Monday, 30 September 2013

Monday Musings: Week 9

Over the weekend I ran my first 5k - the Run or Dye event in Halifax, Nova Scotia at Ski Martock. It was a great first race as the focus was fun and no one was worrying about time.  I ran the whole thing, stopped a few times to stretch out my shin splints thanks to some of those hills, but aside from that I did great.  Of course, being me, I managed to twist my ankle within 30 seconds of our heat because of a pothole, but kept on running.
Pre-race dye-fun (I cannot take credit for this photo - thanks to my running buddy!)
The highlight was the little boy dressed up as Spider Man just cruising past everyone. He couldn't have been more than six years old, but was clearly loving life and bringing a smile to everyone he passed on the trail! The other highlight was a successful run free of IBS intervention - which was enough for a celebratory happy dance for me!

Hope you had a great weekend, here are this week's links ...

The Unworldly Travelers - 5 Reasons I Will Make Travel a Priority for My Kids

I absolutely love this post and agree with her wholeheartedly.  Thanks to my parents, I have been lucky enough to travel in Canada and the United States throughout my childhood.  In addition to our family trips, my parents also encouraged me to learn a second language - being Canadian I obviously learned French.   Because of this recommendation I completed two degrees in French and had the opportunity to study abroad in France where I met my American husband.  The decision to learn another language has impacted my life in so many positive ways and has instilled in me a desire to travel, to understand other cultures and to learn about culture through another language.  For this reason, I think number three on her list is my favourite and I know that these will be words to live by as I continue through life.

Everything A La Mode - Chocolate Covered Almonds

So, if I were to have an addiction, it would be chocolate (this may already be the case).  One of my favourite spots in Halifax is the Choco-Café - they carry a ton of beautiful chocolates in addition to their café menu. My favourites are the Almondos and the Rasberry Cheesecake - but honestly, I love them all.  They also have a discount for those who work in the area - score!  My most recent discovery there is their chocolate covered almonds - with cocoa dusting!  Absolutely delicious.  My only problem is that I go there far too often, so, the link I have for you today is something that you can do at home that may compare (minimally) to the wonders of the Choco-Café (if you are ever in Halifax - you must go).

A Well Traveled Woman - If Tomorrow Women Woke Up...

This is not necessarily a post, but rather, a nugget of wisdom.  I hope you enjoy.

Happy reading!


Monday, 23 September 2013

Monday Musings: Week 8

I have officially succumbed to the temptation.  I have had a gluten-filled weekend.  Honestly, I couldn't take it any more; I was dreaming of it, I was skipping meals because there was nothing I felt like eating unless it was filled with gluten.  I have had pizza, garlic fingers and baguette.  And they were all flipping-amazing.  How do I feel?  Honestly, my guts revolted on the weekend; however, I don't believe gluten is to blame.  This has been a weekend of indulgence that started with a Breaking Bad and Boardwalk Empire Friday night catch-up session, a great night turned fabulous thanks to our favourite pizza joint.  I broke at the thought of consuming a gluten-free pizza, I couldn't bring myself to do it.  So, I wildly ate cheesy dough with garlic and pineapple and tomato sauce  - and I loved it.  The weekend continued with Garlic Fest, drinks with friends and more melted cheese.

Oddly enough, today has been the calmest IBS day in recent memory.  The jury is still out as to whether or not gluten is to blame for some of my other symptoms (chronic pain, inflammation, etc.), but my suspicions suggest no.

So, away from my gluten tangent and back on topic - today's musings ...

Successful Blog - 5 (more) Apps That Make My Business Life Easier

I have been following Liz Strauss since I joined Twitter, I often find great posts on her blog and valuable content through her Twitter feed.  This particular post features useful apps for your professional life. Since reading this post I have been trying out Sunrise Calendar and 30/30.  I find myself putting more into the calendar just to see if those cute little icons pop up!

The Sartorialist - On the Street - Astor Place, New York

I joined Bloglovin' a few months back and have found tons of new-to-me blogs, this being one of them.  The clotheshorse in me is drawn to Scott Schuman's images.  This one I really loved, both for the outfit and for the story behind the woman.  This image left me wondering who she was talking to and whether or not she had any idea she was being photographed.

theKitchn (Apartment Therapy) - 5 Very Real, Very Sad Lunches from Sad Desk Lunch

This post is just plain hilarious - I could not believe some of these - mainly the fries and bourbon - lunch of champions!  This was my laugh of the day and hopefully yours!

Monday, 16 September 2013

Monday Musings: Week 7

This week's post got sidelined for a little bit thanks to the Houdini move my lovely fur baby pulled when I let him out to pee earlier this evening.  It ended with a chase scene (and an unindentified brown object flopping out of his mouth) through the woods, accompanied by expletives that I can only hope the neighbourhood children did not hear.  This was followed by an early departure on my part for my tea date and his early entry into his crate - no treat for him.  As I write this he is trying to eat the zipper on my jacket and all I can think about are the germs floating around his mouth from that unidentified brown object.
He's lucky he's cute!
So, to re-focus this post, I thought I would share a few successes and failures from my recent musings.  I tried two recipes from last week's Monday Musings - the Almond Snack Bars and the Brown Rice Cranberry Chews from The Brunette Bit.  The verdict?  I will definitely be making these again!  Of course, I had to alter them a little bit because I have a condition and cannot help but change perfectly good recipes.  I did give the Chocolate Avocado Pudding a whirl from week 2, but did not love it; however, not wanting to waste it I added it to my morning protein smoothie and it was a raging success!  

