Fitness Friday – Gear Haul

So in my Christmas haul post two weeks ago I neglected to include the new workout gear I received from Matt’s parents but with good reason! I wanted to highlight the workout stuff separately in a Fitness Friday post so I could show off the gear I’m using this year since I’m passing up on the gym since the one in my building should be done in a month or two.

At my previous gym I spent a lot of time in the workout studio whenever there weren’t classes going on because it was a quieter place where I could workout without feeling like I was being watched (and judged). The mirrors made it easier to correct my form and to motivate myself. Luckily for me, my front closet has mirrored doors that are right in front of where I workout so I had that part covered from the start. That just meant that I needed the equipment I was using in the studio.

And that’s just what I got for Christmas!

The workout mat is something I already had (it’s actually Matt’s) and is absolutely necessary because I tried working out on my area rug and ended up with rug burn on my knees and elbows, not pleasant!

The dumbbells are replacing the yoga weights I was using at the gym. The red ones are 2 pounds each, and the green ones are 4 pounds. After a while I plan on investing in some 10 pound weights but for now I’m just trying to build my strength back up to where it was last year when I was still going to the gym. Today was arm day and circuits with the 4 pounds was more than enough to leave me shaky so I’ll stick with them for now and use the 2 pounds on full body day.

I’m excited to add these into my workouts to add some resistance and to help me tone up my arms again.

Secondly, the 8 pound medicine ball is replacing the sand balls I was using at the gym. The textured rubber of this ball makes it easy to grip, even when you’re hands are shaking and you’re a little sweaty (a.k.a. me during my core workout yesterday). Core is one of my strong spots so this ball is going to make me fight harder and build myself up even more!

So that’s it. That’s all I’m using, that and a good pair of running shoes, a crappy Brock University water bottle, and all the nifty free workout videos I can find online. I miss having access to all the machines at the gym but for now I’m going to make this work for me!

What gear are you using this year to workout? If you ever have any suggestions on videos, gear, or other resources to check out please leave a comment below! I’m always interested in checking out new things that will help me stay on this healthy path.

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Tasty Tuesday – Captain’s Boil

So this week’s Tasty Tuesday is a double feature. I really wanted to get to my healthy eating by showing you my meal prep but I also couldn’t resist showing off our girls’ trip to The Captain’s Boil.

This year for Christmas rather than exchanging gifts, my girlfriends and I planned a day in the city to see Potted Potter at the Panasonic Theatre. The show was hilarious and I seriously suggest checking it out if it comes to a theatre near you, whether or not your a Potterhead.

Anyway, onto the food!

The board game cafe that we planned on going to didn’t open until 2 and since the show got out around 1 we decided to look for somewhere else to eat. Walking down Yonge street I recognized The Captain’s Boil sign from some of the typical Top 10 blog posts about Toronto eats. I’d never been before but I’d heard good things so after checking out the menu outside and being urged to go in by a wonderful young woman who had just come out we decided to check it out.

The restaurant looks pretty classy, as one would expect a seafood place to be. I love nautical aesthetic as much as I love seafood so immediately I was in a new happy place. Still, I wasn’t expecting this place to be quite as great as it was.

We were led to a table where we were surprised to find bibs and plastic gloves waiting for us. After a look around at other tables we noticed people didn’t have plates or cutlery. No big deal, we’re Medieval Times veterans (we’ve been over 5 times) eating with our hands is not a problem!

After getting an explanation of the menu from our waitress we decided to order together so we could try as much as possible. When you order you choose your catch (which type of seafood you want), your flavour (cajun, lemon pepper, garlic, or captain’s boil which is all three flavours mixed together), and then you choose your heat. We did all of ours in mild since the waitress warned us that their spices are a little spicier than average.

We ordered a pound of oysters and a pound of shrimp in mild captain’s boil, a full lobster in mild garlic, an order of cajun fries, and a piece of corn on the cob for each of us (they came boiled with the oysters).

