Wednesday, May 4, 2016

What I'm Reading + Workout Wednesday

Oh you know, just going in for the ol' ONE TWO PUNCH! This photo was taken five days out from my first bikini competition. Crazy to think that this time last year I was still in prep-mode!

How is it going today everyone? We are at the middle of the week - hooray! Yesterday was my Monday, and I was totally having a stereotypical Monday (even for a Tuesday). You know those nights where you don't have a good sleep, and then everything throughout the day is just issue after issue, and then you have commitments after work and then you come home at 8:30pm and feel like going right to bed? Mhm. That was me yesterday.

So was this:

In my head of course, but nonetheless.

I am happy to report that today was much better! I have been into a new book this month, so I took some time this morning to spend at least fifteen minutes reading. It has been a goal to read a book per month, and so far, so good! Last month I read Miracles Now by Gabrielle Bernstein and it was a great way to inject some peace and positive vibes into my day. If you are into books that make you think and dive deep into your thoughts, then this is the book for you. Personally, it forces me to think outside of my little brain box, if that makes any sense. It has given me a different perspective on some things as well, because when I catch myself being negative about a situation, at least I can acknowledge it and try to move on without feeling stuck in that negative space.

The book I am reading for the month of May is along the same lines. From what I gather, it is an interactive book that allows you to write in certain sections and brain storm. I am all about brain storming and getting those ideas from my head to paper. This is what the book looks like in case you are wondering!

And a little sneak peak at some items on my desk right now!

Forever throwing it back to that one time I was fifty shades of chocolate ; ) And of course some plants because air purity, am I right? There is also an aloe plant on the shelf. More office decor to come! Planner is by Erin Condren - loooove this, and speaking of my planner, I need to get on planning this week! Ryan's dad has been over since last Friday, so my evenings have been a little all over the place (aside from taking some downtime to check in on the blog)!

Anddddd now it's time for work out Wednesday!

I haven't been to the gym in a hot minute, but tonight a co-worker and I went to a fitness class. Originally we were planning on attending the barre fusion class, though that class sold out like half an hour before it started SOOO we missed the boat big time on that one. Fortunately, we only had to wait fifteen minutes before another class started. Although it wasn't the barre fusion class, it was a cardio strength class and HOLY CRAP. My legs are sore as I lay here on my couch typing to you guys. It was a great work out. Tough, challenging, I wanted to die laying there on the mat doing glute bridges holding a medicine ball over my head, but it left me feeling great! It was a circuit style class with twelve different stations. We ran through each station once, and then we divided it into three sections of four exercises. You repeated the four exercises three times - twice for forty seconds, one for thirty seconds, and then moved onto the second set of four exercises. Does that make sense? The first section was cardio, second was legs, third was strength and fourth was strength and abs. The hour went by pretty fast, and I was happy to get a good, heart pumping work out in. You know when you do a work out and you feel sufficiently worked? That's how this class left me. I am always up for a challenge though, so I am sure we will be back!

What is your favourite work out class? Let me know in the comments!

I hope you guys are having a good week so far! Later friends :)

Monday, May 2, 2016

Home Office Project & The Monday Plan

Good morning and happy Monday everyone!

I am checking in this morning from my little spot at Starbucks, waiting for the car dealership to call me to say my oil change is finished and my Jeep is ready for pick up. Fortunately most shops and cafes are within walking distance, so I packed up a bag with my laptop and decided I would wander around on foot until I found somewhere to settle. And of course that was Starbucks!

My order of the morning was a venti iced coffee with sugar free caramel and skim milk (I have been trying to stay away from milk, but unfortunately Starbucks does not offer my beloved almond milk and my body dislikes soy!), and a super green juice on the side. I had pretty much the same thing at Starbucks yesterday too, minus the green juice, while I was out and about with a girlfriend. We ventured to Nanaimo and got our Costco on, then headed to the mall (naturally). There is something about quality time with a girlfriend that makes me feel very much like myself, if that makes any sense! Additionally, Ryan's dad is visiting for the week from the mainland, so we went to a local pub for burgers and Caesars. Can't go wrong there! All in all, it was a lovely Sunday, and I am looking forward to today's adventures!

