Fitness and New Years Resolutions

Fitness is something that I never gave much thought to when I was growing up. I was always part of some sort of team, be it soccer, volleyball, partners tennis or even ultimate frisbee. Team sports felt more like fun activities with friends than strenuous work-outs.

Now being a 25 year old that no longer participates in team activities, I’ve realized my metabolism doesn’t appreciate the eat what you want when you want and don’t exercise diet. I don’t know if you’re like me, but it really takes me a lot to get motivated. At times I would tell myself ‘oh yea, I’m gunna start working out this week, run at least twice!’. However when it came down to it I would never actually exercise because I had nothing keeping me accountable.

This year was the first year I made New Years resolutions with 1 year, 5 year and 10 year goals. It was the first time I critically looked at what I wanted to accomplish and where I wanted to be in the future. One of those goals was to start a fitness program that kept me accountable. So I started Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide (BBG) the first week of January. The program gives you a weekly timetable of when you need to be exercising as well as different circuit exercises to perform 3 times a week. Not only is this great to keep you on a routine, it also makes you feel guilty if you miss a circuit or a day of cardio so you keep doing it! I am now on the last week of the 12 week program and feel great. I have gained muscle which is a pretty cool feeling when you can feel your muscles contracting when you run or exercise. I feel stronger and healthy and I have incorporated working out into my lifestyle. It is something that will be around for awhile (hopefully!).

Here are my week 11 progress shots. When I started this I definitely thought I would have a 6 pack by the end of 3 months, but as my friend Ray likes to remind me, fitness is a marathon not a sprint and I am happy with the results I am seeing so far.

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With the BBG it is recommended to follow a meal plan to cut out all the bad things for you including alcohol. I don’t agree with this. I agree that eventually you should tweak your diet, but I firmly believe that if you are changing too many things (diet and exercise) at the same time, you wont follow through with your goal. These past three months I haven’t changed my diet (maybe I would have a 6 pack by now if I didn’t eat that donut and ice cream bar yesterday!!) I have found this very effective as it has kept me doing the exercises as my lifestyle did not change drastically. Now that I have my exercise routine (experts say it takes 21 days of doing something for it to become a habit) I will be able to introduce a healthier diet with cutting out sugars adding healthier carbs and more protein.These next 3 months I am hoping to see the most change as now I have set a foundation.

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Now on to my favorite work out gear! Because Kayla recommends taking progress shots in the morning, and I work out at night, unfortunately none of my work out clothes are featured – but Joe Fresh work out gear is the best!

Here are some of my favorites:

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Baseball tee | Active Pants | Pink Sports Bra

xx Andrea

Vancouver Staycation

One of my favourite parts of going on vacation is enjoying the amenities and all the little luxuries that come with staying in a nice hotel. But who says you need to wait for a vacation to enjoy some five star fun? Last weekend Andrea and I planned a little ‘staycation’ right in our own city and it was SO FUN. lobby-2 We booked a suite at the Four Seasons and spent the afternoon indulging in an amazing inner peace massage in the hotels RedCedar room. Then we lounged around the room in robes (our fav) while sipping on champagne before we headed to Blo Blow Dry Bar in the hotel lobby to get our hair did for a big night out. bedroom-2   blo-2 The service at the Four Seasons was de-luxe, as you can imagine, and no one gave us grief even though we called the concierge about 100 times with all sorts of odd requests. During this visit we didn’t get a chance to eat at Yew, their in-house spot for amazing seafood and drinks, but we were able to catch lunch there a few weeks ago and it was outstanding! Andrea recommends the scallop salad and I recommend the cashew cream pasta available on their vegan lunch menu. After we were primped and polished we had a few friends up to our room where we enjoyed even more champagne before we headed out in celebration of our friends birthday. We took down the dance floor at the Met (our friends random hipster choice) but honestly they played AMAZING early 2000’s music! I was sweating profusely and completely ruined my blow out getting down to R Kellys Ignition. Naturally.

