TGIF friends! And it’s especially a nice TGIF for me because I am taking most of next week off for a little mental (and physical) health break! Teaching fitness classes and coaching and blogging is all fun and I have no complaints about how I get to earn a living, but girlfriend needs some time off now and again! Everyone keeps asking me what I’m going to be doing on my vacation, and really besides a couple dates with friends and a few movies on Netflix and onDemand, the answer is not much. One thing I want to really concentrate on this spring/summer is finishing all the online courses I’ve registered for and not completed. And a big part of that is watching videos and listening to lectures online, which I’m hoping to get a jump start on next week. That’s where today’s post come in! I was sent a set of AfterShokz Bluez 2S Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones this week, which are making it really easy for me to listen to lectures and podcasts on the go without everyone in the room having to listen along with me!
I have a pair of traditional headphones that I keep at my desk when my husband and I are both working at the same time, but I find they hurt where they wrap around my head and really aren’t all that comfortable. And earbuds and I have always had a love hate relationship. I’ve got really small ear holes (is there a more technical term for that? haha) so unless they come with different rubber covers to adjust to different ear sizes they are in general pretty uncomfortable.
That’s what makes the AfterShokz Bluez 2S so different -they don’t actually go in your ears! Instead they rest just outside your ears on your cheek bones and the bone conduction technology delivers music through your cheekbones. This means you can listen to your music or audiobooks or podcasts, but still be able to hear what is going on around you at the same time!
I know, it sounds crazy, but now that I’ve tried them I really like them! They are more comfortable that traditional headphones and don’t go in my ear so the size of the speaker isn’t any issue. At first I was concerned that there would be a lot of sound leakage (you know, when you can hear everything that is happening in someone else’s headphones), but was pleasantly surprised at how little sound leakage there actually is. You can certainly hear bits and pieces coming from the headphones, but nothing compared to what I first imagined.
As a runner, and a runner who has notoriously had issues with headphones while running, I don’t think these would work for me in that regard. They aren’t adjustable, and while there is an adjustable tension band included to provide a more secure fit, I have a tiny head (my brother would tell you I have a head like a ping pong ball…) so even with the band the fit is fairly loose. However, I would have no issues wearing this on a walk or hike, or on a bike ride -I especially think these would be great for cyclists because of the open ear design (in case you are worrying about getting them wet from sweating, they are IP55 certified to repel sweat, dust and moisture). Chances are the most typical use for me will be general (non athletic) but it’s nice to have these on standby should I ever actually take up cycling like I keep saying I am.
The triangular button you can see on the side in the above photos is the multi-function button which easily allows you to play or pause music, skip songs, answer or end a phone call, redial and a number of other calling functions without ever having to get out your phone. Pretty cool! And in case you are afraid you’ll get lost in all the functions when using the Bluez 2S, they also come equipped with Audrey Says™ which provides voice prompts to help you along the way.
On the underside you’ll find the micro USB port for charging. One full charge will give you 6 hours of continuous play, or 10 days of standby time. This is also where you will find the power button and the volume controls. It’s taken me a few tries to get use to adjusting the volume from below (my other wireless headphones have the controls on top so it’s been a bit of a learning curve), but that’s a pretty minor learning curve.
I haven’t had the chance to try out all the features yet but so far those I’ve used I’ve found user friendly. And because I’ve been enjoying my Bluez 2S Headphones so much I’m delighted that they have offered to give one of YOU your very own pair!
To Enter: Follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below.
Please make sure to follow the directions provided, I do check entries and any who do not follow the rules will be deleted.
Giveaway is open to residents of Canada and the USA.
Disclosure: I was provided with the Bluez 2S Wireless Headphones in exchange for this post. All opinions are entirely my own.
Something exciting is happening here in Nova Scotia. President’s Choice is bringing their no name® Naturally Imperfect™ product brand to Nova Scotia. Previously this brand was launched in Ontario and Quebec in March 2015 offering both Naturally Imperfect apples and potatoes for sale. Here in Nova Scotia we are starting with apples, but we should be on the lookout for more products to be added to the line by the end of the year.
