Weekend Wanderings: Sparkles & Love!

Those two images pretty much sum up 90% of this past weekend and I consider it time well spent. Few things make me happier in this world than sifting through piles of bric-a-brac looking for gems. In the end I scored a yellow ombre vase, a big pile of art and design magazines from the 1930s AND a dress for my bestie’s wedding in July! And for just $46 before alterations it was really the ULTIMATE diamond in the rough.

An assortment of weekend nibbles:


Kombucha samples at Anice Jewellery Boutique.

Vegan lunch at Hibiscus

 

Summer Greens in Brown Butter Vinaigrette…

…And Tempura Tuna Rolls at Cafe Belong

A perfect mix of tasty, wholesome & indulgent. 

That’s really all I ask for in weekend meals.

Despite being in Monday denial I will give you a quickie update on my 6 x 6 plan. It’s still going strong with a nice balance of walks and yoga as well as some added strength training thanks to The Fitnessista. I haven’t been getting excited by the gym lately so I am enjoying these circuit workouts, which are totally doable at home. I did her Week 1 workout twice last week and it definitely kicked my butt even without all that expensive gear around. Always love that.

Hope your weekend was equally sparkly and lovely!

Let’s do our best to keep those feelings going all week long, whaddyasay? 😉

INSPIRATION & RANDOM ACTS OF NEON

If last week felt like carefree summer in Toronto, this week felt like nose-to-the-grindstone fall. The weather turned grey and drizzly, work got busy and hectic and the city went into a bit of a miniature hibernation. Despite my love for all things hustle bustle, it is often during these downtime days/weekends/weeks that I get the most inspired creatively. Perhaps that’s why I’ve almost exclusively chosen to live in grey, rainy cities (Amsterdam/Halifax/Prague/Oviedo/etc)

20120605-104900.jpg

Here’s a little rundown of how I channeled my creative chutzpah this week…

1) DIY PROJECTS: NEON ACCENTS

Vintage Granny Chair + DAYGLOW PIPING

20120605-103723.jpg

Neutral Colourblocked Vase + SAFETY ORANGE

20120605-103800.jpg

2) SIMPLE, COLOURFUL, BALANCED MEALS

Loaded up on kombucha.

20120605-103922.jpg

Oatmeal bowls made for me and my dad (topped his with organic yogurt, mine with extra nuts and berries)

20120605-104314.jpg

Lentil hummus and roasted veggie stuffed chard wrap with a pile of squash and sweet potatoes (possibly ate half of these directly off the baking sheet) and a redundant side of greens and chopped apple for crunch.


Baked salmon served on a mountain of roasted veggies (potatoes, squash and brussel sprouts)

20120605-104408.jpg

3) YOGA x A MILLION


One of the things I’ve enjoyed so far about my 6 x 6 plan is that it has encouraged me to listen more attentively to what I actually want to do rather than mindlessly following some fitness schedule. Some days this means hauling ass to the gym in the middle of my workday to sweat like. Other days it means leaving the gym behind and going for an evening walk with my bestie and her pup.

This week my body was craving yoga almost every day and I was more than happy to oblige. Of course by early Sunday morning it became clear why I’d spent the week in stretchy/gumby/relaxation mode…

6 x 6 Update

20120605-104553.jpg
Monday: 1 hr yoga class
Tuesday: ZILCH. I had no energy all day and couldn’t put my finger on why…
Wednesday: 75 minute super sweaty gym session. Full of beans. Random.
Thursday: 1 hr walk with my pal and her pup.
Friday: 1 hr Hot Hatha Yoga.
Saturday: 30 self-led morning yoga. 30 minutes cardio LIFE (hoofing it back to the city carrying 2 gigantic bags of laundry I did at my dad’s place…cause I’m a grown-up like that)
SUNDAY – MONDAY: Surfin the Crimson Wave (TMI?). But it explained all my wacky energy changes as well as my need for serious yoga/stretching time. Both of these days I put my plan on the back burner and gave my bod the rest it needed.

I did however complete multiple sets of the following circuit workout, which I highly suggest you try:

1) Dip a big piece of banana in almond butter
2) Dip nut buttery banana in vanilla coconut yogurt
3) Dip nut buttery, vanillafied banana in brown rice crispies
4) Douse in cinnamon
5) Nommmmm…..

Repeat this circuit to tummy fatigue.

Does dreary weather inspire you to get productive or does it leave you in a funk? How are you channeling your creative energies this week?