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The next morning was brunch at our favourite Cafe Medina and that wrapped up a glorious little staycation right in Vancouver!

xo

Wendy

Healthy Pita Pizza

Deciding on what to make for dinner is a daily struggle. Especially with a busy schedule containing work, school, fitness, and of course being social. This is a great recipe for an easy tasty dinner for two, or if you live alone in a studio apartment like I do, it’s dinner and then lunch the next day!

 

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As my friends know, I have a soft spot for Costco. Even though I shop for ONE, I still find it necessary to buy bulk food items. I mean who doesn’t need 100 pitas for $3.99? So now all my meals contain pitas. I need to start eating them because nothing else can fit in my freezer!!

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Homemade pizza’s are my absolute favorite and pitas make them so easy. No dough to worry about kneading, and Pita’s are the perfect size. As a kid we would have family dinners to make your own pizza’s and that was by far my favorite dinner. Not only does it let you be creative, it also gets everyone in the kitchen together. I love cooking when people are around to hang out!

This is definitely the least amount of ingredients I have EVER put on a pizza, but it is the perfect combination and tastes just as good the next day! Because it doesn’t have any tomato sauce or re-fried beans as a base the pita gets really crispy and adds a good texture, such a treat. Happy Cooking!

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Time: Preparation 12 min, baking 8-10 min

Ingredients

1 can of tuna drained (pole & line caught – sustainable 🙂 )

1 handful of organic spinach (no stems)

2 spring onions cut with scissors

1/2 cup white cheddar cheese

1/2 can chickpeas

1 tbsp (dollop) light Caesar salad dressing

2 pitas

1 tbsp EVOO (Extra virgin Olive Oil)

3 twists of ground black pepper

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425F.

In a bowl, mix tuna, chickpeas, Caesar dressing, olive oil, ½ of the green onion and all of the pepper.

Place the pitas on the baking sheet. Divide spinach among the pitas, then spread the tuna mixture over-top.

Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top of each pita and bake until cheese has melted – approx. 8 to 10 min.

Once out of the oven, garnish with remaining green onions and I like to add a bit of franks hot sauce!

voilà!

xx Andrea

Spring Fresh Lemon Orzo Soup

I cannot believe this weather we are having here in Vancouver… Wendy always says ‘if you are living in Canada and you aren’t living in Vancouver you are insane’ and with these sunny February days we’ve been having I think she is right! It’s making me anxious for bikinis, mojitos and pink floaties, but until the temperature catches up with these sunny days, some good food will have to do!

This is one of my FAVORITE soups. I find it so fulfilling and refreshing. It is perfect as we transition into spring.

IMG_4378I don’t know what it is about soup, but I find such comfort in a nice big bowl after a long day. Not only is it a quick easy meal, it is such a crowd-pleaser.

First I started by boiling a pot of 6 cups of water with 5 tbsp of chicken broth paste. I use better than bouillon for my chicken broth paste – which I think is the best. Only because I always found when I would buy chicken broth I wouldn’t use it all at one time and it would go bad. This paste lasts forever and has reduced sodium and no fat as compared to other chicken broths, and is relatively cheap. win win!

While the broth is boiling I start prepping the veggies. Fresh veggies are key!

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Ingredients

1 T grapeseed oil (better for cooking at high heat)

1 white onion, chopped – I use the slap chop!

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 carrot, roughly grated – I use a lemon zester as the grater, to get little bits

6 C water

5 tbsp chicken broth paste

½ C orzo

½ lemon, zest and juice – I use ReaLemon for the juice as I find the flavor is better in the soup. Use the lemon just for the zest and for the finishing touch in the bowl.

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

1 tsp dried basil

Instructions

In a large pot, start heating up the water and chicken paste.

In another smaller pot heat olive oil.

Add in garlic and onion. Sauté until translucent.

Add in carrot. Sauté for just a few minutes.

Pour sauteed mixture into chicken broth.

Add orzo. Cook until tender with a slight bite.

Pour in lemon juice and add zest.