We suited up in our bibs and our gloves, ready to see what the adventure would bring.



The shrimp showed up first. We were all a little stunned when she just dropped off the plastic bag full of shrimp in a flavourful boil. They were extremely hot and hard to peel without burning your fingers at first. A smart (and less hungry) group of girls would’ve waited and let them cool down but of course we risked our fingers and tore into them anyway. They were on the larger side, extremely meaty and wonderfully flavourful.

Next came the oysters and the corn on the cob. The corn was honestly a highlight of the whole experience because it had soaked up all the flavour from the captain’s boil and was so juicy! The oysters were large and tasty as well.

At this point my gloved hands were covered in the delicious sauce and taking pictures became impossible, especially after I volunteered to dissect the lobster. To my surprise it was actually really good, one of the better ones I’ve had outside of the east coast but not quite as good as the lobster sandwich you get at Buster’s Cove at the St. Lawrence Market. I am considered the seafood expert amongst my friends because of my East Coast roots, and when I’m pleased with seafood (especially lobster) it’s usually a pretty good sign that the place is solid.

I’m really disappointed I didn’t take a picture of the fries because I swear I will be having dreams about their perfect crispiness for weeks. They had a light cajun dusting on them but we quickly discovered they were best dipped in the remaining captain’s boil sauce.

After the bill was split between the four of us and I tacked on a tip the lunch only cost me around $25 which was a steal for how much we got and the quality of food we were eating. Also, given the way the table looked afterwards, I’d say we enjoyed ourselves.

At the end of the meal we were incredibly stuffed, even though it really didn’t look like that much food. Regardless, it was amazing and if you end up anywhere near this place or one of the other locations I suggest going in!

If you’re from the Toronto area or have just been around before and have any suggestions on where I should try next please leave a suggestion in the comments, I’m always looking for new places to check out!

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Tasty Tuesday – Getting Back to Meal Prep

So we’ve finally reached a Tasty Tuesday where I can show you all the good things I’m going to be putting in my body. Now that the holidays are over I am starting completely fresh! That means it’s time for meal prep.

Despite the fact that I am currently unemployed and am home almost every day of the week, I still find it useful to do all my cooking at once. It helps me track my eating, and it allows me to make sure that food doesn’t go to waste. Plus, it keeps Matt out of the cafeteria at his work which not only keeps him eating healthier but also saves us a few dollars.

We picked up all our groceries last week when we grabbed the food for our New Years Eve party and today I finally had the time and energy to do something with it.

My shopping list for this week’s meals was:

From these ingredient I had four different meals planned:

  • Jalapeño Chicken and Veggies
  • Tandoori Pork Chops and Veggies
  • Haddock and Veggies
  • Beef Soup

The fish and the chicken may seem like cheating because they’re frozen but I usually try to have a couple ‘easy’ parts to my meals to cut down on cooking time. Since both of these were on sale and they’re fairly healthy it was a no brainer. Plus, I’m addicted to the No Name stuffed chickens and just one of them with some veggies is enough to fill me up.

I started with the soup since it was going in the crockpot. I am a ‘throw everything in a pot and hope it works out’ kind of cook. I don’t care for recipes and won’t use one unless I’m really desperate or trying something I’ve never made before. I threw in the stewing beef, canned green beans, corn, carrots, 1 red potato, 1 sweet potato, 1 parsnip, the can of beef broth and some water. Afterwards I realized I also had barley so I threw some of that in as well.

The soup should have been done 4-6 hours after the fact but partway through cooking I realized I hadn’t plugged the crockpot in properly so it was the last thing to finish. Oops!

While the stew was not cooking I threw the chicken and fish into the oven while I began working on the veggies. I tend to roast most of my veggies in a light amount of extra virgin olive oil and some sort of seasoning. Most of the time I use summer savoury, it gives the veggies a nice flavour without the use of any salt.