“When it comes to produce, Canadians know that beauty is more than skin deep,” said Ian Gordon, senior vice president, Loblaw Brands, Loblaw Companies Limited. “Our customers recognize they get the same flavour and nutritional benefits in spite of appearances. The positive response to our initial offering of apples and potatoes in Ontario and Quebec demonstrated the opportunity to expand the no name® Naturally Imperfect™ line and offer more selection at a great price to more Canadian families.”
Produce included in the no name® Naturally Imperfect™ program was previously used in juices, sauces or soups, or may not have been harvested due to their small size. With this program, Loblaw Companies is working to ensure farmers have a market for smaller, misshapen fruit so that it does not go to waste.
I am thrilled at the launch of the new line, and as I mentioned on Snap Chat (follow me @suziconfesses) on the weekend, when I buy apples they almost always seem to be bruised so a few smaller or mis-shapened apples is just fine with me!. I didn’t find that the apples in the no name® Naturally Imperfect™ were any more banged up than usual. They were certainly a bit smaller than what you might be use to from grocery store apples, but having grown up with apple trees on our property I’m really not bothered by the smaller size. Not everything needs to be super sized.
And once made into a delicious recipe – like the Apple Cranberry Crisp, you won’t think these apples are Naturally Imperfect™, in fact they taste absolutely perfect!
- no name® Naturally Imperfect™ Apple Cranberry Crisp
- 1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup (175) sliced almonds
- ⅓ cup (75 mL) packed brown sugar
- ½ tsp (2 mL) salt
- ½ cup (125 mL) cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 vanilla bean
- ⅓ cup (75 mL) packed brown sugar
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) all-purpose flour
- 7-8 no name® Naturally Imperfect™ medium apples, peeled, cored and cut in ¼-inch (5 mm) thick slices
- 2-1/2 tsp (32 mL) fresh lemon juice
- 1-1/4 cup (300 mL) PC Whole Frozen Cranberries, halved
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) cold unsalted butter, cubed
- Preheat oven to 350° F (180° C).
- In bowl, combine 1 cup (250 mL) flour, almonds, ⅓ cup (75 mL) brown sugar and salt. With fingertips, crumble in ½ cup (125 mL) cold butter until the size of small peas. Chill.
- Cut a slit lengthwise down centre of vanilla bean; with tip of knife scrape out seeds. In small bowl and using fingertips, mix seeds, ⅓ cup (75 mL) brown sugar and 2 tbsp (25 mL) flour.
- In large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice. Stir in cranberries. Add vanilla-sugar mixture and toss to coat. Spread into 13 x 9 inch (3 L) baking dish. Dot with 2 tbsp (25 mL) cold butter. Crumble almond mixture over top to cover.
- Bake in centre of oven until fruit is tender and topping is golden, about 45 to 55 minutes.
So the next time you are out at the grocery store, keep your eyes peeled for the new no name® Naturally Imperfect™ label to find apples that still taste delicious but will save you a few dollars on your grocery bill.
Disclosure: Recipe re-printed with permission from President’s Choice. This is a compensated post for President’s Choice, all opinions are entirely my own.
Well here we are at the start of another month which means it’s new Zumba music time! This month us instructors are getting Zumba Mega Mix 52, those of use with ZIN Now already have access to it, while those who are still getting their music delivered on CD’s will be getting it in a few weeks. For those of you who have to wait, and for those Zumba participants who are interested to see what songs are coming to their classes s0 here are the songs on this month’s release!
La Vida Es Una Fiesta by Norka (Warm up)
Taka Taka by Kalimete (Merengue Ripiao)
Sal a Bailar by Victor Manuelle (Cover) (Salsa)
Pa’ Que Bailes by Sharlene (Reggaeton)
Mar Adentro (II Canto Della Sirena) by Gigi De Martino (Cumbia Eletcronica)
Irresistible by Fall Out Boy feat Demi Lovato (Cover) (Rock)
Kukere by Lyanya (Cover) (Azonto)
Milonga con Azúcar by Zumba® Original Music (Milonga)
La Aspirina by Max Pizzolante (Merengue)
So there go – Zumba Mega Mix 52. What do you think?