Season with salt, pepper and basil.

Let simmer and adjust seasonings if needed.

Garnish with lemon slices.

voilà!

Happy cooking

xx Andrea

Last Minute Valentines Day Gift Guide – For Her

It’s Valentines Day on Saturday and if you’re anything like me you will wait until… maybe tomorrow? to pick up something for your main squeeze. I’m habitually bad at buying gifts (I know I have said this before, but the point is so true it is worth reiterating) so I thought why not help out my fellow procrastinators with a gift edition part deux aimed at the ladies in your lives.

Gifts don’t have to be just for your significant other, or just for valentines day, these are items your Mom, bestie, sister, roommate, the list goes on.. is sure to love! I will be spending this Saturday, like women all over the city, with my boyfriend, his name is ‘my career’ and we will be crushing grape and crawling into bed early as I have a 7am flight the next morning heading to a conference for work. #truelove

Valentines Gifts for Her

This Jo Malone cologne in ‘Red Roses’ is the perfect Valentines day scent and the prettiest hue of blush pink. I am a huge fan of Jo Malone and wear the Lime Basil + Mandarin scent religiously.

There is nothing better than crisp cotton pyjamas, and this shorts set floral print pair from Plum Pretty Sugar is the perfect set as we creep closer to spring.

Chapters always has cute home stuff, specifically this gold painted stripe cushion, which hits two major wins on my current lust list, gold + stripes.

I love a good Essie polish and recently they have come out with a new Cashmere Matte line; I can’t wait to get my paws on this pale pink color, cleverly titled ‘just stitched.’

This Olive Oil was actually an idea from a girlfriend, she got this for her Mom for Christmas and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. It’s a company called ‘Nudo Italia‘ and the way it works is you adopt a tree in Italy and the company regularly delivers to you the olive oil it produces! How cool is that?! You can also adopt a tea garden in India or receive honey when adopting a beehive in the UK. I love it.

Lastly I have pulled this adorable Flamingo Print available locally at The Cross in Vancouver, one of my favorite decor stores. I have a Flamingo obsession and I think this print would look so chic mounted in a gold frame in a white wash apartment.

Hopefully you’ve found some inspiration here! And when all else fails wine, chocolate and flowers. (But mostly wine.)

xo

Wendy

Juice Cleanse Part 2

A couple posts ago I talked about a juice cleanse I was embarking on, so I thought I would hit you with the results. First things first, I love food and trying to cut it out for 3 days was torture. Oh did you notice in my original post I said I was doing it for six days? I LIED. It actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be to be honest. The juices were delicious and I felt really light and fresh after the first day. I wouldn’t recommend doing a juice cleanse for more than three days if you aren’t an experienced cleanser, or if your coworkers are habitual McDonalds breakfast eaters. You will go into a blackout rage and threaten someone’s life for a bite of their hash brown.

THE EQUIPMENT:

I bought the Hamilton Beach 20oz Juice Extractor from London drugs for $89.99. I’m no expert, but I think it did a good job and it was easy to take apart and clean after. It is a pretty big appliance so unless you want it to live full time on your kitchen counter (I’m a minimalist in that sense so that’s a no go for me) then finding a cupboard to store it in can be a bit of a B.

THE SHOPPING LIST: 

juice cleanse shopping listI know this sounds like a crazy amount of produce but you would be surprised at how little juice comes out of an apple or even an orange. It was definitely a reality check to think I was casually crushing 20 oranges when I slam a glass of OJ on Sunday morning. What was even more shocking was the bill (IN A GOOD WAY) and that happens never, so this was a win. I picked up everything at a little produce market down the street for me, which is always way cheaper than the big chains, and the bill was about $35CAN. Not bad when you think that’s covering your consumption for three days.

