Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Retinol, Baby..!

Hey Pretty,

It's no secret that I'm a new found lover of all things skin care. I've been learning just how important it is to invest in a good skin care line in order to keep your skin hydrated and youthful looking as we age. I've started wearing sunscreen on a daily basis, I've given up my need for a nice tan (it was hard..) and I have learned how important moisturizer is even if your skin is acne prone like mine.

A few weeks ago I was sent the new Miracle 10 Retinol Treatment 30 from Miracle 10 to try out. Guys.. honestly... Epic. Skincare. Game Changer.


I don't know how else to describe to you how unreal this product is. First up, listen to Ann Marie MacDonald, the President and Founder of Miracle 10 Cosmetics talk about the product so you can learn a bit about it....


Right? She's beautiful (and SO nice... I met her once). But she's also SPOT on about the benefits of this product. The first night I used it, the next morning I already noticed a huge difference in my hyper-pigmentation and my acne has been extremely diminished. My skin is looking so much more even and even I notice how clear and bright it's been.

Before I started using it, I had been in touch with my favourite Miracle 10 Gal, Elizabeth, and asked her how I'm to tie this new cream into my overall skin care regime. She explained to me how you start by using it 1 night per week for the first week, 2 times per week on the second week, 3 times the third week and at that point, you alternate between using the Retinol 30 Treatment and the AHA Gel each night. Easy enough, right? So that's exactly what I started doing. 

For those of you who wonder what my whole skin care routine actually is, it looks like this: 

Morning
     1. Cleansing
     2. Solution (toner)
     3. SPF 30
     4. 1/2 Light Serum Moisturizer & 1/2 Veil Moisturizer 

Night
     1. Cleansing
     2. Solution (toner)
     3. Retinol Treatment 30 or AHA Gel
     4. Veil Moisturizer

Plus 1-2 times per week at night I use the Enzyme Exfoliating Scrub and the Mask Treatment. You could say I'm a bit of a Miracle 10 junkie, but I'm ok with it.... it makes me glow and makes my skin look youthful! :)



Remember what my skin looked like a little while back? Let me remind you. I was experiencing the typical "adult acne" break out. The breakouts around your jaw line, chin and cheek area. It was painful, cystic acne, which isn't new to me... I experience this sometimes as an adult, but as a teenager I was bad with acne and had cystic acne on my forehead.

 
I don't have an updated photo exactly like this one taken before one of the Miracle 10 Chemical Peel Treatments, but I took this shameless mirror selfie last weekend and you can tell my skin is HUGELY different (aka, better).


Like Ann Marie mentioned, it's a great product for reducing the look of fine lines, hyper-pigmentation, reduces acne breakouts, redness of the skin is reduced and makes the skin appear firmer and clearer. Retinol provides a gentle exfoliation of the skin. The seed oil and botanical extracts provide anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Vitamins E, A, C and B to help strengthen, soothe and hydrate the skin.

I can honestly say I've never used a product that had such a dramatic effect on my skin, and now I'm so addicted. It takes a lot in me not to use the Retinol Treatment 30 every single night. It makes my skin so soft, but I don't want it to dry my skin out so I'm sticking with alternating nights. I can't wait to finish the 30 treatment so I can up the ante to 60! 

You can purchase the product online by clicking here, or visit one of the beautiful Miracle 10 Boutiques either in Yorkville here in Toronto or at The Plastic Surgery Clinic in Mississauga! It retails for $82, and is SO worth every penny!!!

Have you ever used a Retinol treatment before?

Sarah

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

VLOG - The Start Of The 21-Day Tummy!

Hey Loveys,

I hope you're having a great start to the week! Mine has been pretty crazy. I started a 3-week diet type thing (a vlog on this to come) and I'm helping train the new girl that started at work who's taking my position once I head back to school! It's been cool getting to know her so far and showing her the ropes when it comes to the stuff she's taking over, so that's been nice!

If you follow my on my Facebook Page you may have seen the recent food photos that I've been uploading from the 21-Day Tummy that I'm on Day 2 of. I wanted to share my thoughts on the book so far on a vlog, so that's what I did... and I haven't vlogged in a while so I thought it was time to do another! :)


Laa dee daa. Why do the thumbnails of my videos always make me look ridiculous? Wah wahh.

Tonight, like I said, I'm making a Dill Salmon Potato Bake or something... I'm excited because salmon is one of my favourite foods. I have to be honest when I say that I reeeeeeeally am missing coffee and wine. Seriously. They were my vices if I was tired or having a rough day, and now they are gonezo for 20 more days. I guess it's good to cut it out of the diet though, you shouldn't really ever be that dependent on something to help you get through the day.

