Day 2…

Ok,  this is just a fly by post. I just had to say that everything I have eaten today has been delicious. My meal plan today:

Breakfast: Greek yogurt with raspberries,  blueberries and granola
Snack: coffee with shakeology and almond milk
Lunch: mixed green salad with cherry tomatoes,  grilled chicken, and chunks of baked sweet potato. Homemade Balsamic vinegar dressing.
Snack: Kiwi. Red pepper strips with hummus
Dinner: veggie stir fry with steak
Snack: veggies and fruit

Get. In. Mah. Belleh!

21 Days

Anyone who has know me for at least a couple of months knows that I am a joiner. I loooove joining and starting things. I love the excitement of starting something new and the hope that comes from taking those first steps. Unfortunately, I am also a quitter. I have a hard time following through and sticking with any one thing. I am flighty and can talk myself into and out of anything.

With respect to my health, this means a million diets and plans started and very few carried out to the end. After having some success losing about 20lbs a couple months ago, I fainted at home and immediately quit everything. I stopped working out. I stopped using my fit bit. I stopped eating well. Of course, I very quickly gained 25lbs. The fainting, as it turns out, was a result of the medication I am on. Apparently, it’s a rare side effect of Zoloft. It’s something I am now aware of and can be more careful.

Anyway, my weight is higher than it’s ever been (pregnancy not included) and I feel gross. I have no energy. I am tired ALL THE TIME. My IBS has been flaring up like crazy and I have noticed my mood is quite low. It is time for a change. I have been talking to a few friends and have decided to try a new routine.

Enter The 21 Day Fix. I know it’s one of these fad exercise programs, but I am still going to give it a chance. What has drawn me to the Fix is that it focuses on learning healthy portions of every day foods, rather than calorie counting. It encourages eating clean and cutting out a lot of the crap that I have been living on for the last few years. I have absolutely no notion of what normal healthy portions are. This isn’t good, especially considering one of the other side effects of zoloft that I’ve been dealing with: Constant hunger. I used to eat until I was full, but that doesn’t happen any more. I wake up in the middle of the night starving. I could eat constantly if I would allow myself to do so.

So, back to the fix. Portion control is accomplished through the use of these nifty little containers.

21dayfixcontainNeat, right? It takes the guess work out of the whole process. Key for someone like me, who has absolutely no idea what they are doing. On top of eating better, there are daily workouts that are only 30 minutes. Totally do-able, even for a busy mom. So, I am going to try to document my experience with 21 Day Fix here, in the hope that it will not only keep me accountable but will force me to follow through. After all, it’s only 21 Days, right?

So, here we go.

Impressions while preparing for 21 Day Fix:

  • This is not a program for people who don’t have time or energy for planning. It took me, no word of a lie, 3+ hours to meal plan for myself and for Pat (who is participating with me, Gods bless him) for the week. It definitely takes a while to do the math and plan each day within the container limits. On the plus side, it will save me time on the day to day when it comes to figuring out what to eat and what to prepare. Most of the people that I’ve talked to about how to be successful in this program recommend taking the time to really prepare. The key is not to find yourself unsure about what to cook or not having the food in your home when you need it.
This took FOREVER

This took FOREVER

If you are interested, I can post a PDF of my meal plans. Comment and let me know!

If you are interested, I can post a PDF of my meal plans. Comment and let me know! Note that I am breast feeding pretty regularly, so I gave myself a bit of wiggle room to enjoy coffee every day and almond milk in my shake.

  • Not a cheap program. Thankfully, a highschool buddy of mine is a Beachbody Coach and was able to hook me up with the latest deal. Even still, the whole shebang, including the Beachbody Shakeology powder (I hear it works miracles and is made of unicorns and rainbows) came to about 150CAD. Add to that all the delicious food, and you are looking at a lot of $$.
  • My kitchen is now overrun with produce
  • Holy crap I have to drink a lot of water.

So, here we are. it is day 1. Wish me luck!

