the way we look and started focusing on the way we feel and all the positive ways that living healthy and exercise can help us? What would that look like?

I recently attended a Body pump class with a new instructor (to me). Near the end of the workout (during which she did not once mention weight and looking fit) she said “stop and think right now about how strong and empowered you feel. How clear your mind is. How relaxed you are. Now remember that feeling every time you don’t want to come. Hold on to that and remember why you workout”

That really stuck with me. Why do I work out? It calms my nerves. It clears my mind. It gives me more energy. It protects me against disease. It makes me feel strong. It helps me sleep better. It makes me feel confident. Overall, it makes me feel HAPPY. Those are all a bunch of reasons that have nothing to do with weight. I tell myself those things when I don’t want to be active and it works wonders. The days I don’t want to work out are often the days that I am feeling low or am stressed. Those are the days I need it most, and those are the days where it really hits home that being active is so much more than the way I look.

If you are only working out for the purpose of looking a certain way, I am curious to know if that works well for you. Do you enjoy your workouts? Have you made it a part of your life? If so, I applaud you and I hope that once you reach your physical goals, you will continue to keep it a part of your life for many other reasons. If you don’t like being active, try something new. Find something you not only like but are actually good at too. I can’t stress this enough. It doesn’t always to be in a gym.  It can be as simple as planning a weekend hike twice a month, or riding your bike on a Saturday. It can be so many different things.

So how do we change this focus on weight? I am putting my foot down and saying enough is enough. Next time you hear someone talking about it, stop them and encourage them to think of other reasons to be active. Next time you hear that dialogue in your head, stop it. Replace it with something else. Re-frame it.

Life happens while you’re busy making other plans

My aim is to keep this blog less about me and more about topics we can all related to. However, there has been so much going on in my personal life lately (hence the hiatus) that I can’t help but share and gush a little bit.

That being said, my days have been jam packed with so many great things I am just exploding with joy. First of all, I had an amazing weekend a few weeks back celebrating my dear friend’s (The Rosetto Blog) bachelorette in Prince Edward County. It was such a special weekend to be a part of and Emily’s happiness was so contagious. What a great group of women go hang out with! Also, if you haven’t been to Prince Edward County before, add it to your list (I’m already eyeing the drake Devonshire for our first year anniversary, I know, that’s over a year away but wishful thinking right?)

Beautiful Bride (in the middle)

Beautiful Bride Emily (in the middle)

Shortly after, Zach and I moved into our very own brand new condo. This move has been long overdue but with crazy wedding costs and a period of unemployment for both of us we wanted to wait until we were sure we could afford a place we really liked and enjoyed living in (read: a home, no cheap student housing) and still have some wiggle room for life so we delayed it. It was worth it! We found the most perfect place and have had so much fun making it a home (OUR home). We are obsessed with our neighborhood and it’s so amazing to live so close to quite a few childhood friends as well as my dad. Plus, I can walk to work! How great is that? Not to mention, the view…

Our View

Our View

Did I mention how fun decorating is? While we are still on a strict wedding budget we have been able to find some great pieces and Zach made some of our furniture which was a big money saver. I’m looking forward to getting rid of my university bed and really making the place homey and our dream over the next few months.

Zach's amazing DIY media stand

Zach’s amazing DIY media stand

Home sweet Home

Home sweet Home

Our kijiji Urban Barn find

Our kijiji Urban Barn find

Shortly after the big move my  (amazing!) friends held two wedding showers for me. I’m so spoiled! The first one was from a group of girls I have known since kindergarten and was a total surprise. A few of the girls couldn’t make it to the bigger shower so they orchestrated the perfect Tuesday night affair with sushi, prosseco, cupcakes and of course a homemade tiara. It was so humbling and amazing, even more so because I had NO idea.

The best of friends :)

The best of friends 🙂

Surprise!

Surprise!

The second one was the larger shower of the non-surprise variety which was just as special. It’s so great to see so many people I love from different areas of my life all interact together. Having so many people get together to celebrate you brings about so many emotions. It’s so special to see how much people support me and Zach. I will be honest when I say it is a little weird though. Don’t get me wrong, everyone loves a party but it is a little hard to sit there and realize all the focus is on you- more than a few times I thought to myself “how do I deserve this!!?”.  I guess it’s just practice for the wedding!

How talented is my friend!? Yes this is homemade!

Amazing (angel) Bridesmaid Masterminds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me and my Mum

It’s all in the details

(I’ve had a lot of questions and compliments about my dress, this is it here. I will also add that I’ve bought quite a few things from them, just make sure you read the sizing information and reviews and you’ll be fine)

And now, this is taking over my life:

Crafts on Crafts

Crafts on Crafts

I don’t want to give too many details away to the guests but the crafting is taking over our condo. Luckily I’ve had some amazing bridesmaid/friend elves who have been helping. DIYing your wedding is a great money saver but don’t kid yourself – it takes TIME. I see a few sleepless nights in my future as I finish all this up.

