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Time to Slow Down

Hi everybody! I hope everything is going well in your part of the world. :D

I wanted to take a few minutes to check-in and let you all know that you can expect the blog to be quieter than usual over the next couple weeks. I’m wrapping up a few classes this week and have a small handful of posts I want to get up before the end of the year, but otherwise I plan on taking a break over the holiday season.

tree

This time of year always feels like the best time to slow down, enjoy time relaxing and being with friends and family instead of worrying about writing posts and working. Especially since many of you will be unplugging a bit more over the upcoming weeks so you won’t miss my ramblings anyway ;)

fire

I’ll still be posting on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter so I’m not entirely falling off the map, but I felt I should at least tell you that the blog is going to be pretty quiet for a while, just in case you wondered what was going on!

I hope you too find a way to slow things down and spend time with the people who mean the most to you, and doing things you enjoy. Regardless of whether or not you celebrate any holidays in December, it is a great time to reconnect with people you love.

xoxo

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The Final Week of the December Yoga Challenge

Is it just me or does the time seem to move more quickly during the month of December? Here we are already to start the third week of the yoga challenge! I’m so happy that those of you who are participating have been plugging away, I’m excited to see who is going to win the Champion Giveaway at the end of next week!

Pyramid

These past two weeks our videos have concentrated on building strength, as that is what most of you asked for on Facebook, but in this last week we are going to spend some time stretching out them hamstrings! This weeks video is a tiny bit longer (but still under 4 minutes), and would be best viewed after doing the prior to videos to ensure your body is warmed up and ready to stretch. Remember, your muscles are like rubber bands, if you try to stretch them when they are cold you risk injury, so make sure you are warmed up before attempting this, or any other stretchy goodness ;)

I hope you’ve enjoyed the videos and that you’ve found them helpful for completing this challenge (or just to get a little yoga in, in general). I’m trying to determine a video schedule that will start in the new year. I’m not sure what it will look like yet (it will certainly involve more than just yoga), but I’m planning to make it a weekly thing so stay tuned for that!

One of the Champion pieces I’ve been wearing throughout the challenge videos is the The Show Off max support sports bra in Steeze Pink.

Ham stretch

One of the things I really like about this bra is that it is made to be worn with a racerback, even though from the front it looks like a more traditional type bra.

outfit

Another thing I really like, thought you can’t see it is that it has hook and eye closure in the back. You still have to put it on over your head, but unlike most sports bras, you don’t feel like you are wrestling into it. You can easily slip it on and then secure it in place by doing up the hooks in the back. Anyone who has ever owned, or tried to put on one of Lululemon’s Ta Ta Tamer bras will know what I mean when I say that while the girls are held in place in The Show Off, you don’t feel like you’ve lost all mobility of your torso. It’s actually comfortable, and you also don’t feel like you have wrapped a compression bandage around your torso. My fellow busty girls will know what I’m talking about. It’s a nice change not to feel like I’m being strangled by my underwear. This is a bra I definitely plan to buy more of when the time comes for some new sports bras.

champion

I’d like to thank Champion once again for sponsoring this challenge, and providing the prize giveaway of one of their awesome sports bras to the most active participant. Remember, you need to check in on this post  in order to be in the running, so go get your yoga on this week and we’ll see who our big winner is next Saturday! Good luck!!

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Have a #FeelGoodHoliday with Nature’s Path + Giveaway

The Holidays are fast approaching, and all of the get togethers and parties make it a really difficult time to stay on track with your healthy eating. While I’m a huge advocate of enjoying those treats you love and indulging a bit over the holidays, I’m also all for treats that trick you into thinking you are having something more indulgent than you really are.

One of my go-to brands for breakfast cereals and granola bars is Nature’s Path. Their products are organic, made with real ingredients I can pronounce and understand, and are down right tasty. A favourite “treat” cereal here in the Fevens household is Nature’s Path Leapin’ Lemurs. Okay, so it was made for kids as it’s part of their Envirokidz line, but who doesn’t like chocolate and peanut butter swimming together in a pool of milk!? Exactly.

Anyway, when Nature’s Path reached out to me about their #FeelGoodHoliday campaign I knew I wanted to get involved. Not only is this brand I already use and really love, but after seeing the recipes they’ve developed to add healthier elements to some traditionally indulgent holiday treats I had to get involved and try some of them out! They were so kind as to send me this awesome package of Nature’s Path goodies so that I could get started:

package

and they even put a box of Leapin’ Lemurs in it knowing how much I love them!

For that past couple weeks I’ve been thoroughly enjoying all of the products they sent, and have been working my way through my list of “must make” recipes from their site. One of the things I really like is they have organized their recipes so you can search based on which of their products you want to use so you don’t have to go through all of the recipes finding one you can make!