I used the summer savoury over a mix of carrots, potatoes, parsnip, and brussel sprouts, while I tossed the asparagus in some oil and parmesan cheese. I didn’t season the acorn squash at all, mainly because what I usually do is glaze it with butter and yellow sugar but I decided to skip that part to keep things healthier.

Partway through cooking I realized I had far too much food pulled out so I put back one of the sweet potatoes and some of the carrots which I will roast later on in the week with the butternut squash I still have in the fridge.

Lastly, I covered the pork chops in Suraj Tandoori Masala spice. I’m a huge fan on Indian flavours, and while I’d much rather go downtown and find a good Indian restaurant to eat at, having this tandoori masala spice on hand allows me to get my feel of flavourful heat while at home.

At the end of it all I had 4 takeaway meals for both Matt and I, in addition to a large crockpot of soup (which yielded 3 meals for both of us plus 2 small containers to freeze). I added some rice meals to his so he would have a bit more carb to fill him up since he’s a lot bigger than me.

This, along with all the fresh fruit, vegetables, deli meat, and assorted cheeses in the fridge will get me through the week clean and healthy. Now all I have to do is keep up with my workouts, avoid cheating (except for popcorn on Saturday), and drink lots of water! Challenge accepted.

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Cheese Boards, Boardgames and some Explosions in the Sky – Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

This year I was in charge of the New Years Eve party, or as I called it the ‘Thank God it’s Over’ party. In general, I get a little over-excited when I have an event or outing planned so I tend to get things organized way ahead of time. On Thursday we went out and got a boatload of food (my last unhealthy grocery shop), cleaned the apartment, and made a pretty hilarious playlist consisting of top 40 hits and a lot of blasts from the past. Additionally, I meticulously organized and re-organized what little counter space we have so all the platters would fit, put together the beverage dispenser so it would be ready for the punch, and got all the cutlery and plates out of the plastic wrap. In short: I was super prepared.

The menu of munchies was a total hit, aside from the crackers which were sorely neglected until the end of the evening. I will admit, I kind of screwed up a little bit (surprise!) and didn’t have everything ready all at once so we sort of ate in stages but no one minded (or at least they were nice enough not to complain). Because I was running around cooking different things I missed out on taking pictures of everything which is really a bummer because the tater tots were fantastic.

The whole menu was this:

Garlic Bread with cheese*
Tater tots with cheese*
Nachos and dip
Assorted cheeses*, crackers and meat
Veggies and dip (had to get the healthy in there somehow)
Devilled Eggs
Meatballs in Diana Sauce

*I have about 5 different types of cheese in my house at any given time so it’s really no surprise so many things involved cheese

Matt also made Golden Graham Squares for dessert which were eaten long before I could steal the camera out of the photo booth to snap a pic.

While this evening (once again) didn’t exactly promote my physical health, it was definitely a good night for my mental health. I haven’t really had the chance to make many friends in the city yet which means most of my friends are up north (and one inconveniently lives all the way in New York City). Having a bunch of friends down for the evening, even though it was kind of a hassle for them to get here (sorry guys!) was rejuvenating and actually had me enjoying a night that I usually just spend at home. We filled the night with pictures, laughter, and a whole lot of fun.

Rather than having everyone selfie all night long we turned our den into a photo booth complete with props and my D-SLR propped up on a bunch of boxes (wrapped to look nice). I also bought some holiday crackers for everyone, mainly because they were on sale and they were really pretty!

The holiday crackers were from Fortinos and I paid under 10 dollars for 12 of them. It ended up that we got so swept up in everything else that we forgot to open them but that’s what New Years Day is for! The props were from Ardene and I bought them on Black Friday so the whole package cost me all of 6 dollars. It was actually a bachelorette set but I just threw out the ‘Bride’ and ‘Bridesmaids’ props and kept the glasses, crowns, moustaches and martinis.

Of course before everyone got there I had to have a bit of a photoshoot for myself, even though I generally prefer being behind the camera and not in front of it. It was a special occasion of course, and it was the first chance I’ve had to wear the Ted Baker London outfit that Matt bought me for Christmas (both pieces were on sale at Nordstrom).