I also wanted to let you know it’ll be a few weeks before I get back to posting Zumba videos on my YouTube channel. I haven’t had much time to spend choreographing these last few months so I need to find some time to put together some new routines before I can get back to posting. Hopefully that won’t take long but who knows. I considered posting old stuff in the meantime but I’d really rather give you new routines to some of the new songs we’ve got (like this release), so I decided to wait. I’d rather give you great videos and fewer of them, rather than lots of videos but have them be of poorer quality, you know?
Anyway, I hope you are all having a great day, and be sure to check out all the past Zumba releases on my Zumba page! And if you’d like the link to each month’s Zumba release post emailed directly to your inbox be sure to sign up for my newsletter by clicking here.
Happy Leap Day friends! I already posted this on my Facebook page, but today isn’t just a Monday, it’s February 29th – a day that only comes once every 4 years. Wouldn’t it be awesome if today you decided to take a step towards that big scary dream you have in your head? Whether it’s to run a marathon, start your own business, buy a home, have a baby, lose 30 pounds, write a book – whatever! Wouldn’t it be fun to start TODAY and then the next time February 29th rolls around you can say, “Look how far I’ve come since last February 29th!”
I think so. Plus it makes it easy for you to remember when you started.
It seems only fitting that on this Leap Day I tell you about the 100 Meal Journey Challenge the Dieticians of Canada are putting on for Nutrition Month (which is March). If your big scary goal is to get healthier and/or lose weight, this could be take first step you take today towards the realization of that dream!
Last week I had the opportunity to chat with Halifax based Dietitian Kelly Whalen
about the challenge and learn a little bit more about the initiative.
The 100 Meal Journey is designed to help participants make small changes meal by meal so that the path to a healthier life doesn’t seem so overwhelming. Over the month of March we will be eating approximately 100 meals, and little by little challengers will be making those meals healthier and healthier. The reason many people fail at life changes is because they try to do too much too soon. This meal by meal plan challenges breaks healthy eating down into bite-sized pieces (pun intended 😉 ) which feel much more manageable for most people.
A recent study has shown a 35% decrease in the number of people who want to make a change in their healthy habits. The idea behind this challenge is that by pledging publicly that you are taking the 100 Meal Challenge you will be more successful than if you didn’t take the pledge. Behavioural contracts are proven to be more successful, and if you share with friends and family that you are taking the challenge, it might encourage them to join you!
The challenge takes participants through 5 weekly focuses:
Week 1: Get Ready! Encourage Canadians to take a pledge and join us in a 100 Meal Journey throughout March.
Week 2: Quality Counts! This week focuses on making food decisions that support individuals’ goals, such as cooking more meals at home, choosing nutrient-rich foods and substituting ingredients.
Week 3: Prioritize Portion Control! This week, we provide strategies for Canadians to be aware of selecting realistic portion sizes during their 100 Meal Journey.
Week 4: Try Something New! Because taste is the number one reason for food choice, this week focuses on nourishing meal and snack ideas that are delicious!
Week 5: Make It Stick! Every journey encounters detours along the way. This week’s tips will equip Canadians with doable strategies to put in place during their own 100 Meal Journey and make healthy eating stick!
Because I think the mindset of healthy eaters versus unhealthy eater is so different when it comes to food, I asked Kelly to share three things she does every day to help her stick to a nutritious diet. They are:
- Maintaining a healthy food environment. They don’t keep unhealthy food in the house, and if they do have something for a party or holiday, they keep it up away out of sight until the event so they are less likely to want to eat it. She also keeps healthy foods like fruit salad prepared and at eye level in the fridge so when she goes looking for a snack, that is the first thing that catches her eye.
- Making sure she eats enough veggies every day. Ensuring that her plate is half filled with veggies before she starts adding protein or starches helps her stay on track towards her daily veggie goal.
- Eating mindfully. Taking smaller bites, putting her fork down in between bits, and not eating in front of a screen so she can better enjoy her food.
And finally, I always like asking dieticians this question – what is your current favourite nutrition packed food?