I did notice that today I'm not as tired and lethargic as I was yesterday, so that's good news! However, my tummy is grumbling so I think I'm going to go and start cooking this dish for din! C is currently reaming out Roger's for some reason I don't know about so that should be interesting to listen to.

Should I vlog more? Be honest. Am I awkward on camera?

Sarah

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The 21-Day Tummy & Some New Tunes!

Hey Loveys,

Happy Sunday! I can't believe the weekend is over. Wahhh. I have to admit that today I'm a little bit foggy. Last night Jen, C and I went out for our friend Jason's birthday to a little club downtown Toronto called The Midtown (it's on College St. for those who know the city). It was a great time although unfortunately Jen had to leave prematurely to go home to bed lol. I blame it on the fact that she didn't eat dinner before she started drinking... big mistake! I fed her a lot of water so hopefully she isn't too bad today!

This week I received a copy of The 21-Day Tummy in the mail to review, which is written by the Editor of Readers Digest, Liz Vaccariello. I've been reading it over the past few days and I'm definitely really excited to try it out. It starts by explaining how our digestive system works and what types of things would upset the digestive tract. The diet basically cuts out all anti-inflammatory foods so that your digestive tract has time to settle and get back to a good state. It also promotes foods that help create good bacteria in your gut.

It's not exactly paleo, it's not exactly an elimination diet, but there are definitely aspects of both. You eliminate a lot of grains, a lot of dairy and it works in phases so you eliminate most foods in the 1st phase and gradually bring them in over the 3-week period. I know I had digestive issues... I often times get bloated after eating, or I have gas (the burping kind) and I was always told that it's because I eat fast. Part of the 21-Day Tummy is chewing your food at least 40 times, or until you're unable to tell what the consistency of the food was before you started chewing it. This is something I'll have to consciously work on.

The book comes with a meal plan and a ton of different recipes to try and information about all of the recipes. They actually tell you what to make ahead of time for the week and what recipes can stay in the fridge and what recipes can be frozen and used over the week. I was looking at all of the recipes last night and I'm totally in love with them. Every morning for breakfast you have a smoothie, and there are groups of different types of things to put in the smoothie, but you pick 1 thing from each group so you could technically have a new smoothie every morning! Love! Especially since I have smoothies for breakfast already! It includes snacks like a curry greek yogurt dip for veggies, which I'm uber excited to try out. I will share recipes with you as I make them so you can see how delicious they look!

Hopefully I can drop a few of the LB's I've put on in the past few months. C is going to be doing this with me so I'm excited for that! I'll be cooking for both of us, and I'm just excited to see the results. The people who did this in the book look amazing after, and hopefully it helps me find out what foods trigger my bloating and my burping. That would be ideal! :) I'll keep you updated on our progress for sure! C and I are heading to the grocery store today to get a start on the new grocery list and then I'll be spending part of my day making some meal prep for the week.... I'm actually really looking forward to it, I love when something gets me excited. The fact that it's only 21 days is definitely a selling point for me as well. :D!!

This week I was sent an email with some fun stuff to share with you! One of the lovely PR gals that sends me cool things to blog about sent me this playlist that was put together by Bob Harper from The Biggest Loser.

He states that American's (and I'm sure Canadian's as well) put on an average of 10lbs over the holiday season. Bob wants to help people get motivated to get back to the gym after American Thanksgiving and Christmas with this awesome playlist! I've embedded it here on the blog, but you can click here to be taken to it on Rdio directly. Just go to the website on your smartphone and you can listen directly from there.


Rdio is actually really cool. It's like a social music site and it has over 20 million songs to discover! You can even follow friends or artists and see what their listening to which I find super cool! 

Have you used Rdio before? Have you read the 21-Day Tummy? What did you think? What did you think of Bob's playlist? Would you listen to this in the gym?

Sarah

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Student Life Post #1

Hey loveys,

As I get closer to becoming a student again, I figured I'd document my little journey into my transition as a student. I've had to do so much in order to even become a student so far.

When I first decided that I was interested in going back to school, I had a lot of research to do. It's a lot different going back to school when you're not going into college straight from high school, and I quickly learned that! I knew there was 1 school I wanted to apply to, because all of their campuses are close to where I live. I was not in the market for having to commute to school. George Brown College it was.

Then I had to figure out what it is I wanted to do. This is like having a second chance in life, so what is it that I could do, that would be transferrable no matter what industry I wanted to be in, and something I knew I would be passionate about. I attended an information session for mature students back in the summer to try and help me figure out if this is what I wanted to do, and that really helped.

I know I've discussed this before, but my choices came down to nursing or marketing... how I came to these completely opposite programs in my final 2 choices, I have no idea. I read through a detailed course outline with all of the classes and I found myself more excited over "event planning" and "digital marketing" than I did about "anatomy" and "chemistry".

