It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go…
Who else is super excited for the holidays?
I love Christmas, and much to Ryan’s dismay I have been counting down since before August. I follow a few Christmas accounts on Instagram and would DM him the countdown almost every day. Annoying, right?
Well, now I have my own Christmas countdown going on thanks to a Nutcracker ornament I have on our mantel. So, he will have the reminder every day when he sits down on the couch to watch the news with his morning coffee. I’m so kind, aren’t I?
I wanted to share with you a few corners of our home that are filled with holiday spirit. I have purchased a few more items in the last few days, so I’ll be sure to show you what I got (maybe a bit closer to Christmas).
Also – I wanted to throw in this idea. BLOGMAS. A blog post every day until Christmas. What do you guys think!? I think it would be a fun way for me to be creative here on the blog and share things with you guys. Blogging Monday to Friday is a bit difficult when it comes to coming up with new content all the time, but I thought I could spend some time now and have an awesome Blogmas for you guys in December. Let me know your thoughts!
Let’s kick off this Christmas decor tour with our front entry way, pictured above. How excited do I look!?
The nutcracker is from Home Depot, brown Christmas tree is from a craft fair last year, and the penguin cookie jar was actually my mom’s. Don’t worry. She let me take it. I think. The candle is from Bath & Body Works (a coffee scented candle that I don’t actually light, haha. For decorative purposes only), and the red little bowl is from a plant I got last year at Thrifty’s grocery store.
Once you come upstairs we have this window type of wall on your left side. I have added a big Santa-themed candle here to go alongside the snake plant, and I also have my diffuser in the middle, and a Himalayan pink salt lamp and a driftwood Christmas tree (this is one of the newer items) on the right side. The “Welcome Friends” sign will eventually be moved somewhere near the entry, but it works just fine on our coat closet for now. Both of these items were also my mom’s!
And this cute little guy is from a Christmas fair we went to this past weekend. I have always wanted a taller stand-up sign, and when I saw this I knew it had to come home with us. Nala is awfully intrigued by the bell and very disappointed that she can’t play with it.
I also wanted to take the time and talk about my holiday fitness plan next month.
I had thought about doing a December run streak (running at least one mile every day of the month), but I thought that would be a good way for me to feel burnt out real fast come the New Year. In 2019 I have some big goals I want to accomplish, so I would rather start it off on a healthy, refreshed note.
So, I will be maintaining a mileage between 20-30 miles (48km maximum per week), and doing my best to foam roll, stretch, and CROSS TRAIN! Cross training is definitely something I should’ve done much more diligently and consistently during marathon training (coulda, shoulda, woulda!), and I know it will make me a stronger runner overall. This means using our spin bike for at home workouts (my spin class is finished on Ryan’s birthday), strength training using dumbbells and my body weight, walking Nala often, and getting back to yoga. Before the marathon I purchased another 10-class punch card at a local studio and I have still yet to go there. Bad, bad, bad! It’s funny because once I get there and finish a class I always ask myself why I don’t do it more often, and yet here I am, knowing that yoga makes me feel great, but not doing it. So, I am aiming to visit the studio at least a handful of times as it works with my schedule.
Personally, I am feeling the desire to a more gentle approach to exercise this upcoming holiday season. No, I’m not going to NOT workout, but I am not going to get down on myself and feel upset for “not working hard enough.” A workout is a workout, and I am blessed to have a body that allows me to be active. I have had this chat with Ryan a few times this year that I am too hard on myself, so the gentle approach to exercise is going to be a nice mental reset for myself, too. No more feeling bad that my run was slower than the person on Instagram. Actually, I made a post during my workout funk that I can’t compare my chapter 5 to someone’s chapter 25, and it is so true. That is something I am trying to be more mindful of. We are all on our own journey, and that’s OKAY!
Alright, getting a bit off topic there. My approach to working out this month is NOT going to be balls-to-the-wall (lady balls, you know?), but it will be more about LISTENING to my body and doing what I feel is right for me. As far as food goes, it is going to be similar. I will eat what I want in moderation. I haven’t been a huge fan of drinking lately (a couple weeks ago I had three drinks and felt like a disaster the next day), so I am not worried about that, but I know that I have a sweet tooth that needs to be kept in check! Plus, there’s always so many tasty goodies around the holidays, but I know that in order to be successful in not going overboard I need to be mindful, and that is something I am willing to practice!
What are your thoughts when it comes to working out and eating during the holiday season? I want to know!
What a soggy day it has been, but a great day nonetheless! This weekend was BUSY, but fun, and the days leading up to the weekend were jam-packed too!
So, what have I been up to?
Workout-wise I have had a great week. Food wise, not so bad either. I am really trying to make an effort to eliminate as much JUNK as possible. I mean, during this time of year it is pretty easy to snack on every holiday treat in sight, but for me I am trying my best to truly practice moderation and only eat things that I really want to – NOT for hell of it. Workout recap at the bottom of the post!