At home, I have been working on a bit of a project. Or rather, I am finding projects of my own to complete, and this latest project is turning our spare room (which we call Simba's room, because his cat tower is in there and all of his cat goodies) into something more along the lines of an office space.

This desk was previously in our living room slash dining area, though we were finding it was quickly becoming a dump zone for all of the mail and things we wanted to keep off the table. Moving things from pile to pile is not my type of organizing, so I took the time to take everything out of the drawers and organize it in a way that everything as their own section. My personal training homework has a place of its own, and so do the bills, financial statements, planning supplies, and cords and chargers. It feels good knowing that everything is in it's rightful spot and easy to find! I will continue to rearrange things as I go - I am debating whether I want to keep that shelf there or move it back to the other corner. Ideally, I want to put a nice arm chair in one of the corners, though I have yet to find the perfect one that is less than a million dollars ; ) Office on a budget, here!

A closer look at the shelf. I apologize for the poor picture quality! A new camera is definitely needed.

What's next after this? I am meeting Ryan's sister in law for a hike later this afternoon (fingers crossed my vehicle is done on time!) and then going to Zumba again with my sister! I thought about going to the gym while my car is in the shop, though with two other activities going on, I didn't want to be burnt out before the day began. Besides, I wanted to spend some quality time blogging and getting ahead of the game. This means scheduling Facebook posts and making sure I have a game plan for the week ahead. Hopefully I will have some time this afternoon as well to meal prep. The day is still young!

Bloggers out there: any camera recommendations? Please leave them in the comments!

Be sure to check out the Healthy Living Holly Facebook page to stay updated on new posts, if you are new to my little corner of the Internet here, and be sure to share with your friends!

Catch you on Wednesday!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Saturday Thoughts & My New Face

Good evening, friends!

It's not often that I am blogging in the evening (or past 7pm anyway), so enjoy this rare blip in time. "Write a blog post" was on my to-do list today, and now is the time to get to it!

Let\s recap the week, shall we?

Since the last time we spoke, I took a Zumba class (note: loved it! I am going back this Monday night), went to Brownies on Tuesday, ran lots, and also got a new face. I'll touch on that in a little bit with pictures from my procedure.

First off, let's rewind and talk about this whole running thing. After the Times Colonist 10k run on Sunday, I kept the running mojo going and ran every day until yesterday. That's six days in a row of running without a day off. Why? I had a goal of running sixty miles this month, and since I missed a few days of the month, I had some catching up to do. While it's not generally advised to increase your mileage so soon, I did take care to properly warm up and stretch to ensure I wasn't accumulating too much lactic acid (which would make the next day's run even worse). I even drank some BCAAs (branch chain amino acids, the building blocks of protein) to help with muscle recovery. Being back into the running routine felt really good, though one thing I will admit is my feet didn't feel so great towards the end! Lately I have been having a love-hate relationship with my running shoes. Loved them back in October when I got them, but now I am feeling every bump. You know what this means! Shoe shopping!

Shoe woes aside, I met my goal of 60 miles yesterday. Though I technically still had today to fit miles in, I wanted to take a solid rest day so I am not overworking my muscles. May is a new month, and we will get to those goals in a later post!

Are you still wondering about my new face? Well, here it is.

Beautiful, right? I wouldn't seriously get plastic surgery on my face! Why ruin a bad thing, you know? ; ) This was my Thursday night. Face mask, a book, early to bed. Does life get better than that? Debatable.

Finally, here's a something to think about. I always go back and forth about what I truly want in life, especially when it comes to settling down in a career or a job. Sure, I enjoy what I am doing now, but I cannot support a family in the way I want to by working in a nine to five job. What sets your soul on fire? What do you have such passion for that when you talk about this subject, you feel your heart is going to burst? I am having a hard time thinking about what this means for me. Yes, health and fitness, absolutely. I love helping people, and I want to find a way to inspire and motivate others. I fully believe you can do this without looking down on others or bashing the way they do things, or being negative about their beliefs. Within the past few months I have been reading a lot of books that have helped guide my thoughts, but those thoughts are never 100% clear. No, they are more like muddy water where I can kind of see where I am going, but I am not positive how to get there. Fortunately I have a wonderful support system and all of you internet friends to share the journey with!