Our group really sucks at getting pictures together (and once again we failed to get a picture of just the 4 girls) but I was really excited to find that we had at least one of all of us by the end of the night!

Then, everything just devolved and the rest of the pictures got silly.


Since seating in our apartment is limited (we have one couch and a bunch of hightop chairs) I decided to blow up our air mattress and turn it into a little cozy corner with pillows and blankets. It was super cute but really didn’t get used that much. Oh well!

The best purchase of the night was the game “Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes”. I had heard about this game in passing months ago, checked it out but never bought it. I’m so glad I went back and found it again (especially because it was on sale)!

The basic premise of the game is that one person (or three in our case since we did teams) can see the bomb but doesn’t know how to diffuse it. The rest of the people playing have a manual that tells them how to bypass different modules on the bomb that they can’t see. So the person with the bomb has to tell the others what they are seeing and the others have to use the manual to figure out what buttons the bomb diffuser should press or which wires to cut.

If you want a bit of a more in-depth explanation you can watch their advertisement below:

I have absolutely zero pictures from us playing this game because we were all far too stressed out. There was a snapchat of it that I watched this morning and it was mainly just us yelling. It starts off really easy and as you go through the levels they make things more complicated and they throw in unexpected obstacles like turning the lights off so you can’t see the bomb or making an alarm clock ring that will legitimately make your heart stop for a moment. We diffused quite a few bombs but in the end I think we were blown up a few more times than we were not.

The game is half price for one more day for $7.49 so if you’re at all interested go grab yourself one!

After messing around in the apartment for a few hours we headed out to get downtown for the NYE celebration at Nathan Phillips Square. TTC service was free for the evening and it wasn’t busy at all when we left the apartment. We weaselled our way out onto the ice rink at Nathan Phillips Square (which I’ve never been on because I can’t skate) and waited for Walk Off The Earth to perform. By far the best moment was when they did a mash-up of songs (from Somebody That I Used to Know to My Girl) on one guitar.

They’re version of Somebody That I Used to Know on one ukele is pretty fantastic too. Check it out:

Finally we had the countdown to 2017 (good riddance 2016) and the fireworks over City Hall. I’ve been wanting to go to Nathan Phillip’s Square for NYE for a very long time and while I’m glad we went I have to admit that Toronto has been disappointing me with fireworks this year. Last year’s Cavalcade of Lights was the best fireworks display I have seen outside of Disney World, while this year Cavalcade was all of 4 minutes and the New Years Eve fireworks were about the same. Still, Toronto’s City Hall is the optimum place for a fireworks display and while it was short it was still quite beautiful.

I do apologize, there are no pictures because I was crammed in like a sardine and couldn’t get my arms up above my head to snap a shot or two. Just trust me when I say it was pretty!

After poorly belting out Auld Lang Syne, we, along with thousands of others, hurried back to the subway to get back to warmth and the comfort of our own homes. After struggling with an air mattress and devouring some chips 6 of the 8 settled into bed in our little apartment, and as per usual I was the first one to wake up.

So, what did you do for New Years?

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Fitness Friday – Why I Ditched The Scale

This healthy journey of mine didn’t just start a few weeks ago. I’ve been wanting to be healthier since I was a teenager but most attempts I have ever made to shed some pounds and to become more active have failed miserably.

The most success I ever had was almost two years ago after my mom was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. It was a wake-up call for both of us: my mom needed to get healthier to manage the diabetes, and I needed to do the same to make sure I didn’t end up getting the disease myself. We focused on portion control, being active (I had a mini meltdown in the parking lot but I joined a gym for the first time in my life) and we worked to make a difference. It worked: I lost almost 30 pounds and was more active than I’ve ever been. I challenged my body, proved to myself that I’m a lot tougher than I thought, and got to buy a whole bunch of new clothes as my old ones became too big.