I had started a new job a little over a month ago, and things have been great. I have also started getting into the Christmas spirit (okay, I’ve been counting down since August but I digress), and I am happy to say I am almost done my Christmas shopping! Yep, almost done and there’s still 36 days until the actual day. I wanted to be ahead of the game since December is shaping up to be a busy month with holiday gatherings, Ryan’s birthday, and other activities going on. I mean, as much as I love the hustle and bustle of the holidays, I much prefer watching Christmas movies in my Christmas jammies as opposed to trying to battle the crowds of shoppers!
Anyway, back to this last week. Since Monday was Remembrance Day, I had the day off of work. Ryan and I replaced the floor in our basement suite bedroom, I ran some errands and purchased his stocking stuffers, and we had a bomb-ass slow cooker chilli for dinner. It was a pretty relaxing day, but productive at the same time! On Tuesday & Wednesday I think we just made dinner and watched a movie at home, but it was the rest of the week that was the BUSIEST! Thursday we went to Ryan’s mom’s house for his brother’s 30th birthday party. There were tons of friends & family, and we enjoyed good food and tasty wine. Friday I went to an Epicure party at my cousin’s house, Saturday morning I went to a birthday brunch, then to the salon to get my hair done (pictures to come!), and then to Victoria for Mike’s birthday celebrations round 2. We got back home around 1am this morning, so I slept in today which was much needed! After doing a couple loads of laundry & tidying up around the house, Ryan and I went to a craft fair in town called Christmas Chaos. I found a cute snowman decoration that will be up in a post later on in the week, and some delicious chocolate pecan popcorn. Yes, it IS as good as it sounds!
Now, let’s move on to this week’s WORKOUTS! I am pretty darn happy with how the week went, as the week before was NOT good whatsoever. I was in a serious workout funk and even took to Instagram to ask people what they did when they hit workout funks. I mean, as much as I love running, I kind of lost my mojo for a bit there despite having some decent runs. A lot of people have experienced the same thing post-marathon, and as much as I have loved the extra sleep, I almost felt a bit lost not having a big race or event to train for. So silly, right? Ryan said that having a break is a GOOD thing because my body had been training SO much for the marathon, but in my mind I needed to keep going, going, going. You know what happens when I just go, go, go, though? I burn out. I get stressed. I feel like I have too much on my plate. So, I am taking a bit of time to BREATHE and just run for the fun of it. And mix things up, too!
Monday: 10km run. This was my first run after taking four days off during my little funk. I mentally and physically felt amazing during this run, and it was a BIG confidence booster going into the week.
Tuesday: 4 miles (6.43 km) after work, played with speed after a slow warm up. Averaged 9:24/mile (5:50/km)
Wednesday: 30 minutes strength training & ab work in the morning.
Thursday: Quick 2 mile run before a birthday dinner. Around 5:48/km (9:21-ish per mile)
Friday: Early morning run of 10km. Kept pace slower and steady around 9:41/mile (6:02km)
Saturday: 7 miles (11.26 km), pace was nice and easy (could maintain a conversation) at 9:50/mile (6:05/km)
Sunday: Rest day!
Our weather this week has been terribly raining, and a lot of my runs took place while it was pitch black out. I am not comfortable running by myself in the dark, especially in the early morning, so all of my runs have been on the treadmill. However, as you guys know, I quite enjoy running on my treadmill, so it did not bother me at all. I have some rainy/cold-weather appropriate gear on my Christmas list this year, like toques and gloves and a headlamp, so hopefully I will find those under the tree (or in my stocking!) and be able to get out there safely in the mornings. Until then, I will continue to enjoy my treadmill runs and be THANKFUL that I have my treadmill! It truly is one of the best gifts I have ever received (THANK YOU mom & dad – Christmas a couple years ago), and I use it tonnnnns, as you can probably guess!
Overall, it was a solid week in running and in socializing! Usually Ryan and I are such hermits (grandma for life over here), but it’s nice to get out with friends and family, especially as the holidays approach. Next week is going to be another busy one, and then Ryan’s birthday weekend, and then all of the holiday celebrations. I can’t wait! My house is already decorated, shopping is pretty much done, Christmas mugs are out, Christmas Spirit essential oil is going in my diffuser… Yeah, you could say I am excited! : )
I hope you all had a great weekend! I will catch you on Wednesday with a new post with a sneak peek at the holiday decor I have going on. Spreading that Christmas cheer, you know?
Chat to ya soon!
Sunday, October 29th, 2017: Celebrating our 4th anniversary whale watching.
It was a stunning day to go out for a whale watching tour, and I woke up eager to get out there on the water. Our tour started at 12:15pm, and we were advised to arrive half an hour early to check in and board so the tour could start on time, so we packed up our things & left home around 10:15am. This gave us ample time to drive to Victoria and grab a coffee before the whale watching adventure began. I had been chatting Ryan’s ear off about wanting to go whale watching for a whole year, so when I opened my gift and saw a voucher for whale watching inside the envelope, you can guess that I was absolutely thrilled!