And with that, I am off to bed because grandma needs some beauty sleep. Talk to you all in the next one!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Times Colonist 10K Review + Lululemon Haul

Good afternoon, folks!

Hope you all had a great weekend. I wanted to check in and give you a run down of how the weekend went in my neck of the woods!

As you might have guessed by the title I ran the Times Colonist 10km run in Victoria this weekend. Friday night after work, Ryan and I drove to Victoria to check out the expo and pick up my bib. The race expo isn't huge, though there are lots of cool vendors there. I picked up a few free samples including the SunRype energy bar (I brought it to a work event on Saturday - can't go wrong with chocolate and coconut!) and the Honey Stinger chews. I have had these chews a few times before, and I will most likely be taking them with me to Vancouver when it's time to run the SeaWheeze Half. Once we had left the expo, it was almost passed dinner time so Ryan and I stopped to grab a bite to eat before driving back home. It was nice to get out of the house for the evening, even if I was zonked out when we got home!

After work on Saturday I took it nice and easy, making sure my running clothes for Sunday morning were clean and I had my breakfast items on hand. If you have been reading my blog since my early days where I was doing running races quite often, you'll know that my go-to breakfast on race day was toast with peanut butter and banana. I have been finding that although the combination is good, it hasn't been sitting that great in my stomach lately. There's nothing worse than running and feeling like there's a rock in your stomach! So, once I was up and getting ready on Sunday (something about waking up at 5:40AM on a Sunday is so, SO wrong!) I made myself my usual morning bowl of oats. However, one thing I did differently on this race day was not add in the usual seeds and whatnot. I had oats, cinnamon, banana and a scoop of peanut butter. That worked out way better, and I think I will continue doing that as my body is used to the ol' oatmeal routine. Why change a great thing!?

For a race of over 7,000 people, it was well organized (as usual) and I almost forgot how much I love the course route. It takes you through downtown Victoria, and on your way back to the finish line you run along Dallas Rd and overlook the water. If you are familiar with the area, you know it is a beautiful place! While this race was technically my longest run in, oh, a LONG time, I felt good. Although it was no PR for me (again, longest run in a long time and I have been out of the speedwork game!), I was proud of the fact that I didn't stop running. Not even for water! I told myself to keep going, you got this, stay focused, and soon enough I was over the finish line where Ryan was waiting for me, almond croissant in hand. Ahh, yes. It's the little things! So, now I am on the hunt for another 10km run to go after!

While we were in Victoria, I of course had to stop at Lululemon. Before we went, though, we picked up Ryan's sister and went out for brunch. It was so nice to visit, and although Victoria isn't terribly far away, we don't get up there nearly enough to visit. After brunch is when we hit up Lululemon - sorry, wallet!

I picked up three things; they had a deal where if you purchased three regular priced items you got 15% if you should them your TC10K race bib. I don't know often Lululemon does this, but I was in the mood for spending some $$$ on new work out gear!

I picked up the Align crop from the Naked line (I am wearing them right now and they are seriously amazing - so comfortable & it really does feel like you're naked)
 Align Crop

Swiftly Tech short sleeve shirt

And the Swiftly Tech racerback tank top

Once we were done at Lululemon, Ryan & I headed off to Costco to pick up some items we were running low on and for some food items. No pictures to share, but it was the usual toilet paper, paper towel, greens, green smoothies (pack of 2 1L Happy Planet smoothies for $7! Can't go wrong there), rice, chicken, hummus, crackers... That kinda thang!

After coming home and unloading our goodies, we headed to my parents' house for dinner. It was a long day, but it was filled with things I love. Running/breaking a sweat, hanging with loved ones, Lululemon & food. Doesn't take much to make me happy!

This morning's #1 project: washing my make up brushes. I use a natural shampoo (Andalou Naturals) to wash my brushes, then lay them to dry.

Project #2: Get my hair cut! My hair care routine is pretty sporadic in that I don't often get my hair cut. I was due for one though as my ends have been quite dry since getting my hair ombre'd in the fall. I feel much better with a refreshed do!