THE RECIPIES:

I loosely followed the vitae juice revamp cleanse. Except I opted for a 2nd citrus instead of an almond drink. I went heavier on the veg, lighter on the fruit, and adjusted to taste. I don’t think there is a perfect formula to this, any fresh juice cleanse is going to be beneficial. Obviously you want more veg than fruit so there isn’t a TON of sugar causing you to crash during the day. #science

recipies

I made 6 juices for each day. I started each morning with hot water and lemon and then had one juice about every 2 hours starting at 9 and ending at 7 in the order listed. I also drank lots of water throughout the day. The constant sipping definitely helped edge off the hunger pains. Juice 3 was definitely my fav. Grapefruit, watermelon, lime and mint over ice? DELIGHTFUL. (This will be my summer vodka optional cocktail of choice. See how much I learned doing this?!?!?)

THE OUTCOME:

I felt good

I felt fresh

I lost 7 lbs

I craved fresh produce after

WHAT I LEARNED:

I did this right before Christmas so I didn’t expect for a second to keep off the weight I lost. MASHED POPTATOES AMIRIGHT? Although I think you easily could keep it off if you were diligent and didn’t swan dive into a box of wine and a wheel of brie (which is what I did – no regrets). Next time I do this I will go raw vegan 2 days before and 2 days after so my system eases in and out of the cleanse. This will also extend the benefits and help avoid the regaining of weight as I transition back in to my normal eating routine (KD and goldfish crackers. I’M MESSING WITH YOU.) I couldn’t work out. Maybe the first day I could have, but this was an experiment for me and I didn’t want to overdo it. So if sacrificing your gym sessions for three days is a big no no for you (freak) then I would advise adding a couple light raw meals throughout the day so there is a bit more sustenance there and you don’t pass out on the elliptical and embarrass yourself in front of your friends. The last thing is; next time I do this I will look up recipes for the pulp. There was a TON of waste and I felt guilty about it. I talked to a couple girlfriends who have since gotten into juicing as well and they said the same thing.

So that’s it that’s all. I will definitely do this again. I think it’s a great way to flush out your system and get your cravings in check! Do you juice? Cleanse? Have pulp recipes? Interested? Have questions? Lets taco bout it.

Juice Cleanse Part One

I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus. It’s always nuts around the holiday and my laptop has been a genuine nightmare so I will be boxing day shopping for a new one and then I will be blogging all up in your grill, all day, like err day. But I wanted to drop a quick post. I am on day 2 of a 6 day juice cleanse! When I am complete I will be posting all my shopping lists recipes and plans so be sure to check back and perhaps incorporate it into a new years resolution!

It’s going great so far. I’m definitely struggling in the office around lunch when everyone is heating up delish food, but yesterday I went to my gym for a 30 minute steam and today I went for a brisk walk up to Robson and back to keep the hunger pains at bay! Rumor has it the initial struggles (hunger, caffeine headache, etc) wear off after day 3, so I am looking forward to that! And to letting you all know how it pans out!

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all my fresh produce ready to be juiced

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the first three days juiced and ready to go!

Will be back soon with an update! Hope everyone is ready and excited for the Holidays!

CAKE CAKE CAKE CAKE CAKE

For those of you who don’t know, that is a reference to a relatively inappropriate Rhianna song, but it has been stuck in my head for the past few days as I have been spoiled rotten this past week for my 26th birthday. Yes. 26. I am unwed, childless, I rent, I’m 26 and still make a HUGE deal out of my birthday. Every year I think it will be a quiet event as I get older and wiser, but I LOVE birthdays, and every year, without fail, I end up making such a big deal about the count down to my ‘big day’ I by default intimidate everyone around me into pulling out all the stops. This year was no different and as a result this post is kind of a multi-review/story telling/gloating? kind of post, about what a lucky chick I am. Let’s start at the beginning…

THE PARTY 

Because my birthday fell on a Wednesday this year, and the following weekend (this weekend) is thanksgiving, I decided to have my birthday party the Saturday prior. The Friday night before I went to visit my mom at our vacation house, where she gifted me a new DSLR camera as my birthday gift from my family, which is how I am able to supply all these lovely pics!