Marketing it is.

Then I had to find out how to apply to college. I learned more about this in the information session I attended. Luckily I was about a month before the deadline for applying for a start date of January 2014, so I got in just in time. Did you know it costs $100 to apply to college? Literally just apply. Brutal. After you apply, then it's like a ridiculously long waiting period. There was a month between the deadline of applying and when they start sending out acceptances. I kind of put it in the back of my mind until the first day of acceptances. Then I started to check online EVERY SINGLE DAY.

The day finally came and I saw that I had been accepted into the marketing program I applied to and I was SO happy!!! I was sending messages to all of my friends and I couldn't stop smiling! Then it clicked, I have a lot of stuff to get ready and forms to fill out - shit!

So between the time I got accepted and the date the college needed my deposit on my tuition was 1 month. I had to apply to OSAP (for a school loan), fill out a ton of forms, send them to a bunch of places and put a "down payment" on my tuition. Luckily for me I had some money saved up so most of my school tuition is now paid for (YAY!) until September (the "new year").

Because I'm starting in January instead of in September, I don't get a summer vacation in my first year... which is fine because I haven't had a summer vacation since like 2008 so it won't be much of a difference for me. This week I ordered my text books for my classes, literally 1 text book cost me about $150.. insane! Then we arrive at today. I thought I'd spend today applying for a student Metro Pass since I'm going to be taking transit as of the new year. There isn't much online on the TTC website about when to apply or what you need other than proof that you've been accepted into school and money for a photo ID Metro Pass ($5). I get there and then get told that I'm not allowed to apply until December.... sooo basically that was a massive waste of time.
I'm thinking of this backpack. Thoughts?

Things I've bought so far?

- a Kate Spade agenda
- Kate Spade pencils
- a pencil case
- 3 cute French inspired notebooks
- highlighters
- pens
- white out
- 1 Principles of Marketing text book.

Do you think I'll need binders or will note books be ok? I think I will need to buy a printer, maybe I can ask for that for Christmas. I also need a back pack, a laptop sleeve... I'm pretty sure that's it? Am I missing anything? Current students out there, what am I forgetting?

Sarah

Friday, November 22, 2013

Best Coin Ever Spent

Hey loveys,

As you can see I got a new blog design!! What do you think??

Today's post isn't long, it's literally just a video I want you to see. I've watched it 3 times now and couldn't not share it with you. Have you ever seen something that moved you? That gave you goosebumps or brought you to tears? I literally just experienced both. And I just wanted to share it with you...


What do you think? Did you get goosebumps? Did it bring a tear to your eye?

Happy Friday :).

PS - pretty sure this is in Italy.. another reason I want to go. Flash mobs of amazing proportions on cobblestone streets. Ciao bella.
Sarah

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Flirty Girl Fitness Studio Launch Party!

Hey loveys,

Last week Thursday I was invited to the launch party for the new Flirty Girl Fitness studio downtown Toronto right at King St and Portland St (580 King St. W). I have been to Flirty Girl Fitness in the past, a friend of mine is an instructor there so I used to go and take pole dancing classes! I know, I know... Stripper classes... but TOTALLY not at all. It takes a crazy amount of strength to pose and spin on poles, you'd be surprised! That being said, there were definitely strippers in my class looking to up their skill set.. but that's a whole nother blog post lol!

The new studio is BEAUTIFUL. You walk in through huge wooden doors with vintage glass in them (the doorman actually let us in that night, but normally you need to open the door yourself). You walk up some stairs and eventually you enter a pink, sparkly wonderland. There's a giant crystal chandelere in the lobby and they painted the brick walls pink to match their theme.




And that's just the seating area!! The inside is just as gorgeous...


That is the pole studio, and they also have a studio for other classes such as boxing and boot camps and kettlebells and stuff like that!

The party started at 8pm but we (Jen & I) didn't get there till about 8:30pm. The first thing I noticed was that I'm clearly VERY new to this "going to events" thing and I was extremely underdressed. The people there were all so beautiful and dressed so nicely, and there I was in plain clothes... boooo. I would have dressed up had I known! Next time...

Anyways, Jen and I first headed into the pole studio where we grabbed some food that they were serving, and it was amazing. Frozen Raspberry Yogurt Pops were first on the list....


And followed very closely by some of the best gnocci that I've ever tasted in my life... I think the best part of the night though, was that there were complimentary cocktails and wine being servced all night. I have to admit that I only had 1 because it was a long day, but the cocktail was delicious and the people there seemed to be really enjoying themselves!!