Moving away from home definitely made it a little too easy to fall off track. I was no longer going to the gym because there wasn’t one conveniently located near my new house and I no longer had access to a car to get me to one. My new job left me exhausted some days and it resulted in too many nights of ordering pizza, grabbing snacks from the nearby convenient store, and taking advantage of the 20% discount on theme park food (too many funnel cakes).

I have definitely put some weight back on, my clothes are a little tight and there’s some chubbiness back in my cheeks. There’s no denying it. But I’ve decided I’m not going to step back onto the scale, not for a while at least.

Here’s why:

1. Weight isn’t everything.

I have obsessed over that number on the scale many, many times. Whenever there is a scale in my home you will find me on it multiple times a week, desperate to see change. That’s just not how it works. Some weeks you’ll have losses and other weeks you will maintain or even gain for a various number of reasons (muscle gain, sickness, menstruation, etc.).

2. My emotional reactions to the scale mess with my progress.

I am the type of person that will step on the scale and that split second moment will determine the rest of my week. If I have lost weight I will stay on track because I see that all my hard work was paying off. But if I have gained weight I will often give up and binge or I will try to starve myself a bit that week which is equally unhealthy as the binging. I am an emotional person and the scale messes with my emotions too much to be productive.

3. Weight looks different on everyone.

Knowing my exact weight often makes me compare myself to others who I think are the same weight as me. I wonder why my stomach isn’t flatter, why my arms aren’t smoother, and why I can’t fit into the same clothes as them. Those comparisons were always harmful to me, they didn’t challenge me to become better but instead they made me lose hope. “I’ll never look like her” was something that ran through my mind often and it really defeated me.

I’m determined not to let anything stop me this time.

I know this is not the right choice for everyone. The scale can be a beneficial tool in tracking your progress and I am in no way shaming anyone who is tracking their weight. I just know it doesn’t work with the way I think. So I’ve decided to try something different: I’m going to track everything I put into my body (my meals) and everything I do with it (my workouts). In addition to this on the first of every month I will be taking progress pictures so I can see how my body has changed instead of just relying on a number to tell me it has.

Becoming healthier is all about finding what works for you. Fitness and health are not a one size fits all kind of thing so you have to explore a bit. That’s what I’m doing.

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Tasty Tuesday – Sushi Date

It’s time to introduce another reoccurring weekly post to Her Story Continued and that is “Tasty Tuesdays”. Food is an even bigger part of my healthy journey than fitness is for two reasons: a healthy diet is a big part of building a healthy body, and because I just freaking love food!

I will warn you Tasty Tuesday will not only consist of well-balanced meals, epic food preps, and healthy spins on comfort food but it was also include some of those good ole cheat days. I’m a foodie and I will always be a foodie no matter what size my jeans are or what number is on the scale. Cutting unhealthy foods out completely would only make me miserable and this journey is not just about being physically healthy but mentally healthy as well.

Before heading back to Toronto we decided to check out Sakana House in my hometown of Barrie. Sushi and I have a complicated relationship. The first few times I actually went for sushi I had a bad reaction where my throat closed up. I’ve never really figured out what caused it; I personally blame the avocado but that’s just because I hate avocado. Regardless, the reaction was enough to steer me away from sushi for a while which was a bummer because sushi was a big hit amongst my friends in University.

After some time I tried a few pieces here and there, and thankfully there were no more bad reactions. I’ve only been to one sushi place in Barrie and to be honest I don’t really remember anything about it. We decided to try somewhere new and since there were lots of rave reviews about Sakana online and at $14.99 per person for all-you-can-eat, it’s one of the best priced sushi places in town.

Onto the actual tasty part. I won’t lie, I personally like the appetizer part of sushi better than the sushi itself but that probably has a lot to do with things being deep-fried. Sakana’s menu is a little intimidating in my opinion because it’s all over the place but once you take a minute it’s not so complicated.