Before that, I went out for a run and completed 7.3km. My legs were still tired from yesterday's run, but I am trying to reach 60 miles this month so a run had to happen! I am getting there :) Usually my goal would be 100 for the month, but since I have not been consistent with my running and am trying to find my groove again, it was a safer bet to scale the goal down and work my way back again. Slowly but surely!

And finally, today's lunch. I was craving some greens and had a bit of leftover wild rice from this afternoon's meal prepping to use. In the salad it goes! Topped with chickpeas, red pepper & a homemade Hollyhock dressing. Coffee on the side, because why not.

That's all I got for an update today! My sister and I are checking out a Zumba class tonight, so I will report back and let you know how it goes. Until next time!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Shaking off a Rut + Garden Projects

Good evening, folks!

I am back at it again with a new blog post. Daaaaamn, Daniel!

Hopefully you got that reference. If not, let's just move right along.

I am going to start by talking about being in a rut. For the past few days at least I have been thinking about my exercise and diet habits as well as personal goals. This weekend I had a lot of FUN, though unfortunately my healthy diet fell by the wayside, several times. I certainly cherish spending times with those I love, though for me I have a hard time separating that fun from food. If we are doing a fun activity, then why don't we have a fun meal, too? Usually these meals consist of things that aren't exactly on the healthy side (think ice cream instead of fruit after dinner), and a weekend of treats has left me feeling MEH. That is the only word I can truly describe how I feel right now as I type this up. I know how hard I can work - hell, at this time last year I was waist deep into competition prep and working hard every single day. Sure, it was hard work, but that work was so rewarding on stage. I think back to my mindset at that point, and of course it is different than it is now. Now, I don't eat and work out for the goal of stepping on stage. Now, I can eat whatever the hell I want, but then my positive mindset suffers the consequences. A cheat meal can turn into a cheat day. A cheat day can turn into two cheat days, three cheat days, hell, even a cheat week and sub-par work outs. This is what I don't like, and that mentality is hard to shake when you feel like you are stuck. I had a conversation with my sister today about how I am feeling and how I wish I was in the same place (physically anyway) as I was last year. The conversation started by me talking about a girl I follow on YouTube and Instagram (oh, the joy of social media). She competed two weekends in a row and won her pro card this past Saturday. I remember watching the videos leading up to this moment and feeling so emotional when she won overall. I remember watching it thinking, "Why can't I do that?" WELL, HOLLY. Open your eyes. You can. You just need to focus and stop living with the blinders on, worrying about what could happen.  I need to get my mind out of that box. I need to put myself out there in order to shake off that rut and accomplish the ever-growing list of goals in my mind. These goals include competing again, maybe even winning my pro card, running a half marathon, and finally being able to balance healthy living with the rest of my life. In a perfect world I would be living that right now, though that is not the case. It takes a lot of hard work and I think of the sacrifices I made last year on my way to the stage. I think about how mentally tough I was during that point, and it makes me wonder if I can get back there without such a huge goal waiting for me. Staying motivated is hard work, and I am extremely goal oriented which makes living my daily life with that constant fire under my butt difficult. Difficult, but it can be done! One step at a time.

So, that was a ramble and a half, hey? Had to get the heavy stuff out there before I filled you in on LIFE and whatnot!

This past week was A- in terms of work outs. My food stayed on point too Monday - Friday. I'd say 5 days out of 7 ain't so bad!

I have been meal prepping my lunches still, so lunches consisted of brown rice, chicken & veggies, and salad with chicken. On a day to day basis I eat primarily the same things for breakfast and lunch. Hey, I'm a creature of habit! This makes preparing meals 100x easier, rather than making elaborate and different meals for every day.

Work outs from last week:

Tuesday: 4.1 mile run, shoulders & triceps
Wednesday: 3.1 mile run, legs
Thursday: 3.2 mile run, back & biceps
Friday: 2.1 mile run, shoulders & hamstrings
Saturday & Sunday OFF

Today: 3.3 mile run, shoulders

Weekend Shenanigans:

Saturday was date night! Ryan and I went out to The Keg for dinner followed by a movie. We saw The Boss, and it was so funny! Mind you, I love Melissa McCarthy in every movie, so you can't go wrong there.

