Health and Fitness 101: How I Find Motivation

Embarrassingly so, this has been my life lately. Some Ecards Yoga Pants After a few weeks of working overtime and multiple days of saying yes to baked goods, it is finally time that I come to terms with the sad fact that I haven't been to the gym in a month. The shame! For me, the hardest part of getting back into an exercise routine after a lazy spell is mustering up the motivation to start again. Usually all I need to do is get my feet into running shoes for the first time and my endorphins will do the rest to keep me going. Today isn't a gym day, but it IS the day that I get a jump start on my fitness goals. As a female in my 20s, I know how important is it to build up muscle and maintain strength. I'm building the foundation of my future self! Think of it this way: You're never going to be as young as you are right now. You're never going to have more potential to be as fit as you can be right now. And you're probably never going to be able to wear a crop top again after the trend goes away. All joking aside, now is the time to take charge of your health and showcase your beauty. I've said it before and I'll say it again--there's no shame in being confident about your body and the best way to do so is to feel good in your skin. Feb 18 Motivation It's silly, but I need to feel healthy before I can start working out again. Tricking your body into feeling this way is easy: fuel it with healthy foods! I did a huge healthy food haul at the grocery store tonight. A few smoothies and I will be ready to hit the gym. I like to load up my morning smoothies with absolutely everything: frozen fruit, orange juice, flax seeds, vanilla protein powder, greek yogurt, and chocolate chips! If I'm feeling adventurous, I'll add something green like spinach or kale. Sometimes I'll even throw a Vitamin C capsule in there for good measure. In order to hold myself accountable for my goals, I am going to share pictures of my transformation along the way. (It's like social media bikini season--the pressure is on!) I look for fitness inspiration on Instagram and Pinterest and when I see super fit girls I think "why can't that be me with the washboard abs and ridiculously toned legs?" The fact is that we can look our personal best--all it takes is a whole lot of discipline... and lacing up those runners for the first time! Feb 18 Before My fitness goal is to build up the strength that I lost over the winter months. When I was lifting weights and doing squats in the summer, I had muscle definition in my arms and a bum that made me look like I worked out. Strong is the new skinny. Time to shake the February blahs and stop making excuses! Feb 18 Gymtime Happy Tuesday everyone! I hope your day has been as bright and lovely as my Lulu tank!
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NYC Shopping Recap

GUESS WHAT EVERYONE?! I booked another trip to New York City!! 🙂 I'm so excited!! February 26th - March 3rd I'll be visiting Roger for the second time. He recently moved from the Upper West Side to Lower Manhattan, so we'll get to experience the city from an entirely different vantage point. We'll be able to see the Statue of Liberty from his 34th story window and apparently we're just steps away from the best ice cream place ever. Needless to say, I'm counting down the sleeps--just 10 more to go! This means that I have 9 days to save up for the trip, mainly so I can buy the things I left behind the first time around. A colleague told me that NYC is the #1 place for buyer's remorse; clothing stores see so much foot traffic that it's impossible to find an item again if you set it down. This might be my last jaunt to the Big Apple (at least for a while), so I don't want to regret not purchasing something that I love. I feel like such a girl for saying that. Here are a few things that I DID end up buying. Don't mind all the selfies... when your boyfriend/photographer is in another country, sometimes you have to take artistic matters into your own hands! This Rebecca Minkoff dress was 70% from Century 21. It was an impulse buy for sure, I couldn't resist the colours! Mint-green is my favourite. Feb 17 - Dress I bought a tartan kilt at a sample sale. For $10 I can justify only wearing it a handful of times. It'll make for an easy-peasy schoolgirl Halloween costume. Also, it'll be hanging in my closet if I'm feeling nostalgic for my highschool uniform. Feb 17 - Kilt I tried on this shirt before looking at the price tag... $185 for a silk tank top and that was at 50% off. I did not buy it. I do love the red though. Note to self: Find this for less. Feb 17 - Red Shirt My new Nine West shoes... I love love love them. I swear by this brand; they make very narrow shoes and they are always comfy from the get-go. I swear, I won't even need to break these in! Feb 17 - Nine West This is my slummy shirt. It's made of soft cotton, it's flowy, and it pairs well with leggings or jeans. I'm wearing it right now, I've worn it to work... quite versatile and it was only $22. Feb 17 - Stripes Last but not least, I picked up a magenta silk blouse from Aritzia. It's a wonderful date-night shirt... bright and fun and just flirty enough to boost your confidence. I've also paired it with a high-waisted skirt for work. Plus it matches my phone case--perfection! photo-453 So there you have it, a peek into my post-NY closet. Hurray for getting all items on sale or way below retail value! Wish me luck on pinching my pennies so I can add to the collection!
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Quiche with a Brown Rice Crust