Saturday night arrived and my girlfriends Katie and Kristen came over, locked me in my bathroom while I was curling my hair, and did up my kitchen with balloons, candy, candles, cupcakes, champagne and a few of my fav snacks. It was SO cute and so sweet!

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We drank champagne, had a great dance party and headed to my friend Sharans where we were surprised by tons of friends with more decorations and champagne, organized by my awesome brother. After that we danced the night away at Portside and wound up eating french fries at Seigels Bagels at some unearthly hour. It was perfect.

The following morning my friend Kelly took me to brunch at Abigails Party. It was the perfect morning after cure. Abigails is bar-none my favorite place to brunch in the Kitsilano / West-side area, but they also have an amazing prohibition inspired cocktail list if you are looking for somewhere to grab a drink in the evening. I highly recommend it! If you are going for brunch, get there early, it is a popular spot for good reason and almost always a bit of a wait!

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After that it was pretty much business as usual until my actual birthday on Wednesday, where I was feeling the love all over again. My team decorated my desk and covered it in confetti and candy, my brother bought me coffee and came by with flowers, and my boyfriend, who is currently in Belgium, had the most amazing bouquet delivered to me. My very sweet girlfriend Denise took me to lunch at my favorite sushi place, Kita no Donburi then there was cheesecake in the afternoon (purchased at Trees Coffee – which makes the best cheesecake EVER as well as the most amazing spinach and feta scones) and after work everyone stuck around for a few drinks in our office lounge. The moral of the story is I have some amazing people in my life and I don’t need to eat any candy or cake for the next year!

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 my decorated desk and fluers from my bro

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Denise enjoying tea at Kita no Donburi

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a birthday delivery from the best boyfriend on earth

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drinks with Nikki and Andrea

At the end of the day I headed home and enjoyed champagne with a few good girlfriends and received a couple sweet gifts including The Man Repeller novel from my roommate Arielle which I am so excited to read!

It was a great few days, and I’m looking forward to a quieter weekend in White Rock with my family at our vacation house!

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my apartment looking vibrant with birthday flowers!

What do you look forward to on your birthday?

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Sugar + Spice + Everything Nice

I came home from work the other day to find cook books all over the kitchen and living room and it only took me about 2 seconds to realize what had happened… my roommate Arielle had officially joined team Fall. There is something about this season in particular that has perfectly paired foods. Sure certain foods and flavors affiliate with certain seasons but fall food is exclusive to fall. I mean you won’t find anyone eating pumpkin pie in April because that would be insane.

I’ve been a vegetarian for about 20 years so I thought I would share with you a few veggie friendly recipes and blogs that I love and will be enjoying over the next couple months!

1. Vegan Chili

This is always the very first thing I want to make when the weather takes a turn. It’s warm, satisfying and definitely ranks as a comfort food. Not to mention it’s perfect for working girls to freeze and heat for quick and easy lunches. (plus its almost impossible to screw up) Here are two I’ll be trying:

This Jamie Oliver one for sure. I LOVE the idea of having sweet potatoes in it. Yum.

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Also this Whole Foods spicy veggie chili. Spicy chili is where its at.

2. SOUP

I recently stumbled across this Vegan food blog lunchboxbunch.com and found this awesome article on fall recipes. There were two featured soups and I couldn’t pick so I’m sharing them both!

Rustic 3 Squash Soup and Creamy Saffron Cauliflower whoa.

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3. Heirloom Tomato Tart

I pinned this heirloom tomato tart almost two months ago from joythebaker and haven’t stopped thinking about it. This definitely requires a bit more skill than other recipes, but it sure looks worth it.

heirloom tomatoe tart

4. All the Red Wine

This is where the ‘everything nice’ comes in. I’m a white wine drinker year round sans sept-nov. Red wine is SO cozy and I am SO poor so here are a couple of my fav budget reds!

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1. Finca Los Primos – Malbec     2.The Show – Malbec      3.Gabbiano – Chianti

Check out my pinterest YUM board for more recipes. What are your favorite fall eats/drinks?

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