Take a look at the yard project Ryan & I completed together yesterday:

We bought some cedar ties and made some flower beds along the side and front of the shed.

Yeah, you could say I am pretty handy! While my sister was over today we also planted two flower planters for the front porch. I also hosed off the garden beds in the back so they don't look so dirty ;) Although it was boiling hot outside, I felt proud to see what we had accomplished yesterday and happy that we worked together as a team! Two sets of hands are always better than one - especially when it comes to power tools!

I hope you all had a great weekend & I will be back again soon enough!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Sunset Hikes + Monday Rambles

It has been a hot minute since I wrote on this blog! Somehow that is no surprise as I go through these spurts pretty much every second month. Life has been good - busy, but good, though too much to put in one blog post. Perhaps if I were better about this whole "blogging" thing then I wouldn't have to play catch up so often!

I will update you on the last couple weeks, at least! My days have been filled with the usual working, Brownies on Tuesday evenings, and hanging out with friends and family. I am trying to be a little bit more adventurous in the sense that I am saying YES to doing more things. Although this is great in the sense that it can get me out and about, it is a curse at the same time because Ryan often says I tend to "over commit" myself and eventually end up feeling overwhelmed and drowned by all the tasks I have on the go. Yes, he is right about that! So, I am saying YES to things within reason.

Some of these YES items include signing up for a two week yoga pass at a local yoga studio called Harmony Yoga. This was a great experience and opened me up to yoga. Sure, I have tried yoga here and there from the comfort of my home, but there is something about going to a studio that actually makes you unwind rather than become distracted by all the outside factors at home. Once things settle down around here (mortgage changes, Brownie camp, personal training homework), then I would like to purchase a monthly pass and incorporate yoga into my weekly routine.

Speaking of work out routine, what has that been looking like lately, you ask?

Well. It has been pretty diverse, with the inclusion of yoga the past few weeks.

I am trying to balance strength training, cardio, and yoga, which is simple when a routine is in place. This past week especially my routine has been different as I threw in some evening walks with Ryan and a sunset hike in there with my sister (pictured above). For me, working out needs to be something that I love and enjoy. A few years ago I was in the habit of working out because I felt like I needed to workout, not because I genuinely wanted to. Now, it's time to turn the switch and head the other direction as I truly feel if you want to work out, then you should work out. If you don't want to, then that's fine. Sure, you can force yourself to go, but if you are passing up on activities with your friends and family because you feel like you HAVE TO go to the gym, then that is not a good place to be. Been there, done that, time to move on and enjoy myself!

Further, I am not sure if I have mentioned this or not, but I will be running the Lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon again this year. This means that I need to start being more consistent with my running! Since I am still avidly using my planner, I wrote down that my fitness goal for April is to run 60 miles. While this is a far cry from the previous 100 mile monthly goals I had set for myself back when I was running almost every day. However, this is something for me to focus on until I can get my mileage back up. Besides, 60 miles in April equals two miles per day, and if some runs are 3 miles, 4 miles, etc, then that will add up quickly. While I will not be running half marathon distances this month (I highly doubt that right now!), I will be adding in more mileage once my body is more comfortable. Plus with the spring weather upon us, it makes it even easier to get out there for a run in the sun!

Now let's talk about today! Pictured above: some recent buys from today that I am going to test out. I will report back after!

Since I am off Sunday and Monday, I took advantage of this and lounged in bed scrolling through social media and generally being lazy. There is something comforting about simply laying in bed knowing that you have no where pressing to be. Once I was awake, I grabbed myself a cup of coffee and settled at the kitchen table to chat with Ryan as he got ready for his work day. I love this little Monday morning ritual! It sets the tone for a good day. Ryan has been making smoothies every morning and has been giving me the portion that doesn't fit in his cup. So, this become my pre-run snack. It was a mix of banana, pineapple, blueberries, and spinach. Super tasty and was nice and light as I was running. There is nothing worse than running on a full stomach! I have been running on the trail by our house lately, and this morning I completed 4 miles even. It felt great to get out in the fresh air and get my body moving before the day kicked off!

After a shower, I took our cat Simba to the vet for his second set of shots. Everything at the vet went well, and Simba received a perfect bill of health! He actually stayed in his little carrier crate when we got home, despite having the door open for him to crawl out and settle back in at home.