DJ Fizza was playing some awesome music while we were there, and I was actually really excited to see a female DJ! It's not very often that you see a woman on the turn tables, so that was super fun to watch! She's beautiful too.. check it out...


They also had some really cool things for the attendees like a nail bar, a hair touch up bar, a place to get your lashes done... I think my favourite though is watching some of the very advanced dancers do a performance. It's incredible how they do these poses and tricks on the pole because I know first hand how hard it is. Listening to their skin rub over the pole as they do a drop is NOT comfortable for them. Ever since I took pole dancing I actually gained a TON more respect for the type of fitness.... You can see by these photos of the girls what I'm talking about..





Photo Source - Becca Lemire.

Mad respect. Jen and I definitely had to reevaluate our fitness goals after seeing how strong, flexible and all around amazing looking these girls were!

The whole night went until 12am, but we only stayed until about 10pm. It was such a great event and it was organized really well. I had a great time! It has inspired me to get back into pole, I was so strong back in my pole days!! :)

Have you ever taken a pole dancing or pole tricks class? What did you think? If not - would you ever try it?
Sarah

Monday, November 18, 2013

The "Do Good" Challenges

Hey loveys,

Happy Monday! As most of you know, well maybe not most.. but those who have been reading for a while know that Monday is my favourite day of the work week because it flies by the fastest :). This weekend was so much fun. My last post I showed you some pictures from Jen's and mine visit to Yorkville for the lighting of the lights! On Sunday C and I just hung out at home for the morning and in the afternoon we went shopping for a new couch!!

This weekend we realized that C's style is very modern and contemporary and that mine is for of a "French Country" type of style. When shopping for home decor I always get a bit nervous that we won't be able to find something to agree on.. however this time was a major success!! We have decided that we no longer want a sectional type couch and that we'd like a regular couch with an accent chair. I'm so excited because this is one of my favourite looks EVER. This is what we have in mind... but we'll see what it ends up looking like...



How cute are these pieces!?!? I want to buy them right now! :) And because I love Urban Barn (the store we were in) I snapped some photos of some other things I might enjoy in the condo :).

Loving Chevron right now! A throw blanket :)...

A very "French Country" picture frame!

A pretty neat shelving unit! 
Then when we got home I definitely felt the urge to decorate or do something.... soooo I put up my Christmas tree!! I love doing it. I had C put on Christmas Carole's and I sing and dance around while I put the decorations on the tree... it was so fun! I sipped some red wine in the new wine glasses I got at Urban Barn.... and I snapped a photo when the tree was done, obvs.


CHRISTMAS MAKES ME SO HAPPY!!! Ok... onto something else before I excite myself through the roof.

I want to do a mini recap of workouts from last week. Well, it's not much of a recap. I basically got in 3 strength training workouts which isn't awful at all! I worked out with Trainer Friend on Thursday and my upper body was pretty tight and sore on Friday, so that was awesome! I, unfortunately, didn't workout over the course of the weekend. Bad Sarah! Jen invited me to go to BodyPump and BodyFlow on Sunday morning but I hadn't slept well and I was in the middle of cleaning and doing laundry so I just said no... the day did turn out to be productive, so at least there's that!

This week I'm planning on getting in at least another 3 resistance training workouts, and at least 30 minutes of cardio everyday. Today was a rough start. I brought my workout gear to workout on my lunch, but all day whenever I would stand up, I would get a pounding ache behind my right eye (my boss thinks it's because we were expecting a storm), so I worked through my lunch. HOWEVER.. by the end of the workday my headache was gone! So I put on my clothes and hit the Step Mill for 20 minutes of continuous stairs and then I did the Stepper for another 20 minutes. Niiiiice! I was super glad I did it.. it felt great!

Ok - so I need some opinions just so I can see if what I'm going to explain to you is something you'd want to take part in... or if it would be a bust... in which case I don't want to do it then lol!

Since it's getting into the Holiday time, I wanted to do a fun little set of challenges... a new challenge each week for 4 weeks. I'm going to call it the Do Good Challenge!

1. Spread the love and share it with me! Snap a photo of you giving a big kiss on the cheek to someone you love and post it on my Facebook page.

2. Free Hugs! Snap a photo giving a hug to a new friend and post it onto my Facebook Page.

3. Don't Worry - Be Happy! Share on my Facebook Page, a photo taken candidly of you and a friend or friends having a GREAT time and laughing.

4. Do Good! Snap and share a photo of you doing good (Volunteering, helping someone out, donating food, etc...) and post it to my Facebook page.