We all decided to just order together so we could try a bunch of different things. I’m not even sure what we ordered the first time around since it all came out kind of randomly but I ended up figuring a couple things out and taking some notes so I could share my thoughts.

First of all, the whole reason we picked this place was because it had mango sushi. I’m a huge fan of mango, I find it extremely refreshing and on sushi it’s just magical. The mango roll pictured in the centre was the “Mango Crab Meat Roll” which was just one of three mango rolls we tried. My favourite was the vegetarian option that had cream cheese instead of fish.

Pictured on the left is the “Spicy Tuna Roll” and on the right was the “Cowboy Roll”. The Spicy Tuna was your typical tempura / fish sushi roll, nothing special in my opinion but still tasty. The Cowboy Roll was more interesting: it was full of beef and green onions and it tasted a little like a hamburger! Different and delicious!

Pictured on the right is the “Curry Chicken Don” which was just sticky rice with potatoes, tempura chicken and curry sauce. It wasn’t entirely aesthetically pleasing nor was it a very complicated dish but the flavour was awesome. It had a little bit of spice but not too much. Between this, the sushi, and the deep fried chicken plates we tried (left to right: General Tao, Kung Po with Peanuts, and Sweet and Sour) I satisfied cravings for sushi, Chinese food, and Indian all in one place.

What happened next was a little funny: we weren’t really keeping track of what was coming to the table but I was sure we didn’t order quite as much as we were getting. That’s when my mom and I realized that the man beside us had been waiting for his order a lot longer than everyone else in the restaurant. The wait staff checked in on him and he told them he was still waiting on his order. When plate finally came out they were the exact same as what is pictured below. Seems like we got his food, oops!

What was great about this mix-up for us is the fact that the Dynamite Roll (pictured above), which we most definitely did not order, was a favourite of the table. I loved that it was still hot after being dropped in the deep frier, especially because that completely took away the gross texture of the avocado.

The dessert section was nothing to brag about, just ice cream and pudding, but we did order some tempura bananas and they were really good. I enjoyed the mango pudding (centre) but it was a weird consistency: it was somewhere between a jello and a pudding.

Overall, I was really happy with Sakana House and have now told my friends back home to check it out when they have the time. My mom liked it more than the regular sushi place she goes to, even if it was a bit out of the way for us. It was a good meal, maybe not the healthiest… okay, definitely not the healthiest but it was a nice way to end all the holiday celebrations. Now it’s time to get back into the groove of things and take it easy on the bad eats.

Are you a sushi fan? I really need suggestions of different rolls to try since I usually play it safe. What’s your favourite roll?

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A Very Merry Miller Christmas

It’s my favourite holiday! Or really, it’s my favourite month. Christmas music, baked goods, and getting some quality time with the family is always something that makes me feel a little more like myself. I might not eat the best over the holidays but I do usually end up on a very good diet of friends, family, and a whole lot of love. Sometimes that’s just the kind of health that you need.

My family is pretty big on gift giving, not because we have a ton of money or because we want to show off but because we like treating each other when we can. It’s cliche but it’s so much more about the happiness you bring to someone by giving a gift than receiving one in return.

That being said, I do want to write a bit about the gifts I did receive because quite a few of them are going to help me become healthier and happier. And who knows, maybe you’ll see something and want to pick it up for yourself on Boxing Day!

The hobby that really drove me towards starting this blog in the first place is bullet journalling. I do not have the best handwriting, though I’ve been told a couple times it’s ‘cute’ and by that I think people mean it’s a little juvenile but legible. Still, I find bullet journalling is a good way to keep track of my meals, my workouts, and just my general schedule. I’ve used it to plan dates, track my Christmas shopping, and I just find it a really relaxing way to organize yourself.

I gave the really vague request of stationary and ended up with some pretty wicked letterhead paper, a beautiful fountain pen, and linen business paper which is supposedly pretty good for fountain pens. I’m planning on using these to draft out some of my future blog posts and to set a schedule for myself.