6 x 6 Update: The Week I Walked My Keds to Shreds

So last week I made a plan to incorporate a moderate amount of physical activity into my daily life (approximately an hour, give or take) 6 days a week for the next 6 weeks. I have no rules beyond that and I am completely open to whatever form that activity takes. I’m excited to see how these “workouts” progress and change as the 6 weeks go on but here’s my rundown of Week 1

Monday: Walking, 45 mins (4.2km).

Last Monday was a holiday here in Canada and I wasn’t about to spend my day off getting sweaty in the gym but this ended up being the perfect activity to start off my plan! I ended up going to check out the UK film Stud Life at the Inside Out LGBQT Film Festival at the Bell Lightbox Theatre (the swankiest spot to catch a flick in the city when and if you get the chance) and I was so glad I did. Even when it was a little over the top it was charming & one of the characters spent the whole film wearing a green carnation. CUTE!

T’Nia Miller in Stud Life.

As I left my house I made the decision to walk rather than take the streetcar. Just a simple switch but one that allowed me get moving and enjoy the unseasonably warm evening hours we had this weekend. It also set the precedent that the next 6 weeks aren’t about strict athletic (or aesthetic) goals, but about enjoying the physical and emotional benefits of a little activity everyday!

Tuesday: Quickie Run & Mini Workout, 30 mins.

I had to pop over to gym to sign up for the membership I got for free with work (perks!). I didn’t have much time and I knew that I probably wouldn’t feel comfortable using the equipment the first time around, so I just threw on my running shoes and jogged (which for me is usually intervals of sprinting and quick walking) there and back. I did a few bodyweight excersizes on the mats when I was there too but not a whole lot. The juiceheads scared me off.

Wednesday: Stretching, Cardio & Strength, 1 hr.

This was my most conventional workout of the week. I hopped over to the gym at lunchtime and got my sweat on with a warm-up, some short intense intervals (20 mins) and then weighted squats, lunges, planks & pushups.

Thursday: Walking, 50 mins (3k +)

I thought maybe this would be my off day but after 2 afternoon walks during my coffee and lunchbreaks and meeting my friend to help him shop for clothes after work I realized I’d covered some serious pavement.

Friday: Skipping warm up & bodyweight strength training, 40 minutes.

A few minutes of skipping to warm up followed by 30 min bodyweight strength training before work using this video by Zuzka. (Note: I am not a fan of the bodyrock videos for reasons I won’t get into but I do enjoy the ones ex-bodyrocker Zuzka produces on her own now. Sure she’s a total babe and the videos are ridiculously hypersexual, but I don’t have a problem with that. I find her motivating, fun and easy to follow plus these videos are great on days you can’t make it to the gym).

Saturday: EPIC WALKING, all day (5km+)

I spent the whole morning casually strolling through the Beaches in the East end of the city, stopping along the way to enjoy some local colour (caffeine) and soak in the sunshine. Then I took public transportation all the way West to The Junction and somewhat unintentionally ended up walking back home from that neighborhood. This part of the walk alone was 4km. My legs were jelly by the end of this day.

Sunday: OFF! Grocery shopped, cooked, watched GIRLS. Aka. the essential components of life.

And that’s that!

How’d you fare?
Get in any new or unconventional workouts this week? I’d love to hear how you got movin this week!

Something old, something new!

Hey lovelies!

Even though I only just started my 6 x 6 plan I am already full of updates on how it’s been going for me and what I’ve learned so far.

1) Trying something new.

Diversity is a big part of my plan so I thought now would be a great time to talk about a new style of yoga I had the opportunity to try out earlier this month. It was called mysore yoga and it was a new-to-me practice that is actually the traditional way of learning Ashtanga yoga. Instruction is given on a person by person basis by an instructor who works with your level of strength and flexibility. You move through the poses in a set series that you learn in short pieces and memorize as you go, building on as you get stronger and more comfortable.

20120524-120835.jpg

20120524-120934.jpg

20120524-121007.jpg
The studio I practiced in was run like the pop-up shops that seem to be taking over our city, only open for a single month but tempting us with the potential for permanence down the line. The instructor David was everything you could ask for in a yoga teacher. Adorable, approachable and incredibly picky. Every breath I took and movement I made was under his watchful eye and while he wasn’t shy about corrections, never once did I feel uncomfortable or judged. I felt safe and confident, unlike those busy, intense flow yoga classes where my movements go unnoticed and I know that if I was injured no one would come out of upward dog long enough to notice. While the pop-up was short lived, it is well worth the trek north to check out Ashtanga Yoga Centre in Toronto. If you live in another city, try switching up your standard practice and giving mysore a try!