Thanks for reading everyone. My next post will be back to the regular wellness stuff, I promise 🙂

Making Room for Balance

Cheers to the Weekend

Cheers to the Weekend

This past weekend I had the pleasure of spending some time up at my friends cottage on Georgian Bay with 3 absolutely wonderful like-minded women. The weekend unfolded in the perfect way that only a summer weekend in Ontario cottage country can unfold. Time was measured by the sun in the sky and not by deadlines and meetings. Meals and naps were perfectly unscheduled and all was accompanied with a generous side of laughter, great conversation and of course wine. Life was lived in the moment and all activities focused around fun and relaxation (even cleaning the dishes).

This weekend left me feeling the most mentally refreshed I have in months. To live even two days without a schedule and plans of anything beyond what to make for dinner or what bottle of wine to open next, was a much needed step back from the pace of my current lifestyle.

It was the kind of weekend that has stuck with me even as I write this on Tuesday morning before work. We spent hours on the paddle boat, we slept in, we drank our coffee (slowly) on the veranda. We sat in comfortable silence.

We also indulged. Induldging at the cottage is pretty much something that goes without saying. I don’t think I’m alone when I say that at times I struggle with my relationship with food and allowing for indulgence. For me, indulgence is rarely accompanied without feelings of guilt. A textbook Type “A” I love control and we all know how easy it is to lose sight of control when faced with delicious unhealthy food and bottomless wine.

I vowed to approach this weekend with the right frame of mind. I find if I vow to let go of any guilt before I know I’m going to be indulging, I’m healthier all around- not only with my food choices but with the mental parts of it. I will say this now and I will say it again, it’s all about balance. We live in a world where messages about what to eat are constantly flying at us from ALL directions. It’s important to remember that some indulgence is good for the soul and doesn’t always need to be a complete junk food binge. A lot of blogs I read out there focus on eating one way and one way only and I have fallen down that trap of trying to adhere to strict rules, but this is life! Life doesn’t always have room for rigid rules and diets, and I think that this only perpetuates the relationship between guilt and food. Plus, we can’t forget that food is meant to be enjoyed. It plays such an integral role in regulating our bodies and that certainly doesn’t exclude our moods. Sure, a major binge on junk won’t improve your mood if you’re down and it certainly won’t leave you with a happy tummy, but some treats with friends during a weekend away or a croissant on a Friday is good for the soul. Also, what is a cottage weekend without a piña colada?

Letting go of the guilt made all the difference in my weekend. I didn’t feel the need to overindulge because eating the less unhealthy things I did was a conscious choice I made for myself- not something I tried to deny myself.

Besides vowing to let go of the guilt and allowing myself some treats, there are a few other important things I took with me from this weekend:

-The great feelings and positivity that come with taking more time in the morning. This really allows me to start the day out in the best possible way. I aim to get to work anywhere from 7:30-8:30am so taking loads of extra time in the morning is not always realistic but it’s the little changes that count here. I move downtown next week and could not be more excited yet I am truly going to miss where I live now- the balcony at the front of the house looks out on the lake and it is absolute bliss in the morning. For the past 2 days I have taken a few minutes to sit outside with my coffee and just take it in. Not the same as the hour I spent drinking my cottage cottage, but those few minutes are an instant stress reliever!

-Listening to music for the purpose of listening to music is a powerful thing. At some point this weekend we got the speakers out and turned the music on. It was then that it hit me that it has been so long since I have really taken the time to listen to music. Sure, I listen when I run, or sometimes I put background music on when I try and focus at work but it’s been a while since I’ve blasted some music and just sat there and taken it in. Music has the power to instantly lift my mood and I will be  intentionally listen a lot more from now on.

-Ice Cream has the power to cure the Sundays. Even when the Sundays include a 3 hour drive that normally takes just over an hour. See below for proof that ice cream = happiness.

Bliss

Bliss

A simple tip to keep from overindulging: have healthy snacks around and plan healthy meals. By all means, eat the cottage candy, but making sure there are also healthy snacks around will help you fill up on the good stuff- leaving you satisfied with only small amounts of the not-so-healthy stuff. This will also save you from a belly ache. For us, our Saturday afternoon pig out consisted of the Oh She Glows life affirming nacho dip (I always add a jalapeño for an extra kick), veggies, cheese and hummus (with a side of jujubes). For dinner we made homemade burgers and kept the toppings as healthy as possible (avocado, tomatoes, hummus). These menu items led to fewer marshmallows later on – but don’t get me wrong I still ate plenty!