I will be gathering all the photos and featuring them on a blog post with links to the blogs of everyone who participates!! The catch?? Normally a "challenge" has a prize. The prize this year is simply feeling warm and fuzzy inside. I believe so much that the feeling of doing good is addictive and contagious and it's why I love to do charity work/volunteering!! This is meant to be a series of selfless acts and to just help spread love and happiness over the holiday season :).


Sooooo - what do you think? Is it something you'd like to participate it? If so, leave a comment below so I can gauge what people think and decide if I'm going to do this! If so, I'll be posting more details (dates, etc) soon!!

Do you put your Christmas tree up early or do you leave it till close to Christmas?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Being A Frugal Foodie

Hey loveys,

I just realized that I meant to post this yesterday but somehow I ended up getting side tracked. I got up in the morning, got myself ready and went out for a walk because here in Toronto, yesterday was a KICK ASS day!! The skies were blue and the sun was shining, and it wasn't overly cold. You needed a coat, but by no means did I need a hat or mittens... which was very nice! I had a goal in mind to find a cute winter hat that I could wear every day. I have a winter hat, actually I have 2... one is an Under Armour toque for running and the other is like an insane knitted fur hat that has strings that hangs down the sides for REALLY cold days.. but I had nothing in between. So I hit up my one of my favourite areas in the city, Queen West and tracked down my new hat. Want to see it? ***Warning... the following photo is a tacky mirror selfie but it had to be done in order to show you my hat.



See! It's cute right? :) Anyways - I needed to buy this hat because Jen (one of my besties here in TO) and I were heading to Yorkville last night to attend their Holiday Magic Lighting of the Lights. It was really fun. We made it just in time to see all the Christmas lights turn on and stayed and listened to Sarah Slean sing some songs while playing the piano.

Holiday Magic
We picked up some festive beverages (I had a Peppermint Mocha, she had a Gingerbread Latte) and then basically walked all over Yorkville and popping in and out of cutesy stores (ie. My personal fav, Kate Spade).

Bonjour from Yorkville! Tres chic.
On our way home we stopped in at Freshii to have dinner. Have you ever been to Freshii? It's one of my favourite places to eat here in Toronto. It's all fresh foods made right in front of you. Usually I get a massive salad but last night I opted for some soup because it was cold and who doesn't love soup when it's cold? I had half chicken broth, half spicy lemongrass broth with chicken, rice noodles and a massive haul of veggies and herbs... it was like heaven. Something super cool I love about Freshii is basically this wall:


They have pictures of all of their ingredients up on a wall and the health benefits of each one so you can pick and choose to cater to whatever is going on with your body at the time! Cool huh?

So speaking of food and choosing healthy and whatnot... I was sent this awesome infographic on how to be a Frugal Foodie and it includes some cheap, but delicious looking, recipes. This is super fitting for me right now as I'm very quickly approaching my first day of College here in Toronto and basically my first day of not having a full time job since 2009. So my life is going to turn frugal basically. Check this out:


Statistics provided by CashNetUSA.

I wanted to provide you with more than this inforgraphic, so I looked up some other neat ways to be a Frugal Foodie.

1. Use cloth napkins, and hide the paper towels. Paper towels are expensive and they definitely don't help the environment so either don't buy them and use washable cloths, or hide them and only use them when absolutely necessary.

2. Stock up on your meat protein (if you eat meat) while it's on sale. A friend of mine always buys a TON of chicken breast when it's on sale and then she wraps them all individually when she gets home and freezes them so she can eat them at her leisure. Amazing!

3. Clean out your fridge and use your leftovers before going grocery shopping. Throwing away food is a big pet peeve of mine, especially when it wasn't used simply out of laziness. Make sure to only buy what you need and use it before buying something else.

4. Purchase produce in season, this definitely cuts prices by A LOT.

5. Plan your meals. I know this sounds easier than it actually is, but if you have a plan it's easier for you to stick to it. Write a grocery list based on your plan and STICK TO IT. This will help eliminate a lot of the "random food" you end up buying when you're at the grocery store.

What's one thing you do to help stay frugal in the kitchen?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Back In The Weight Room & EpiCor This Winter

Hey loveys,

I hope your week is off to a great start! It's been a bit hard getting back into the swing of things since I had last week off for a "staycation" but it's been good to get back to my old routine!

I've been trying to figure out how to get motivated to get my behind back in the gym, in full force, like I was at the beginning of the spring season. So this is what I've concluded....

I'm bored with running.