Review: Overtone Haircare

Most of you know that I won a makeover several months ago through our local morning news. I went from pretty drab to WAHBAM.

makeoverba

One of the issues that I’ve had since getting my hair done was finding a way to maintain the colour. Clearly, I couldn’t afford to hit a salon or else I wouldn’t have won the contest in the first place. I tried a couple of drug store colours with what seemed to be decent results:

SPLAT colour in red

SPLAT colour in red

I had a lot of issues with it. Firstly, it was super pigmented and stained everything it came in contact with. I had to take extreme care so as to not damage my house. Despite that, it faded almost immediately. Oh, and anything I touched turned red, even weeks later. Good times.

By the time I went in to deal with my absurdly grown in bangs, my hair had faded significantly. Not only that, but my stylist told me that the drugstore dye had damaged my hair badly. My poor curls were not happy. At all.

hair1So, when I came across the info-ad on the Offbeat empire about a new product called Overtone, I knew I had to try it. For those that aren’t familiar, here is what Overtone is all about:

-Hair depositing conditioner that is not only gentle on hair, but does hair good. 100% cruelty free.

-Can be used to maintain colour OR give a tint of colour. They have both a colour maintenance conditioner as well as a stronger more pigmented weekly treatment.

-Great for everything from pastels to intense extreme colour.

-The conditioner deposits a small amount of colour with every use, so you are free to wash your hair whenever you need to, in hot water if you want, without worrying about killing your colour.

I decided to splurge and buy the set in Extreme Pink to try. Here is how it went:

Naked, nursing and letting the colour soak in

Naked, nursing and letting the colour soak in

I jumped out of my shower once my hair was clean. I didn’t have gloves, so I was ready with my dye towel to save my hands. I liberally coated my locks in Go Deep in Extreme Pink and was super pleasantly surprised. It has the texture of a thick conditioner or gel, so it was really easy to manage and get full coverage. It has a super yummy mint (maybe rosemary too?) scent that I absolutely love. I hunkered down and let it soak in for a good while, nursing my little man.

Once the time was up, I hopped back in the shower and washed it out. It washed out so well. I didn’t have to scrub and stand there for a million years. When done, my hair already felt AMAZING.

While incredibly difficult to capture the colour, I was so impressed with the results! Overtone tinted my whole head of hair with a really beautiful pink. Considering I didn’t bleach or prep my hair in any way, the coverage was impressive! It was exactly what I was going for. A punch to my coloured bits, and tinting to my roots to blend them in. I love it!

hairafter1On top of everything, the colour has stayed put. I haven’t dyed my pillows or towels! Also, my scalp feels so happy. Usually, my poor skin FREAKS out with colouring, but instead my scalp and hair are feeling great. I think I may do another deep treatment this weekend to punch up the colour a bit more, just because I can.

I can’t say enough about how amazing this stuff is. If you have coloured hair and miss hot showers, or you want to play with colour without killing your hair, this stuff is for you. It’s pricey, but it seems like it’ll last a while and honestly, is worth it.

**I have not been paid or compensated in anyway for this review. I just really enjoy this product and wanted to share my experience with you.

Still in the middle

What a whirlwind life has been. The house prep has been a all consuming project. I plan on sharing some pictures with you soon as part of my UFYH series. We finally came to an agreement with the bank (who own the house we love) and have conditionally purchased it. The three conditions that we made were: 1. Home inspection 2. Financing 3. Selling our place

Yesterday was the home and septic inspection. I have to be honest and say I am overwhelmed. I still absolutely love the house, but there was more than I hoped. The place is almost 70 years old, so I shouldn’t be surprised….but we have to now sit down and really decide if we can live with what we now know.

Liam is loving the yard, especially the tractors right behind us.

Liam is loving the yard, especially the tractors right behind us.