Other happenings today included an upper body work out from home, which was a mix of shoulder presses, front and lateral raises, bicep curls, tricep kickbacks, rows, etc. It was nice to work out at home since I didn't exactly want to get back into my work out gear and drive to the gym. Does anyone else immediately change into their pajamas when they get home? It was 10:30am when we got back from the vet, and there I was in my Christmas pajama pants, because, why not?

After getting a strength work out in, I made some lunch, ran some errands and came home to meal prep! I am very loosely following the start of my competition prep plan in the sense that I am weighing and measuring things again. I know, right? What a concept. I let this habit go shortly after I came out of my competition, and unfortunately it has been catching up to me! So, I am stopping that and getting back to my old, good habits.

What's left for tonight? Maybe watch some TV (this is the first time I have sat down pretty much all day!), have dinner. Just relax!

Well, I think that about brings us up to speed! I will talk to you sooner rather than later :)

Until next time!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Long Weekend & What;s Happening

Good afternoon! Long time no talk, hey?

The last couple weeks have been very, very busy. Actually, this whole month is turning out to be busy again, much like January was. We are almost half way through February, and I can say that we have something going on every weekend until March. Crazy how fast the time goes by!

Let's jump right in with this scary picture of me in a cloth face mask. Ladies (and gents), if you haven't tried a face mask like this, I urge you to as soon as possible! I picked up three types from Sephora, and they are the most ridiculous things ever but make your skin so, so soft!

Yikes, right? Ryan and I were watching a movie while I had this on and at one point he looked over at me and said, "Oh GOD! I forgot you looked like that!" So sweet, right?

I am winding down from a long weekend thanks to the Family Day holiday in British Columbia yesterday. Since Monday is a regular day off for me, I get Tuesdays off if a holiday falls on a Monday. I am certainly not complaining! I am getting to the point where I feel very uncertain about what I want to do career wise. Yes, I am still working towards my personal training certification and I know that ultimately that is what I want to be doing, but I am finding it awfully hard to wake up and be excited when I am not pursuing my passion full time. It is hard to just JUMP IN and do that, especially because right now I am earning a steady income that can help catapult me towards something bigger (my own business) in the future. Does that make any sense? Does anyone else feel that way?

This Sunday, my sister and I went to a yoga class at Fernwood Yoga Den in Victoria. While hanging out in downward dog, I was thinking about my goals and what I value in my life. I felt so at peace there in the yoga studio, and I wondered how I can bring that into my professional, working life. It is hard being in an industry that brings along a huge amount of pressure, but at the end of the day, I have to keep working hard for what I want and eventually the cards will fall into place and the hard work will pay off.

After yoga on Sunday, we did some shopping at Lululemon (how fitting, right?). I will be sure to upload those goodies in my next post! We also went to this cool crystal shop in Fantan Alley downtown Victoria. I can't remember the name off of my head, but I picked up a few little gemstone goodies. It may seem kind of woowoo, but I figured if anything they will make nice little decorations around the house as they are very pretty!

Yesterday morning with a cup of warm lemon water & the latest book I am reading.

Since it is a long weekend, I did all of my Monday things TODAY! This means I had an early morning check in with my personal trainer at 8:30am, followed by a work out. Normally I work legs on Monday, but I wanted to switch things up as I was feeling an upper body work out. I took myself through a shoulder work out where I added in 45 second cardio intervals between sets to keep my heart rate up. I only did about five minutes of cardio (my warm up), and the rest was spent actively working out and then cooling down by some gentle yoga stretches and ab work. I left the gym feeling accomplished, and it was only 9:45am! Love when that happens.

Since I was done so early (well, an hour early compared to my normal Monday schedule), I was able to get my grocery shopping done in the morning as opposed to later on when it is busier. After arriving home, I did some Brownie meeting prep and got all of my work lunches prepped for the next four days of work. Laundry is done, make up brushes are clean, life is good!

I should probably get back to this assignment (I am now on Chapter 5 of my weight training course - woohoo!), but I wanted to check in on the ol' blog and say hello.

Talk to you all soon!