Books

Five Things Friday: Snow day, trail running and dogs in hats

Happy Friday, friends! Here are five things I’m excited about this week.

1. I woke up to a very rare sight this morning.

snowday

Snow!

I’m so happy today is my flex day. I don’t plan on going anywhere — people in Victoria don’t know how to drive in the snow and we don’t have the infrastructure to deal with it, so it’s best to avoid driving anywhere if possible when it snows here. It also doesn’t help that we live on a hilly, twisty road that’s always the last to get plowed and de-iced. We had a bit of snow earlier this week and I was sliding all over the place trying to get from my house to the main road to work. Needless to say I’m glad I don’t have to go anywhere today, and get to spend the day playing in the snow with the dogs, doing a bit of writing and baking cookies. (more…)

Hustle smushustle: Why it’s okay not to always have goals

havegoalsThis past week — save for one day when I made it in to work and one day where I worked from home — I struggled simultaneously with recovering from a marathon, a head cold and the worst fever blisters I’ve ever had all at once, and being productive with my downtime. Normally I would have had several freelance articles on to go I could have worked on, a few blog posts to write and some strength training plans that I could have completed in my time at home and felt satisfied that I used my sick time wisely and productively.

But I didn’t have anything I “needed” to do. I wrote two blog posts and one strength plan in half a day, then started to stress out. I have time at home and can’t workout, which is rare — I need to be working on something!

Instead of relaxing with a book or a bowl of popcorn and Netflix like any normal person would on a sick day, I started researching all sorts of things I should be doing. Writing more blog posts. Brainstorming a book proposal. Looking into more ad networks. Planning my next training cycle. Reading other fitness blogs. Figuring out what I want to do with Koru Personal Training next (marketing? A downloadable guide? Online groups?).

In my frantic search for something I should be doing to better myself or my side businesses, I came across this article on Brainpickings.org and let out a deep breath after reading the following quote: (more…)

5 ways to boost your resilience in tough times

5 ways to boost your resilience in tough timesUs humans have a lot going on these days.

On an individual level, we’re busy taking care of our families, doing chores, running errands, working one or two jobs and trying to find time to fit in fitness, healthy eating, time with loved ones and self-care.

On a societal level, we’re devouring information, sharing and consuming everything and anything, and trying to deal with what’s going on in the world today; some of it good, like complete strangers showing up to a lonely young boy’s birthday party thanks to a viral Facebook post or a puppy and a duckling who’ve become the best of friends and whose shenanigans are shared on YouTube for all to see… and some of it bad, like the recent horrific incidents involving our own species in the states and all over the world.

It’s overwhelming. It’s despairing. It brings out the best in some of us and the worst in others. And it can be almost too hard to handle. (more…)

Why you shouldn’t monetize your blog (or other passion projects)

yell at your creativityI had a fabulous sense of relief wash over me while reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic last week.

Remember how I’ve often pontificated about how us overachieving millennials (or any generation of the population who wants to do it all, for that matter) can balance work, life, health and our passions? Back in 2014, I wrote:

“Even though you have a secure, well-paying 9-to-5, you decided at some point that you wanted to own your own business — something more in line with your true passion, whatever that may be. So you start one in amongst all the social media-ing and blogging you’re already doing, because hey, you’re a millennial — you do it all. Who wants to work for “the man”, anyway? You’ve delayed getting married and having kids thus far, so you clearly have all the time in the world — might as well do it now!

There’s just one problem.

That $30,000 student loan isn’t going to pay itself off, and you need some cash upfront to get your new business up and running. Times are already pretty tight, and you’re only making the equivalent of the price of a pumpkin spiced latte per month from the Google Ads you put on your blog, so you decide to take on a second job to help pay for your new business expenses.

And here’s when you find yourself at a crossroads — getting up at 3:30 a.m. to somehow write an acceptable blog post most days of the week (because you need to be consistent, they say), post to all your social media channels, read other blogs and write thoughtful comments, get your workout in (don’t forget to post a #workoutselfie!), make your healthy lunch and Instagram it (#vegan #paleo #gmofree #glutenfree #sugarfree #whybother), get ready for your day job, work, get home, make a healthy dinner (don’t forget to pin it on you Healthy Recipe board on Pinterest!), catch up on all the emails and social media posts you missed during the day, work at your second job for a few hours because you have a deadline, spend some time promoting/working on the new business you’re trying to get off the ground, and go to bed at 9:30 p.m. because you’ve been up since 3:30 a.m. and you’re exhausted.”

Well, it turns out I don’t need to do all of that. In fact, I shouldn’t be, for the sake of my passion projects. (more…)

My one word for 2016

one word for 2016Happy 2016, friends! I hope you woke up feeling fresh and revived and ready to tackle another 365 days on Earth spinning around the sun. Or perhaps you woke up late like I did, took a few pain killers to get rid of your champagne headache and have been nursing a coffee for the last hour or so. Nevertheless, I feel good about the year to come. Not in a “I’m going to have a positive attitude not matter what and everything will go my way” kind of good, but good in my current and newfound mindset of accepting what is and being grateful for what I have. My not-giving-a-f**k mindset (I must find a better way to say that).