In the mean time, we are getting all the last bit of information to the bank to get our mortgage application in, as well as finishing up all the prep to get our place listed. On top of that, I am still working in the evening a couple days a week and Pat still has classes two nights a week. I haven’t been this exhausted and stressed in such a long time. I have cut my hours down, and Pat finished his course next week, so hopefully things will mellow out a bit. I was hoping to have our home listed by now, so hopefully this delay won’t screw up our plans.

So far, we have:

-Decluttered. We have a storage unit outside full of large pieces of furniture and items that were clogging up the space

-Made some repairs

-Painted trim.

Doesn’t sound like much, but I swear it is. I have been a hermit for weeks, focusing on this place. Gods, I hope it all pays off.

Why I took the ALS Challenge

This afternoon I was checking facebook, and BLAM, there it was. A challenge to participate in the ALS Ice Bucket challenge from my sorta-kinda-sister in law/sister from another mister, Katie. I am sure everyone out there has heard of the challenge, but I will briefly explain just in case you’ve been away from the internet for the last couple weeks.

Basically, you get challenged by someone to participate. That means you have 24 hours to do so. Participation means either donating $100 to the cause, or pouring a bucket of ice water over your head. Most people, especially celebrities, have been doing both (dumping a bucket on their head and donating). The challenge has been HUGELY successful and has been raising millions of dollars for the cause as well as awareness about the disease.

Like with anything that garners that much attention, there has been some who speak against it. They have been saying that it’s just an attention seeking ridiculous act of slacktivism, it is a waste of fresh drinking water, it is a distraction from bigger problems (world issues, other diseases, etc…etc…). I have felt slightly torn on the subject (as I tend to me. I am a gemini through and through, I have no problem seeing both sides and often have a hard time cementing my own feelings on a subject).

This is my reaction: Is dumping a bucket of water on your head really that harmful? Is it that different from marathons or other fundraisers? I have participated in runs, walks, dinners, fundraisers, you name it. I worked in fundraising for both the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario as well as the Cancer Society. If anything, I think it’s absolutely brilliant that this has taken off the way it has. That it has people talking. Yes, there are lots of causes out there, lots of places you can put your money. Lots of things you can do. So, if this one doesn’t tickle your fancy, don’t participate. It is that easy.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease. People living with the disease become progressively paralyzed due to degeneration of the upper and lower motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord. Eighty per cent of people with ALS die within two to five years of diagnosis– unable to breathe or swallow. Ten per cent of those affected may live for 10 years or longer.

 

Other neurodegenerative diseases include Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. According to the World Health Organization, neurodegenerative diseases are predicted to surpass cancer as the second leading cause of death in Canada by 2040.

ALS has no known cure or effective treatment yet. For every person diagnosed with ALS, a person living with ALS dies. Approximately 2,500 – 3,000 Canadians currently live with this fatal disease.

-From “What is ALS?”, ALS Canada website.

 

Why I am taking the challenge

When I was working at the little fabrication shop in my early 20s, I met this fantastic guy who worked in the shop. He was in his early 30s, had been married for a couple of years and was super sweet. I always looked forward to interacting with him because he was one of the few guys in the shop who not only treated me with respect, but was sweet and funny. He came into work one day, absolutely beaming. I asked him what was up, and he announced he was expecting his first child. When the baby was born, he brought the baby in so that I could meet him. While his wife was pregnant, he started having issues in the shop. He was a machinist, he worked detailed work with his hands. His left hand was giving him issues. He was experiencing weakness and shaking. Time passed and it slowly got worse until he couldn’t ignore it anymore. He had a newborn baby at this point. He knew he couldn’t afford to lose his job because of some stupid hand thing.

I remember the day he had his appointment with the doctor. Everything seemed to happen so fast. It with ALS. Within a month, the paralysis had spread all along his left side. He had to leave work. We got updates for a while, and a few of the guys ran a fundraiser for the family, but then we stopped hearing how he was doing. ALS was so incredibly swift in this case.