Do you stick to one kind of yoga or do you like to switch it up? I’m interested to hear which styles people prefer and why!

2) When you fuel am active lifestyle but dont have a lot of time, simplicity is key.
Sometimes I get in the habit of only posting or talking about my food when I have had the time to carefully prepare it but since so many of my meals lately are eaten on-the-go I figured it was about time I posted about those too. For example, this simple egg wrap doesn’t dirty a single pan and comes together in about 5 minutes. Lately I have been enjoying it for breakfast, lunch or dinner almost every day of the week.

The 5 minute Healthy Hipster Breakfast Wrap

Ingredients

1 brown rice tortilla
1 wedge laughing cow cheese or a spread of veganaise
1 spread of Dijon mustard
1/4 avocado, sliced
1/2 cup egg whites OR 1 whole egg & 2 whites
Sprinkle of spinach
(optional leftover roasted veggies)

Directions

Pour eggs into a microwave safe container and cook at 80% power for 3-4 mins.

While eggs are cooking prep the rest of your ingredients and remove tortilla from the freezer (heat for about 20 seconds or so to thaw)

Layer cheese or veganaise, dijon and avocado first. Top with cooked egg and spinach plus cooked veggies if using.

Wrap and place on a heated grill pan or skillet for about 2-3 minutes per side. Slice in half and serve.

20120524-120732.jpg

20120524-120746.jpg

Flaky, satisfying perfection!

What’s your go-to five minute meal?

6 x 6 SUMMER SHAKE-UP CHALLENGE!

Good morning, lovelies!

While it might look like and feel like summer outside, in my mind we’re not in the thick of it until July 1st when the temperature skyrockets and the city air turn that familiar hazy yellow. So, in anticipation of the summer months I’ve decided to embark on a new SUMMER SHAKE-UP CHALLENGE. Notice how I said SHAKE up and not SHAPE up? That’s because while I’ve borrowed the 6 week countdown idea from all those beach-body/eat-nothing-but-steamed-cauliflower-til-september workout plans, that will be as far as the similarities go.

MY COMMITMENT:

To move my CONSCIOUSLY move my bod in new and challenging ways 6 DAYS A WEEK for 6 WEEKS leading up to the summer season!

  • Time: No set time. I will aim for 60 minutes/day, but am already resigned to the fact that an hour will not always fit my schedule. If 20 minutes is all I have, it is enough and it is excellent.
  • TypeDiversity is CENTRAL to this plan. Since my body is always happiest when I am doing a mix of strength, cardio & stretching I will work on balancing these areas throughout the 6 days. I will continue with the activities I currently enjoy but try to add in some new ones for fun and variety. As it stands my plan will include a happy blend of the following:

bodyweight strength training (at home and/or at the gym)
– yoga
– HIIT style cardio in the form of sprinting and skipping (at home/outside)
– kickboxing
– freeweights (at the gym)
– sports
– walking/hiking.

FAQ:

This sounds too easy, why choose this approach as opposed to a more detailed workout schedule?

In my experience, consistency keeps me in the best physical and mental shape when it comes to my workouts. If I start getting too goal-oriented aroundexactly how much cardio I get in or how intense my workouts should be I always end up feeling disappointed and often bail on workouts out of frustration. BUT when I set flexible, attainable goalsjust a little something everydayI actually enjoy what I’m doing and the motivation to push myself naturally follows.

What do you mean by moving “CONSCIOUSLY”? I thought you said you were a “hipster” not a “hippie”!

Touche. But let me explain. We all move our bods a little bit every day but we don’t always think about these actions as contributing to our overall health or fitness. Walking around the office, making breakfast, running to the bus, etc. are all physical (Cardio LIFE as I often call it) but we overlook them because they seem mindless and incidental. On other hand, a “conscious effort” is a physical activity we participate in for no reason other than its benefit to our bodies and health. I believe that the feelings of satisfaction, self-worth and empowerment we derive from fitness are as much a result of the decision to act as they are from the action itself. So in the end it doesn’t matter whether your decision is to take the stairs to your apartment or to the top of the CN Tower, once you’ve made that decision and follow through, you’ve won. At life.

I’ll do my best to keep you posted on all the movin and shakin I’ve been doing, the eats that will be fueling all this newfound activity chutzpah & of course keep writing about other important stuff too, just to keep it all in perspective.

SO WHADDYA SAY? ANYONE ELSE WANT TO JOIN THE 6 X 6 SUMMER SHAKE UP CHALLENGE?
I’d love to have some partners in crime! 

CLICK HERE to download a printable worksheet so you can follow along and fill in your own 6 x 6 challenge updates!