Yes, it's true. I'm just so bored with it that it's no longer motivating me and it's actually just making me stressed... I want to love it, but in this weather/time of year, I just don't! So this week I've been focusing on weight training and diet. Yesterday was my first day back so it took a lot of push to get myself up into the gym rather than focus on work (side note - I always forget that taking a break during the day to go and exercise actually HELPS you focus better when you get back to work!). But I got up there and I focused on doing upper body. My plan of attack is to alternate between upper and lower body before I get more specific in my training. So my workout included the following exercises..:

All exercises performed 2 sets, 8-10 reps
Pec Dec
Lat Pulldown
Lateral Raise Machine
Shoulder Press Machine
Cable Lat Pulldown 
Dumbbell Bent Over Row
Cable Bicep Curl
Cable Tricep Pressdown
Barbell Bicep Curl

Today I actually feel really stiff in my biceps and in my lats.. SUCCESS!! I love that feeling. It's not unbearable pain, but it tells me that I did something good, and I like that. Today was another day that was hard to get my butt upstairs during my lunch break, but I knew if I could just walk up two floors and start my workout, it would make me feel tons better. Plan of attack for today? Legs. Here's what I did:

Bulgarian Split Squats
All exercises performed 2 sets, 8-10 reps
Leg Press
Leg Extension
Seated Leg Curl
Plie Squats with Dumbbell
Bulgarian Split Squats
Squats with a Shoulder Press
Laying Hamstring Curl
Ab Crunches holding Med Ball while lying on BOSU Ball
Oblique Twists with Med Ball
Back Extension Machine
15 minutes on the Step Mill, Level 7 Intervals

By the end of that workout my legs were super jelly. I remembered to take the time to stretch after so hopefully that helps me not be super sore tomorrow. And yes, I know, I totally did Bulgarian Split Squats without being forced by Trainer Friend... it's a miracle!!!!!!!

So in addition to starting this whole weight training thing again, I've been really trying to watch what I'm eating because the last month or so has been a total free for all when it comes to what I put in my mouth. So basically I've been eating salad, kale, chicken, berries... oh.. and cheese. I don't think I want to give up cheese. I really love it. I got some advice from a friend who's big into fitness and he said to make sure I eat some protein at every meal... so that's on my radar as well. This was lunch today :)


It was just as delicious as it looks. For breakfast I had a smoothie made with a banana, fresh blackberries, fresh strawberries, random frozen berries and water. I'm debating whether I want to continue eating smoothies for breakfast because it's getting cold and smoothies make me even colder. Oh.. and I've also added these to my breakfast...


Yep. Fish Oils.. the first time I took them was without food. Big mistake.. unless you enjoy the taste of fish when you burp. Today I took them with breakfast and had no fishy aftertaste which was delightful. Do you know why you should start taking Omega-3's in the winter? Let me tell you :):

1. In the winter we tend to eat heavier meals, which often times are high in sugar, grains, carbs, animal fats and alcohol. Things like this can lead to high triglycerides and basically decreases heart health in us! Omega-3's have been shown to help lower triglycerides and help maintain cardiovascular health.

2. Do you ever get the winter blues? Does your mood tend to shift when winter is upon us? Wake up and it's dark... go home after work and it's dark... it's hard to adjust! Omega-3's help balance mood and acts very similar to Vitamin D, the Sunshine Vitamin.

3. Winter months sometimes have an effect on people's joints. Omega-3's have massive anti-inflammatory effects on the body so they help reduce swelling in the join areas, which helps reduce pain!

4. DRY SKIN! Oh my god guys, this is happening to me right now, Queen of Oily Skin is actually having a temporary moment of dry skin. It's the weirdest thing, I don't really like it because it hurts. Omega-3's have been shown to basically help hydrate your skin from the inside out...

SEE. Go buy some fish oils. Be careful though, try and avoid fish LIVER oil... I don't think ingesting anything liver related is good. If you don't know the main purpose of the liver, it's to detoxify the body... so all the toxins you ingest end up there... so if you're eating liver or taking liver oil, the toxins that were ingested by said animal/fish is now in you. Not good. In some cases it can definitely make you sick. 


Speaking of sick. Do you ever take anything to help boost your immune system over the winter? I was given the opportunity to try EpiCor this year and I've been taking it every morning for almost a month now and have avoided all the sickness I've been around so far. C has had a few colds off and on and *knock on wood* I will continue to avoid them and not get sick this winter!! It's a pill you take once daily and it helps boost your body's immune system so it's better able to fight off colds, viruses or infections. It helps the body do that by reinforcing the first and second line of defence that your body uses... it increases antioxidant protection and also helps support good gut health. 

First Line of Defence - EpiCor strengthens the first line of defence by helping increase secretory immunoglobin A (sigA) in the saliva. sigA is the primary antibody found in the saliva, mucous membranes, tears and mother's milk. Basically if a pathogen gets past your mucous membranes and into your body, sigA is the thing that traps it before it spreads all through your body.