As I post more you’ll get to see that books are one of my happy places. I lost my love of reading for a little while when I was in University. I know I’m not the only one who had gone through this issue; it can be hard to pick up a book for pleasure when you are assigned dozens of readings every week. I was so overwhelmed with reading articles and textbooks that I found it hard to focus on my personal books.

Since graduating I have tried to get back into reading. I was kind of surprised by how tough it actually was at first. I found my gateway back into reading was actually children’s books. I binge read the first two books of the His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman and that got me right back into the flow of things.

In general I read a lot of Young Adult books, particularly ones with magic. My friends pushed me towards Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen this past summer and I blasted through the first book within a couple of days. The story mixes a dystopian narrative with a medieval setting. You have an imperfect heroine in Queen Kelsea who is not the typical every woman but instead will likely get on your nerves quite often. She’s a solid heroine to follow, and the cast of supporting characters is equally as interesting and wonderfully flawed.

Now, I’m excited to dive into the final instalment of this trilogy “Fate of the Tearling”. It’s the first book on my to-read list for the new year.

Finally, my go to self-care routine involves a warm bubble bath. This was a real problem in the past year since my last apartment only had a stand-alone shower but the new place has the best built bathtub I have ever been in. It’s an off week if I’m not in there reading at least 3 times.

Now, I will admit I never really understood the whole obsession with LUSH until a couple months ago when I bought myself one of their bubble bars. These things are awesome! I prefer them over bath bombs because they are multi-use so I get more bubbles for my buck.

The one that looks like a little milk bottle is “Milky Bath” and it’s the first bar I ever tried. It smells like fresh laundry! I can generally get 3-4 baths out of this bar. You just crumble a bit under running water and it fills the bath with lovely smelling bubbles!

The other two bars I received are “Santasaurus” and “Jester” which are both conveniently on sticks so you don’t have to break pieces off. Instead you just run them under the tap. I’ve had Santasaurus before and got 5 baths out of the bar which I think it a really good deal for the price you pay.

When I take my bubble baths I always find it a little more magical to have a candle lit. I received three of the Bath and Body Works three wick candles which I admittedly go through like a mad woman. This year I ended up with “‘Tis the season”, “Hot Apple Toddy”, and “Flannel”. ‘Tis the season is definitely my favourite, it smells just like the pie scent they spray into the audience at Disney World’s Philharmagic and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

So that’s my little self-care Christmas haul. I’m feeling incredibly loved and definitely spoiled.

So how is your Christmas going? Are you stuffed with baked goods and egg nog yet? It’s time for me to run off for the big family get together but I’d love to hear how you’re enjoying the holidays, whether you celebrate or not!


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Fitness Friday – Fitness Marshall

To help me keep on track with my workouts I will be writing posts every Friday for what I’m going to call “Fitness Friday”. These posts will, as the name suggests, centre around fitness in some way. It could be a review of the equipment I’m using, a look back at my workouts for that week, or like today’s post it could be a highlight of a fitness program / guru that I love.

To start things off I have to highlight my personal favourite way to get through my cardio workouts: The Fitness Marshall.

Fitness Marshall is run by Caleb Marshall and his fabulous “Backup Booty” team. Caleb choreographs cardio hip hop routines to hit songs that are easy to follow and an awesome way to get you breathing harder. What sets these videos apart from other hip hop cardio videos in my opinion are Caleb’s theatrics. He’s such a bright and positive personality that I often find myself forgetting that I am even working out because I’m blinded by his sunshine.

I first came across Fitness Marshall this past summer while scrolling through Facebook. The workout video for Meghan Trainor’s “Me Too” had popped up on my feed as yet another viral video that demanded to be watched while I was avoiding doing housework.

Honestly, even if you’re not in the mood to workout right now this video is great just to sit back and watch. Just don’t be surprised if you end up walking around shouting “Take it to church!” at people.