Happy Sunday! (AKA my day of baking) Today I have for you a Spinach, Cheese & Broccoli Quiche with a Brown Rice Crust. It's healthy, gluten-free, and super easy to whip up with whatever ingredients you have in your fridge. This dish is best served hot any time of day--for breakfast, lunch, or dinner with a dollop of ketchup or salsa. Real men really do eat quiche, proven by the fact that my dad and two brothers gobbled it right up! Crust: 2 cups cooked brown rice 1 egg ¼ cup grated cheddar cheese Press into a 9-inch pie plate and bake @ 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 7-10 minutes, until golden brown on the edges. Filling: 4 eggs 1 cup milk (I used ½ cup milk and ½ cup cream) – You may also use soy milk. ¾ cup grated cheddar cheese ½ cup steamed broccoli flowerets ½ cup torn spinach leaves A pinch of salt & pepper 1 dash of Tabasco In a bowl, mix all ingredients and pour over rice crust. Bake @ 375 degrees Fahrenheit for an additional 30-35 minutes. Sprinkle with more cheese and serve with leafy greens. This was a last minute dinner idea for me; had I gone grocery shopping first I would have added more vegetables: sun-dried tomatoes, olives, zucchini, green onions, etc. You may also want to include more protein: cooked ham, chicken, or bacon would certainly make for a more heartier meal. Like an omelet, quiche is one of those dishes that you can literally empty your entire fridge into and still have it taste gourmet. I'm crossing my fingers that there will leftovers tomorrow. For anyone that partakes in "Meatless Mondays", I highly recommend trying out this quick and easy recipe! Feb 16 Quiche Feb 16 Brown Rice Quiche Feb 16 Quiche Cross Section Feb 16 Quiche is almost gone Bon appétit!
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Nut-free French Macarons

Feb 9 - Macarons Edit Oh how I love Lazy Sundays. No alarms, endless cups of tea, puttering around the house in your most despicable track pants... there's a dull sort of magic in a Sunday afternoon. I chose to spend my day in the kitchen blending, whipping, and folding. This week's culinary quest was the French Macaron. If you've read my previous posts, you'll know I've been aching to try one ever since my visit to New York City. The sad truth is that I will never taste a real French Macaron--they are made with almond flour and for anyone with a severe peanut/nut allergy like me, almonds will always be cut from the ingredient list. I thought I died and gone to heaven when I stumbled across the following recipe on howtocookthat.net. Ann Reardon's nut-free alternative substitutes almond flour with grated white chocolate, an ingredient which I absolutely love. I may have eaten a little too much while I was grating it. (Hence why my Lazy Sunday also involved a long dog walk.) Nut Free Macaron Ingredients 4 (140g (4.94 ounces)) egg whites 72g (2.54 ounces) caster sugar 240g (8.47 ounces) finely grated white chocolate 120g (4.23 ounces) icing sugar sifted Nut Free Macarons Directions Whisk together your egg whites and sugar until stiff, add colour if desired and whisk through. Egg whites should be stiff enough that you can turn your bowl upside down and it will not spill out of the bowl. Gently fold in your icing sugar and white chocolate. Once it is just combined continue to fold some more until some mixture dropped into the bowl very slowly melds down into the rest of the mixture. You do not want a runny mixture or your macarons will be flat. See the video for a visual example of what you are looking for. Pour the mixture into a piping bag or ziploc bag with the corner cut off and pipe circles onto non-stick baking paper. Bake at 150 degrees C for approximately 20 minutes. I like to bake on the top shelf for 15 and then move down for the last 5 – 10 as needed. Leave to cool on the paper and then carefully peel off. Pair similarly sized macrons and fill with ganache. The recipe recommended a dark chocolate and cream ganache, but I didn't feel like mixing dark and white chocolate, so I opted for a butter and icing sugar filling instead. I followed the instructions to a T and was pleased with my labour. These makeshift macarons weren't mind-blowingly amazing to bite into, but I did not expect them to be. When you're working with food allergies and substitutions, it's hard to mimic authenticity--you're never going to 100% achieve the same consistency or taste. Quite hollow were the top and base parts and the cookie crumbled easily when picked up. I imagine that could have been avoided if I made them smaller in diameter. Better luck next time! I was simply pleased to experience this French treat that resembled the real deal. They're cute, n'est pas?

Feb 9 - Ingredients

Feb 9 - Baking Feb 9 - Cookie Tray Feb 9 - Sweets in Hand Macarons
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