Second Line of Defence - EpiCor helps increase Natural Killer (NK) Cell activity in the body. So if the first line of defence in your body is compromised, this is when the NK cells would come into play. NK Cells are a type of white blood cell that are super fast at finding infected cells and killing them off before they spread. 

If you're interested in learning more, you can visit their website by clicking here, check out WHY they are unique in their YouTube video here, find where to buy EpiCor by clicking here, check out their Facebook page here or their Twitter page here. Check out this infographic about getting a Healthy, Strong Immune System!


Do you take different vitamins/supplements in the winter than you do in the summer?

*Discloser - I was provided with EpiCor free of cost, however my opinions and experiences are my own.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Miso Healthyyyyyy! (Get It?)

Hey loveys,

To be completely honest with you, this week that I've been on vacation I have REALLY been relaxing. AKA Not doing ANYTHING. I've been relaxing... reading... and today I went and took my college English and Math test. I've worked out 1 time which is not what I had planned but I really just wanted to rest. I don't know why... it just feels nice to relax and not be stressed about doing anything!

Last night C and I ordered sushi for dinner because he had just gotten home from being away for two days (YAY!) and we didn't feel like cooking. My sushi came with miso soup. I absolutely love miso soup and I have for many years... it's one thing I look forward to having whenever I go out for Japanese food. I was watching Bethenny while "relaxing" and she had a chef on the show and he was cooking with a miso paste and she mentioned how healthy miso was for you... so obviously, I decided to do some research!

First up - what the heck IS miso!? According to Wikipedia, miso is a fermented spice made from fermenting rice, barley, and/or soy beans with salt and a fungus with a Japanese name that I can't type on an English keyboard, but the most typical miso is made with soy. It comes as a paste but it can be mixed with Dashi soup stock to create miso soup.

As it turns out, Miso has crazy properties that help with digestion. Miso and other fermented foods help build up the inner ecosystem and assure the digestive tract is amply supplied with beneficial bacteria. These bacteria help digest, synthesize and assimilate nutrients that are super necessary for good health and anti-aging. They also help strengthen the immune system, keeping it ready to fight off any infections we may contract! Miso has a very alkalizing effect on the body. Many studies have shown that miso helps reduce the risk of breast, lung, prostate and colon cancer and also helps protect from radiation.

Miso also has some amazing anti-aging effects on the skin. It is full of linoleic acid which is an essential fatty acid that helps the skin stay soft and free of pigmentation.

I'm so glad that miso is FULL of health benefits because I honestly could eat miso soup for DAYS.

This is one of my smaller posts, but that's ok. Cool news - I'm hiring someone to redesign my blog! Yaaaaye. I feel like my blog is super amateur looking... so I'm biting the bullet and having someone who actually knows what they are doing design something new for me, so all my health/fitness and fashion/beauty blogs can all be in one easy place. Cool huh? I can't wait to see what she comes up with!

Are you a fan of miso soup??

OH!

Don't forget to enter my giveaway for 12 boxes (a 1-year supply) of Catelli Gluten Free pasta!!! You can enter in the Rafflecopter below! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Catelli Gluten Free Pasta Recipe & Giveaway!

Hey loveys,

Last night I had a friend come over for dinner because C is gone to Mississauga until tomorrow night. So Jenny and I arranged it so I knew in the afternoon that she was coming. I was looking in my pantry and remembered that I had a box of Catelli Gluten Free pasta and I wanted to use it and see how it is!!

I've never been a big pasta eater because I don't like eating all of that wheat and gluten and I associate pasta with it being such a heavy food and so I figured the fact that it was gluten free would help with that, and I tried to think up a recipe to use that wouldn't be super heavy (like lasagna... I don't remember the last time I ate lasagna.. bleh). So this is what I came up with.. I don't know what to call it... but here is the recipe! :)

Sarah's Not-So-Heavy Pasta
Ingredients
1 box of Catelli Gluten Free Fusilli
1 jar of roasted garlic alfredo sauce
1 package of extra lean ground chicken
1 package of organic frozen peas
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic

Directions
1. Boil the pasta for about 10 minutes, or until it's a firmness that you prefer.
2. Cook the chicken with the olive oil and garlic until it's cooked through.
3. Rinse/unthaw the peas in the sink and add the peas to the chicken.
4. Add the sauce to the chicken and bring to a boil.
5. Add the cooked pasta and let cook all together for a couple minutes.
6. EAT IT ALL! Haha.


This was super good. I served it with some salad, wine and brie cheese. SO GOOD. The pasta is super cool and tasted exactly like regular pasta...