What really drew me to this video was the inclusion of a plus-sized backup booty (if someone knows her name please tell me!). I was too used to seeing workout dance videos consisting of perfectly fit instructors and backup dancers with shredded abs and not an ounce of fat to sweat of. There’s nothing wrong with any of that but for me representation definitely matters. I saw myself in this plus-size woman, and I was inspired by her ability to nail the choreography just as well as Caleb and Haley.

A couple nights after watching the video I went back to it and actually tried it out. I should tell you: I have no rhythm. I can handle learning basic choreography but 9 times out of 10 the execution is not pretty. This is why I’ve never tried Zumba. I found that this felt different! You don’t have to hit the beat, you just keep moving and doing your best. And you’re bound to burn some calories just from laughing.

After showing the video to some friends and getting some positive feedback about it I decided to give more of Caleb’s videos a try. I started by just picking songs I recognized which was great until I tried Fergie’s “London Bridge”. I got my ass kicked by this song the first time and ended up sitting on the floor trying to catch my breath but I have since figured it out (well, kind of).

The Fitness Marshall youtube is conveniently organized into three playlist categories: warm ups, cool downs, and main workout. This allows you to customize your workout by selecting your own mix of videos. When I started I was doing 4 or 5 videos at a time but now that my cardio has improved I can do a full 30-40 workout with about 10 videos.

I recommend creating a playlist of your favourite ones and organizing it in a way that works for you. I personally like to start with some of the slower numbers and then work my way into the fast songs. I try to do two songs that I consider difficult back to back and then put an easier song in so I can have a little break. The best part of the videos being hosted by Youtube is that those annoying random advertisements actually give you 10 seconds to grab your water and catch your breath.

Fitness Marshall also does a workout of the week aka “The Sweat Set”. This is a playlist of 11-12 songs that were pre-picked for a total cardio workout. So far I have found they are structured to have songs to make a warm-up and a cool down which makes it incredibly convenient, though I still recommend some static stretching at the end. They aren’t kidding about the sweat part, I’ve come out of these playlists drenched but feeling energized and good about myself. I suppose that’s why Caleb uses the phrase “sweat yourself sexy”. The only complaint I have is how time consuming doing this set can be, it’s not convenient for when I just want a quick workout.

Following The Fitness Marshall on Instagram is the easiest way to get updates on new videos and to just follow Caleb and the Backup Booties enjoying life and dancing their hearts out. They also tour to do their workouts live so if you’re lucky and interested you could actually go attend one of their shows! I’m hoping the next time he wanders up to Canada I’ll peck up enough courage to show my dance moves off in public.

If you try out any of the videos let me know what you think! For now, I’ll leave you with one of my favourites:

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They said write anything…

I have considered myself a writer for a long time now. It started with creative stories in elementary school, then I tried my hand at playwriting in high school, and now at any given time I have 5 – 10 documents on my computer that suggest I’d like to have a book published someday (if I ever manage to finish one).

But I have never written a blog before.

Sure, I’ve had my fair share of success on Tumblr but that was a whole lot more reblogging gif sets, posting graphics, and occasionally whining about my homework than it ever was blogging. I made it past the sign up page on blog platforms a number of times but this is the first time I have made it past selecting a layout. So it’s the first time I’ve ever written anything for a blog.

Lets hope I get this right.

What I have to share is a whole lot of lessons on learning to love yourself, coming back from the bad days, and enjoying the hell out of the good ones. I’m hoping to help my readers learn a thing or two (even if it’s just where to go for dinner) and I’m expecting to learn even more myself.

As I fight to become healthier, both physically and mentally, I’d like to share what I find. That means meal prep, recipes, and reviews of fitness programs and videos. But it also means sharing my city adventures, reviewing books and movies, blabbing on about my Netflix binges, and just sharing my life, and hoping my readers will share some of theirs in return.

I’m in a place where almost every day is a new adventure; I’m living in a new city, looking for a new job (with no idea what I want to do), and trying to piece together a new me from the bits of the old I like and the parts of the woman I’d like to be.

So I guess this is my story continued.

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