If you follow me on Facebook/Instagram you already know that I made their Dark Chocolate Cranberry Qi’a Bark yesterday and it is crazy delicious!

bark

When I was putting it together I wasn’t sure how much I’d enjoy the Qi’a cereal in the chocolate bark but it’s fantastic. It adds another layer of crunchiness and the cranberries add a really nice sweet element. The only problem now is trying not to eat the whole batch in one sitting…

bark2

Drool.

I’ve also made Crunchy Apple Pie Parfaits using the Flax Plus Pumpkin Granola Flax.

apple

This too was delicious. If you love the flavour of apple pie but don’t want to mess around with pastry, or want a fast (healthy) alternative this is a recipe you must try! I let my yogurt sit out for a while so it was warm and I think it would be amazing if the granola was a little warm as well. But I’m one of those “warm” apple crisp people ;)

apple2

There are so many recipes right on the Nature’s Path recipe that I still want to try – I know I’ll be busy when I’m on vacation over the holidays! Some of the recipes I’m still hoping to make are Love Crunch Almond Bon-Bons, Gingerbread Love Crunch Brittle and Coconut Cranberry Macaroons.

The Giveaway:

The good news is that Nature’s Path wants to send one of you a box of goodies so you can try some of their recipes too!

2014 270 Blogger Holiday Giveaway NOV14 1

This prize is valued at $50 (please note, winner may not receive the exact products shown above).

Giveaway is open to residents of Canada and the US and will end at 11:59pm EST on Thursday, December 18th, 2014.

Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.  Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: Nature’s Path provided me with a selection of products free of charge in order to facilitate this post and giveaway. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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The Drink Water Better Challenge

As a Nutrition & Weight Loss Specialist the very first thing I talk to new clients about is how much water they drink. Water is the foundation of a healthy diet and too many people are walking around dehydrated, and/or filling their bodies with artificial sweeteners in order to get some hydration in because they don’t enjoy the taste of plain water.

While of course the best option is plain fresh water, or water flavoured with added fruit or caffeine-free teas, that just doesn’t cut it for a lot of the population. Especially those who are use to drinking sugary sodas or fruit juice (like kids). That is why when SodaStream Canada reached out to me about joining the Drink Water Better Challenge I was really excited to get on board.

Did you know that only 56% of Canadians think they drink enough water each day? Or that 45% of Canadians would be more inclined to consume water if it was more fun or tasted better?* Plain water, while refreshing, really can get pretty dull and boring. Even though I like plain water, there are numerous times during the week that I find myself forcing water down my throat because I know I need it, but I don’t want it. It’s just not exciting.

That was until a few weeks ago when my Drink Water Better Challenge kit arrived!

soda stream

I’ve secretly longed for a SodaStream since they first came on the market. Besides Zevia, I rarely drink regular soda anymore and I have always thought carbonating my own water sounded fun! The Challenge Kit included a SodaStream Play, 2 SodaStream FREE flavours (more on those in a second), a waterfall carafe, and the challenge booklet.

SodaStream FREE flavours are a new line that contain a fraction of the calories and sugar of other soft drinks. So yes, there is still sugar (and therefore calories), but they come in at 9-11g of sugar/10ml. The kit says that 10ml flavours 250ml of carbonated water, but I typically use less than half of that and my drinks still have loads of flavour. They have zero artificial sweeteners (something I checked before signing on to the challenge), no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives and are caffeine free.

The FREE flavours come in Kiwi-Pear, Passion-Mango, Fresh Lemonade, Green Tea-Lychee, Apple-Peach and Cranberry-Raspberry. As a raspberry loving fool I was stoked when one of the two flavours they sent with my kit was the Cranberry-Raspberry, and it doesn’t surprise me that it is my favourite of the two I’ve tried!

PLAY Black 3d

The unit itself is super easy to set up, you take it out of the box, insert the CO2 Cylinder and that’s it! It requires no power outlet or anything like that, making it a pretty sleek addition to your countertop. The instructions on how to use it are really straight forward and before you know it you’ll be carbonating water like a pro!

One thing I’ll pass along, because it tripped me up for the first day or two is what kind of water to use. Our tap water is hard and has a metallic taste so we use a water cooler for our drinking water. The first few days I was using water from our cooler but it wouldn’t carbonate. I started to think I was a moron, how could I not carbonate water!? A quick trip to the SodaStream website taught me that has been treated by reverse osmosis (i.e. my cooler water) cannot be carbonated, once I switched over to tap water I was golden!

bubbles

Just look at all those bubbles!

And remember the metallic taste of my tap water? The flavours totally mask it which means I now find myself drinking more and more tap water instead of cooler water which is fantastic! And that having to force myself to drink water problem I mentioned at the start of the post? No longer an issue. I easily drink a litre of carbonated water each day which coupled with the water I drink while working keeps me well hydrated.

The awesome thing about the SodaStream is that you can flavour your carbonated water with anything you want, so if you want to cut out the syrup completely and add fresh fruit instead you absolutely can – you are in charge of your hydration! I’m pretty darn smitten that’s for sure.