Kelly’s answer – lentils. Apparently 2016 is the International year of lentils (who knew? Not me!), so she’s been all about the lentils lately. She suggested adding red cooked lentils in fruit smoothies where you won’t see or taste them, and cutting ground beef with lentils to add additional nutrition and cut back on red meat intake.
And then she wanted to know what my favourite nutrition packed food is – and that was an easy one for me. Avocado. It’s so darn good for you!!!!
I hope you’ll consider joining the 100 Meal Journey with me. Let’s make the next month amazing! And the next four years until the next Leap Day our healthiest EVER!
Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored post in any manner, just a fantastic initiative I wanted to share with you all.
Have you ever been out on a walk or run and wished you could use just one device instead of three or four? Personally I use my FitBit, then my Polar M400 for my GPS and heart rate tracking and my phone or iPod for music (and then spend most of my walk or run adjusting headphones). The headphones are the worst. Especially when running, you don’t want too much slack or you’ll get tangled up, not enough and you feel like you are strangling yourself. At least that’s my problem. Enter my new BFF: the TomTom Spark Cardio + Music GPS Fitness Watch.
Let me start off by saying until this showed up at my door I had never used bluetooth headphones. And now I’m entirely obsessed. They are pretty much the best things to happen to music since the MP3 Player. Seriously, if you are still fighting with regular headphones every time you go for a workout you owe it to yourself to get some bluetooth ones. They will change your life.
The headphones that come with the Spark Cardio are of course TomTom brand headphones, and though it took me a few minutes to figure out how to sync them to the watch, a quick trip to the TomTom Youtube channel sorted that out for me. They have great videos explaining all of the features of the watch making it super easy to use.
The headphones come with a variety of headphone covers so you can choose the ones that best fit the shape of your ear. I have small ears but was pleasantly surprised at how comfortably these fit and how well they stay in place.
Transferring music onto the device is easy too, once plugged into your computer it’ll bring up a window where you can quickly select playlists or podcasts that you want to add (and yes, there’s a video for that too!). It has room for up to 500 songs so you won’t be stuck listening to the same 10 songs over and over – unless you only put 10 songs on it! 😉
Once on it starts tracking all on it’s own, you don’t need to do anything besides wear it to get your daily step count and sleep statistics.
I’ve still been wearing my FitBit, and can’t tell you how well the tracking compares as I wear my watch on my left hand and my Fitbit on my right (I’m a lefty so the watch is undoubtably going to pick up more “false” steps than my Fitbit). But as far as sleep goes it’s pretty close to my Fitbit reading. In the above picture it shows I slept 7hr 57min last night and my Fitbit says 7hr 54min.
As far as everyday use goes, my favourite thing about the TomTom is the strap/clasp.
Instead of your usual watch fastener, it has these little connectors that click into place on either side of the strap holding is securely, and then another set to hold the excess strap in place. I have small wrists, and teaching Zumba means my arms are flying around everyday, haha. It drives me crazy when I wear my Polar and the strap comes loose and starts flapping around in the middle of a song and because I’m teaching it’s hard to find a free second to fix it. That is not a problem with the TomTom, I’ve not once had the strap come loose in the nearly three weeks I’ve been wearing it.
The strap and watch itself is also really comfortable to wear. I feeling like I’m basking my Polar, which I really do love, but that sucker is huge and not the most comfortable thing out there. I find it so square around the top that it frequently hits my wrist bones painfully, and that doesn’t happen at all with the TomTom. The watch face is smaller and sits much more nicely on my wrist for day to day use.
One more super cool feature on the TomTom? The light. Instead of having to push a button to get the screen to light up, you put your hand over the screen for a second or two and it lights up on it own! It’s really helpful for me while teaching yoga because it’s silent (many other watches beep when you push any button) so I can quietly check the time while my class is in final relaxation to make sure I finish class on time.
All in all I’m pretty darn smitten with the TomTom Spark Cardio + Music. It has quickly become my day-to-day watch during the work week, and I love that I am able to swap out the straps if I decide I want a more exciting colour than plain black!
Disclosure: I was provided with a TomTom Spark Cardio + Music GPS Fitness Watch in order to facilitate this review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.