Fast forward a few years. My Mom had this best friend, a woman named Karin. Karin met and married this amazing guy, named Scott. He reminded me SO MUCH of my Dad. My parents got along extremely well with Karin and Scott. When my Dad died, Karin and Scott really grew close to my Mom. They went “camping” together in their decked out trailers at the fancy trailer park. In fact, it was Karin who knew before anyone that my Mom was dying. It was Karin who told me to bring Mom to the hospital and, eventually, to call family to come down. Karin and Scott were there, in the room with me, when Mom passed. Karin helped me with the arrangements and supported me, initially, through the horrible family stuff that happened with the estate. Unfortunately, she just couldn’t understand my unwillingness to keep my Dad’s kids in my life. She remains in contact with them, today. I haven’t seen her since my wedding day. Both she and Scott were there.

Around the time I was married, Scott started having serious back and neck issues. He was a guard with the Commissionaires in downtown Ottawa, It was having a major impact on his job and he could no longer ignore the issues it was causing in his life. It took his doctor a while to figure it out, because of where and how the symptoms were presenting. They were so sure it was severe and sudden arthritis…it was ALS. I didn’t find out until after Karin and I had stopped speaking, but I did reach out to her. I followed their story on facebook as much as I could. In October of 2011, Scott passed away and I was absolutely heart broken.

I watched as ALS took two wonderful men from families and friends who loved them, and depended on them. I saw how quickly it took their bodies from them.

If there is anything, big or small, that I can do to help raise awareness and a bit of money to help other ALS families, you bet I’m going to do it. So, here I am. I am taking the challenge.

I challenge my co-workers at Belly Laughs and the girls at LoveCraft Gallery.

 

Taking Steps

It’s been a hard week. The news is heart breaking, with no end in sight. Police states in small town USA, Gaza, Robin Williams (a man who reminded me so much of my father and my half brother, who was a major part of my childhood. His movies were celebrated in our home.), ebola, you name it. Liam has been sick on and off as well, and I weighed in at my heaviest weight thus far in my life, excluding when I was 9 months pregnant. I have decided to do something about this heaviness in my heart (and on my bones), by focusing on the good in my life, trying to stay productive in prepping our home for sale and by attempting to make small changes to be healthy again.

I am back to calorie counting (I’m on myfitnesspal here for those who want to add me) and I am back to wearing my fitbit. Small changes, but every little bit helps, right? I’ve been able to keep a pretty positive outlook, so it seems to be working, at least a bit.

Today, Liam demanded a walk so off we went to explore the neighbourhood. The trees are starting to change colour, drop seeds and acorns, and the wind was blowing it all around us. We talked about the seasons, about the life of a tree and how the wind helps. We ran, laughs and played. The walk around the neighbourhood took us two hours as we explored. A few minutes in to our adventure, we found ourselves walking down a busy residential street towards one of the two main roads in our suburb. We were walking when a dudebro driving a minivan stopped at a stop sign across the street and decided to take the opportunity to fat shame me. He cackled and yelled as he drove away.

I stood there stunned, and poor Liam was so confused. I thought about what I should do in that moment. I looked down at myself. I was wearing my favourite pair of skinny jeans and an oversized cute sweater. I wasn’t wearing any makeup and my crazy hair was hidden away until my hat. I felt cute, damn it. My son, watching me, needed to hear something from me about what just happened. So, we kept walking while I talked to him about beauty, bullying and how what just happened said a lot more about the young man driving the van than it did about us. Liam is 2, so I don’t know how much of this he really got, but he seemed content with what I had said and kept on his way until we found a fat little caterpillar trying to cross the sidewalk, and then that took all of his attention.

I’m more ok than I thought I would be. There is a lot swirling around my head right now, but I think I’m in a good headspace. I’m not even upset. If anything, I’m sad that this sort of this seems to keep happening the second we leave our cozy little street. It seems like another push for us to get out of this part of town.

When Liam and I finally made it back home, we looked at our bounty of leaves, seeds, acorns, branches and even a birds nest. We touched them and talked and eventually went inside for lunch. It was a good day for learning, with unexpected lessons.

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