I am not sure if I have mentioned this on the blog before, but I LOVE being out on the water. When I was in elementary school my dream was to become a marine biologist. I had a closet in my room (which was painted blue and I also painted a palm tree and a dolphin on one wall – so crafty!) that was covered in posters of dolphins, whales, and I had so many books of marine mammals. So, you could say I was pretty thrilled to be out there seeing whale in real life. I mean, how often do you get to board a boat in the open water and see whales in their natural habitat? Fortunately, where I live on Vancouver Island, this is all within reach as many whale pods come up to our waters to eat before travelling to warmer waters to mate, give birth, and nurse their young. Fun fact: whales LOVE South Vancouver Island because of our huge amount of food for them. Have you ever noticed how in tropical areas the water is crystal clear, yet in colder areas the water is a dark, almost murky blue? That murkiness is actually food sources like fish, algae, etc for whales and other mammals to feed off of. There you go. You’re smarter already ; )
I highly recommend Prince of Whales tours if you are in the Victoria area and want to go on a whale watching tour of your own. During our tour we saw seals, stellar sea lions, California sea lions, an otter playing amongst the seaweed, a bald eagle, two porpoises, several humpback whales (they are incredibly huge – you can fit a whole Volkswagen Beatle inside their mouth!), and even a few transient orcas! These transient orcas were on the hunt and moving fast – about 30 km/hour (which is fast for swimming!), and unlike the local orcas who feed on salmon, small fish, and plant-based materials, transient orcas may feed on other mammals. The naturalist on board was thinking that these transient orcas were hunting seals which is why they were in such a hurry to get where they were going! If I recall correctly, we saw four orcas in total and one of them was a mama with her calf!
Okay, can you tell I am excited about this? I kept saying to Ryan it was the best day ever. Best anniversary ever. OMG, this is the best whale watching tour ever. I am so lucky! So, without keeping you on the edge of your seats for too long, here is my photo diary from our whale watching anniversary extravaganza. I am so grateful for this experience and thankful to live in such a beautiful place!
Happy Sunday evening. How was your weekend?
We had a busy but fun weekend. It was our anniversary on Wednesday, the 25th, and we celebrated the occasion three times! Today wrapped up the anniversary fun, but I will recap the weekend later on in the week because I have a LOT of photos to go through. In short, we went whale watching today, and it was the most perfect day ever!
BUT, I want to chat with you guys about essential oils tonight. You guys know I love essential oils, but it wasn’t until Monday night that I dove in with a company well known in the essential oil space. And by diving in I mean purchasing the kit, which I originally thought was a big investment (when I first came across this about a year ago at an essential oils class), but it really is a good value when you combine the cost of buying a diffuser and each essential oil individually.
So, I have been using Young Living essential oils for almost a week, and I want to share a story with you guys, because I was actually super impressed right off the bat.
A couple weeks ago Ryan got nasal surgery. Nothing major, no nose jobs or anything, but it was a day surgery that took at least a week for him to feel like his normal self. However, right after the surgery I noticed his snoring was out of control. Like. OUT. OF. CONTROL. Granted, he just got surgery and was breathing out of his mouth, but this was his usual, nearly non-existent snore amplified x 10000. After receiving my kit of essential oils, I diffused some at bed time – thieves, peppermint, and lavender to be exact – and I woke up in the morning completely shocked. You see, his snoring had been keeping me up for at least four nights straight post-op, but that night after using the oils, I didn’t wake up once from his snoring at all. He even said he had a restful nights sleep and although his nose was still sore, he hadn’t been tossing and turning all night. So, I took it as a sign that these essential oils were actually working some kind of voodoo magic, and the fact that they are all natural was a huge bonus, too.
Anyway, I am not about to start advertising essential oils on the blog because that is not what my blog is about. However, my blog IS about sharing what works for me, and so that brings me to the next part of my post: sharing a facial toner “recipe” with you all!
You will need:
A spritzing bottle. I recommend glass so you don’t have any cheap plastic chemicals leaching into your toner ; )
Lavender essential oil
Rose water. Now, I totally realized AFTER uploading and editing the picture that the label is in French, soo… Ooops, sorry guys! I like this one because it has witch hazel in it which is super calming for your skin.
How to make it?
It is so easy. Like so easy a child could do it, which is good because some days I have some child-like moments.
You will want to fill your glass bottle with the rose water, then add 5 drops (or however much you like) of essential oil. Then gently shake it up, spritz on your face, and feel like a new human.
Why lavender and rose water?
Both lavender and rose water are soothing and healing to the skin. This makes it a nice combination for all kinds of skin types, especially those that may be dry and sensitive (hello, my skin). Both of the scents mix well, and the toner leaves your skin with a refreshed, hydrated feel.
Little by little I will be sharing more things like this as I experiment with clean beauty & essential oils. Stay tuned for more!