I also spray painted my Ikea Marius Stool a beautiful aqua colour - I wanted to use the hack I linked to on week 3 of this series, but could not find a round swing plate, so I just went colour crazy and am glad I did!

Gluten Free On A Shoestring - Old Fashioned Gluten Free Cornbread

This link stems from my gluten-free experience thus far.  It centers around my desire to find a suitable bread substitute.  I have tried many, but they all end in stronger longings for a baguette.  I am completely weirded out by the flour substitutions in gluten-free bread and baking recipes - I have no interest in buying several different kinds of flour and combining them into some sort of mess that somewhat resembles bread - but really doesn't.  So, any baking I have done focuses on almond meal or something completely flour-free.  In the end, I just want to be able to find a way to eat a proper piece of garlic bread.  I really need garlic bread. Not quite sure how much longer I will stay on this, I have not noticed a difference in my IBS or my possible fibromyalgia.  For this reason, if I introduce it back in and there is no terrible reaction then I will be gluten all the way - bring on lovely, fluffy white bread.  Can you tell I have a slight fixation?

Manger - Market Days

Mimi pens a beautiful blog with stunning photographs that tell the tale of her life in Médoc, France. Not only does she have delicious-looking recipes, her posts about life in Médoc transport you into her world.  Personally, this made me long for Angers, France where I studied for a year and met my husband.  We have only been back once since, but dream of owning a home there and living the life eating fresh produce, drinking wine and generally basking in the French language and French culture.  Mimi was able to bring me there, if only for a few minutes.

Lifescoop - 5 Awesome Apps to Help Revamp Your Home Decor

We are currently obsessed with trying to pull the house together - fixing things and placing furniture, trying to figure out how to make it our own without spending a small fortune.  This article definitely caught my eye; it looks like there are a few in there that even my husband will use!

Monday, 9 September 2013

Monday Musings: Week 6

I am really exciting about the links this week.  There should be something for everyone, from education to fitness and of course, for the foodie.

The Brunette Bit - 5 Healthy Snack Recipes for Any Girl

I have been searching high and low for a recipe I used back in March.  It was a healthier version of rice crispie squares - they were so good that you really didn't miss the marshmallows!  So, after copious amounts of Google searching, I happened upon this post and think that her brown rice and cranberry chews are as close as I will find to that elusive recipe.  I cannot wait to test it out to see if it is similar.  I am also dreaming about those almond snack bars and the nut mix.  The good thing is - most of these are gluten-free!

Common Cents Mom - Get a Free Education at Some of the World's Best Schools

I absolutely love this blog and always find her posts quite useful.  I have always loved school, so much so that I haven't stopped taking classes, even after completing two degrees!  I am currently pursuing a diploma in public relations through Ryerson University.  So, the idea of taking classes from Harvard without the shock to my wallet - well, it got me really excited!

Bikini Body Mommy - Stretching, the Foam Roller, and Performing SMR

I am not overly familiar with this blog, but the author has been able to complete an incredible weight-loss transformation.  This blog is filled with daily workouts, recipes and personal accounts. The post I am sharing with you today is about foam rolling - I am sure many of you have a love-hate relationship with the foam roller (I certainly do!); however, it can be extremely beneficial.  For those of you who have not yet tried this, it can be really helpful.  This post shows a few good moves to target some of the more painful areas (IT bands! ouch!).

Monday, 2 September 2013

Monday Musings: Week 5

I have made a few changes over the past week that have affected some of my link selections below.  The first change is that I am giving a gluten-free diet a whirl.  I would love to see a day when I don't have to buy Costco-sized toilet paper, or a time when I don't have to see my massage therapist every two weeks without fail.  On Tuesday I will be one week gluten-free and I have to say - I am jonesing for some wheat like I have never jonesed before.  I am dreaming of a huge slab of white bread from Smith's Bakery with tons of melted butter and homemade jam and peanut butter. However, I have not yet broken, so will keep at this for a month to see if I notice any difference.

In addition, I am giving running another chance.  I have rebuilt the muscles in my legs with spin class three times a week over the past eight months or so and am aiming to do the Run or Dye 5k challenge at the end of September.  This will be the third race I have registered for, but I am hoping to not be injured for this one so that I can actually run.  I have done two runs this week, one of which was a treadmill run at slightly under 4k and another 5.5k pavement run.  I took precautionary measures and iced my knees after each run and have had luck so far.  Fingers crossed this will continue!

Popsugar - 400 Calorie Tush-Toning Interval Workout

In honour of the re-introduction of running into my life, I am aiming to tackle this workout later this week.

Centsational Girl - DIY Personalized Notecards

I have a great love for stationery.  I obsess over letterpress, lined envelopes, 100% cotton notecards, envelope seals, monograms and more.  I love the idea of being able to create a notecard to my own specifications.  For times when I feel the need to indulge, my go-to source is Erika Firm at Delphine - she is brilliant and her work is top-notch - particularly the letterpress.

Oh She Glows - Quick 'n Easy No-Bake Protein Bars

My cravings for wheat have me dreaming of not only bread, but pretty much any type of pastry or baked good.  This looks like a viable option that contains two of my non-wheat favourite things in life - peanut butter and chocolate!

Sprinkle of Glitter - Baby Glitter at 2 Years

This is just too cute for words, I had to add it in!  I love the "loves" section, it made me smile!