As you can see on the back of the box, they're blend is a unique 4 grain blend including white rice, brown rice, corn and quinoa. I was super impressed by the quality of the pasta, as I've tasted other gluten free pastas before and they the texture of them have varied so greatly... but I really didn't notice a difference in this pasta, other than I didn't feel super bloated after I ate it! They're certified by the Canadian Celiac Association and they actually produce their pasta in a designated gluten-free facility!

So want to hear something super fun?

Catelli is offering one of my readers the chance to win a ONE YEAR supply of Catelli Gluten Free pasta!! That's 12 boxes!!! This is pretty insane, but so cool!!! So how do you enter? Well read below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So exciting!!! I hope you win! :) If you'd like, click here for a link to $1 off your next box of Catelli pasta!

Q: What's your favourite type of gluten free pasta?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Why Am I So Tired?

Hey loveys,

Happy Monday!

I'm not sure how long this post will be, which is odd for me because I normally blab and blab. I don't have much to talk about really. I guess I'll start out by proclaiming I'm now on vacation for the next week... and by vacation, I really mean staycation. I always have staycations. We had planned on going south this year but C doesn't have a passport and I figure the money I saved to go south would be put to good use towards schooling expenses, so alas I will remain in cold Toronto this whole week.

I'm not sure what I plan on doing. C is gone from today until Wednesday night for work meetings so I'm literally all by myself for that time. No complaints here! :) I think I want to go to a hot yoga class... or maybe check out a Crossfit class. I know I need to go running, and on Tuesday I have to go and take a Math and English placement test for college. Other than that I'm a free bird all week!! Maybe I'll attempt a cool new recipe.. or two? :)

As you know this past week was my birthday week, my actual birthday being Thursday (Halloween), but we celebrated two weekends in a row and went out on my actual birthday to a Halloween Party at Williams Landing. It was an understatement to say that by the time Friday came around, I was exhausted. I only worked a half day because I had to go to Mississauga to get Dr. Lista to check the sisters and make sure everything was healing properly.. and then to get my face peeled at the Miracle 10 Boutique. Anyways - I had the music cranked on the drive from work to the clinic because I knew it would keep me awake.

When I got to the clinic, thank GOD they could put me in a room right away and I didn't have to wait. I would have fallen asleep in the waiting area. Funny story about that. It's HILARIOUS to walk into The Plastic Surgery Clinic and have every staff member behind the desk go "Hi Sarah!!!!!". I felt super important hahaha. Anyways... I had to wait for Dr. Lista for a few minutes and if my chair would have reclined, I would have been passed out when he got in. I almost fell asleep while Diane was doing my face peel as well.

When I got home I fell asleep for a little while, but wasn't anything I would have liked. I love naps. But for some reason on Friday I wasn't able to nap. I stayed in bed all night and C came to bed at like 10:30. I instantly passed out and I didn't see the clock again until 10:45 the next morning. I slept more than 12 hours... I was SO tired. It kind of got me thinking.. like always.. what exactly happens to the body when you get super tired?
I wish I looked like this when I slept in real life.

From my research, there are different categories of side effects that happen when you become too tired:

Emotional Side Effects - irritability, memory loss, difficulty speaking and depression.. which can cause insomnia which would lead to further exhaustion and further negative side effects. Sheesh.

Cognitive Side Effects - dizziness, blurred vision or mild hallucinations.

Observable Physical Effects - when you're overly tired your body can start acting in very odd ways, making you feel nauseous or leading to tremors. Long term exhaustion can lead to dramatic weight loss or weight gain as well.

The Unseen Effects - hypertension or heart disease are the two major side effects of exhaustion.

Other Concerns - in many cases, exhaustion is due to depression, lack of physical activity, an unbalanced diet or the overuse of stimulants such as caffeine or nicotine. If you eliminate these factors and the exhaustion still persists, you should definitely seek medical advice to see if something worse or deeper is going on.

For me... I have a couple theories. I'm tired often. This may have to do with my diabetes, which is a blood and hormonal disease and I'm especially tired when my blood sugars go up and down... not ideal. I notice that I get super lazy when I don't workout for a few days. After my breast augmentation I wasn't able to workout for 4 weeks... and ever since it's been kind of hard to get back into the swing of things... I mean as intense as I was before surgery. So there's that too.

All in all there could be a million reasons why someone is tired but the key is to always listen to your body. If you need a rest, take a rest. If you really don't feel like exercising, then don't. Or you can always sleep for 12+ hours like yours truly.

I'm going to go run 7k on the treadmill and do some weights this afternoon! I've done 4 loads of laundry, put it away, cleaned the condo and made lunch already... so a workout will be the perfect top to my productive day!!

Q: What is the first sign that you recognize, that your body is telling you to take a rest?

PS - My goal is to blog everyday this week!! I've been slacking in that area too.. sorry!!! :)