I’m looking forward to picking up some of the other FREE flavours to try out, and this holiday season you can be sure I’ll be serving some fancy carbonated drinks instead of traditional soda! A few of the recipes I’m dying to try are the Citrus & Cucumber Pick Me Up,

A Citrus and Cucumber Pick Me Up

Raspberry Coolers,

Raspberry Coolers

and how festive do these Fruity Sparkling Water Cocktails look?

Fruity Sparkling Water Cocktail

With all the ways you can make water drinking more fun, what not take the Drink Water Better Challenge for yourself? Ditch the sugar (and chemical!) filled pre-made soda, and start making your own drinks in the comfort of your own home with SodaSream!

*Legar consumer survey of 1545 Canadian (October 2014)

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by SodaStream Canada, all opinions are my own and 100% honest. 

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A Christmas Explosion

There is a rule in our house, no decorating until December 1st. Which means when December 1st comes along, a Christmas bomb goes off, and that bomb’s name is Suzi. ;)

Last Monday I had 6 classes to teach, but my number one concern was, “When am I going to have time to decorate for Christmas!?!?”. Never fear, where there is a will, there is a way. Between 4:30 and 5:30 I put up our outside lights (which I still haven’t plugged in, what a dork), decorated the entire house (fortunately for me, our house is small) and had put up our small 3 foot tree that is upstairs on our pellet stove (the top of a pellet stove does’t get hot like a wood stove). Then I went and taught two more fitness classes and came home and started putting up our main tree around 10:00pm. It’s called dedication. ;)

That right there is a 7 foot pre-lit tree, with two extra sets of lights (I like lights), 40 feet of ribbon, 20 bows, 80 plain gold ornaments, 20 sports ornaments (as you can see our tree is in our sports/media room), and then tops off with somewhere between 50-100 other ornaments we’ve been given or collected over the years (I like ornaments).

tree

I remember years and years ago before I had the gold and the sports themed “starter” ornaments, J would come in as I decorated the tree and kept saying, “There are enough ornaments on that tree, you should stop.” What a guy. In those days our tree had maybe 75 ornaments total on it. Now we are closer to 200 and he doesn’t even bother opening his mouth, either he’s resigned himself to the fact that I am compelled to over decorate, or he’s come to the dark side. I like to think it’s the later.

When I finished the tree I of course instagrammed it, and then followed that up with a very important announcement. That for the month of December, I will be taking Olaf along with me on adventures.

olaf

Why? Partly because I’m insane, but mostly to help relieve us all from those dang elf on a shelf posts. Everyone has agreed that Olaf is much more adorable, and so far folks have been loving his adventures!

He’s gone to exercise class, spent an evening in drinking tea, made a cake, went out for lunch, made snow angels, and last night went to a concert! If you’re not following me on Instagram or Facebook you’re missing out on all the fun so click over to one (or both) and follow me (and catch up on his adventures last week)!

You should notice how wonderfully empty it is under the tree in the photos above, and then check out this photo taken Tuesday afternoon…

gift tree

It looks like I’ve finished al my shopping and wrapping doesn’t it? Don’t be deceived, those boxes are all empty. Yes empty. I wrapped up a whole pile of empty boxes to create a barricade to keep one grey kitty away from the tree. Why? Because she insists on chewing on it. Pekoe on the other hand is content to just hang out under the tree like a good kitty

pekoe

but Ollie is not. Here she is devising her plan of attack. So far she has penetrated the wall of boxes at least 3 times. So bad!

ollie

Between decorating and wrapping empty boxes I did still work last week, the weather has been nutty so there has been lots of tea (from my David’s Tea advent calendar!) and Chai Tea Lattes to keep me toasty warm

chai tea

but more importantly, our pellet stove is up and running!!! I’ll spare you the long saga as to what took so long to get it going this fall/winter, but the important things is that it is running!!  We are pretty darn excited!

fire

This weekend I finally had a change to check out this cookbook that was sent to me a few weeks back

What I really like about it, is that it’s like those cookbooks you get from fundraisers. The ones where everyone contributes their favourite recipes and they get complied into one. Those are the best cookbooks around, and this is just like one of those. There are countless amazing sounding recipes and one of the ones I made was spiced pecans

pecan

They were super easy and would make an amazing gift if you bottles them up in a cute container. These ones aren’t going to make into a gift though,

pecan2

because I’ve already eaten them. All. So yeah… they are yummy. If you are in the market for a new Christmas cookbook definitely check this one out.

I’ve also been up to some Christmas-y crafty business, but for obvious reasons I can’t talk about that…

This week is my last week of craziness before the holidays, I’ve got a full 17 classes (whaaaaa) to teach, and then the following week I’m down to 10 before my long awaited 2 week vacation starts. I’m like crazy excited for the 19th to arrive! I love what I do, but it’s going to be soon nice to have a two week break!

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