Yesterday I took the fabulous advice posted by Elizabeth Gilbert on her Facebook page and wrote down on a piece of paper things I’d like to let go of or leave behind from 2015, burnt it, collected the ashes and dumped them into the nearest body of water. Gilbert wrote, “This is a day to return to the elements — fire, water, earth — and to set yourself free from what was, while opening your heart wide to what is to come. It’s worth the trouble to invent a little ceremony at this moment of transition, because it’s a big moment.” (more…)

Gabrielle Bernstein’s 7 steps to happiness

“When we fulfill our function, which is to truly love ourselves and share love with others, then true happiness sets in.” On Monday, my best friend Janine and I attended a talk/book signing by Gabrielle Bernstein, a New York Times best-selling author, life coach, yogi and self-proclaimed Spirit Junkie. Yes, she’s slightly Tony Robbins-esque and dips her toes in the pseudo-profound at times, but I resonate with her general message of leading by example, going after what you want, understanding your values, and being compassionate, forgiving and empathetic. 

I picked up a copy of her book after reading and reviewing the book BODYPeace as part of a FitFluential campaign. Heather Waxman, one of the authors of the book, referenced Gabrielle (aka Gabby) a few times and I could tell much of the structure of the book was inspired by her work. I was going through a rough time earlier this year, and felt like I needed something. Something to help guide me through the situation I was in, something to help me better understand myself. I was doing online clinical therapy through a work program but it wasn’t giving me the help I needed, so I picked up a copy Gabby’s book May Cause Miracles: A 40-Day Guidebook of Subtle Shifts for Radical Change and Unlimited Happiness. I worked through the 40 days, mediating for short periods in the morning and evening and using her positive affirmations throughout the day. It truly did help keep my anxiety in check and my mood lifted, even when things got worse later on in the year. (more…)

{Friday Favourites} 8 great books to read this fall

tom robbins quote

One of my most favourite Tom Robbins’ quotes.

I’m linking up with Heather of Life in Leggings today (it’s been awhile!) to share some of my favourite things for fall. And no, it’s not pumpkin spiced lattes, tall boots and cozy cardigans (pumpkin and coffee is gross together, I prefer flip flops over tall boots and I’d rather it be sunny and warm than have to layer up). I thought I’d share some of my favourite books instead — from self-help to philosophical novels to post-modernism fiction, these are some of my current and long-time favourite reads that go especially well with knee-high wool socks, dark chocolate and a mug of tea. (more…)

Why you don’t need to get lost to find yourself

wilditwasWhy do we sometimes feel the need to get lost to find ourselves?

Where did we go?

Are our comfortable, 9-to-5 lives with practically the whole wide world available at our finger tips so bad?

We bask in the glow of our tech products instead of the warm light of the sunrise. We go to a big room full of sweaty humans and various sizes of black iron and rubber objects and machines with levers and pulleys for a few hours each week in order to maintain our physiques instead of chopping wood, tilling the ground and playing outside. We go to warehouses stocked full of delicious and nutritious food from around the world located just minutes from our homes — most of the time we don’t even have to walk to get there. We’re not under constant threat of predators, we don’t go to bed hungry wondering where our next meal is going to come from, and we can generally fair okay in the elements.

Boy, do we have it easy.

So why are we so depressed? So anxious? Why do we feel the need to abuse substances to feel okay? Do the 27 percent of adults in the U.S. who suffer from mental health disorders all need to sell their belongings and go into the woods for a long hike to find themselves, too, like Cheryl Strayed? (more…)

Why the world needs bloggers

_Either write something worth reading orI used to be a prolific novel reader.

Every summer I used to haunt the local used book store near my grandma’s place in Oyama, BC, where I’d stay for the majority of summer holidays. I’d carry an armful of Stephen King, Ann Rice, James Rollins and Tom Robbins back to my grandma’s house, grab a glass of ice tea and an orange creamsicle bar and lounge poolside whilst lost in worlds of vampires, pet cemeteries, subterranean creatures and surrealist seriocomedies.

But then I had to go to university, and had limited time to read for fun. I felt like if I had time to be reading something, it should probably be textbooks and research papers. Even though I took every English Lit course I could as electives, assigned novels simply couldn’t be enjoyed; they had to be scrutinized and dissected and written about for letter grades.

I didn’t get back on the book wagon until after I graduated university and secured a full-time job. But even then, any time I had a moment to spare to read I felt like I should be doing something else instead; something productive. I should be writing, I thought, because that’s what you need to do if you want to improve your writing skills as a communications specialist and freelance magazine writer.

So I started a blog.  (more…)

Cookbook Review: The Plantpower Way by Rich Roll and Julie Piatt

ppw-cover-frontIf there’s one thing I’ve learned from eating plant-based and making the majority of my food from scratch over this past year, it’s that eating whole-food plant-based doesn’t have to be a labourious task — you don’t need to spend hours in the kitchen to make healthy, tasty meals. All you need are a few handy kitchen tools (like a good blender, a spiralizer and a nut milk bag), an hour set aside on a Sunday and a handful of easy-to-find ingredients, such as veggies, seeds, nuts, fruit and healthy fats, in order to prep and cook all your meals for the week. I’ve also discovered — thanks to cookbooks like Oh She Glows — that vegan meals are incredibly delicious, and are not only better for you than non plant-based versions, but also are more flavourful and satisfying.

As soon as I heard that my favourite podcaster and plant-based ultrarunner Rich Roll and his lovely yogi songstress wife Julie Piatt were writing a cookbook, I knew I needed to add it to my collection. Rich would often talk about some of the amazing meals Julie had prepared, either in her past job as a chef at yoga retreats, to fuel him during his training for EPIC5 or just to feed their family of six. Their cookbook, The Plantpower Way, was released this past April and I’ve been trying recipes here and there since I got the book in early May. Here’s a description of the book from their website: (more…)

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