Review of Pretty Happy: Healthy Ways To Love Your Body by Kate Hudson

Hi all,

I just wanted to share my thoughts/a quick review of the book Pretty Happy by Kate Hudson. Lately, I’ve been feeling like I just want to get to my healthiest self possible and focus on my body and mind. I heard some great things about this book so I decided to give it a read.

Writing Style

I found that the book is written in a very informal way, as if she was perhaps writing to one of her friends. I’m honestly not sure how I feel about this. On one hand, you feel like you can establish a “real” connection with her, but on the other, it just feels like it lacks professionalism. Also, you can very easily tell which parts she did not write. There’s some “scientific” jargon spread throughout, but I don’t think that it was very well integrated with the rest of her words. I felt like there was a clear cut, or break, in the paragraph when they had to explain something scientific. I have to admit though, this did get better as the book went on. I felt like there was a different between the beginning and end of the book in terms of the writing.

Helpful?

Although I’m not a huge fan of the writing aspect of the book, I did find she brought up some interesting points. I love what she says about Alkaline foods and I’m definitely going to try that out. I love that she (repeatedly) speaks about tuning into your body to find out what works best for you and makes you the happiest. I have to admit that since reading it, I’ve really tried to be more attentive to how my body responds to certain activities or foods.

I was apprehensive about the meditation part of the book, especially because prior to delving into it, she hinted at some spiritual terms. I was sure it was going to be all about spirituality but I was wrong. Although interesting, meditation is the one thing from the book that I have the most trouble applying to my life. One thing I did start doing, however, is taking a few minutes each night to reflect on my day and how certain things made me feel. I’m thinking that can be my kind of meditation?

The Drawing Board

She speaks about this numerous times, but I have to admit, I just don’t get it… She refers to it as a blue print of your body, so you can learn to adapt to its ever-changing needs. She says that she writes everything down in a journal. While I get the concept, I just think it seems kind of complicated. So every time you have a good or bad reaction to something, you write it down so that you’re able to look back on it and remind yourself to not do it again? Am I crazy, why am I not getting this?!

Bottom Line

All in all, I do think that it’s an interesting book that’s worth a read. I think it’s always great to constantly be seeing things from various points of view so as to open our mind and broaden our horizons. I did learn quite a few new things in regards to foods and nutrition and I was able to learn how to tune into my body.

Also, the hardcover would make for a great coffee table book; it’s really nice! Although, if you don’t care about aesthetics, I would recommend that you get it in paperback; it’s much less expensive (and a lot lighter).


I hope you enjoyed reading this review! Have any of you read this book? If so what were your thoughts on it? I’d love to read your comments below!

Marilyn

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Roadtrip Essentials

Hi all,

Summer is just around the corner, which means that the season for road trips is as well! I love going on a road trip and I’ve pretty much been on at least one per year for the last eight years so I wanted to share some of my tips/essentials. It’s definitely not rocket science, but I always find it fun to see what others take with them!

  1. Snacks, snacks, snacks and snacks!- For me, the most fun part of any road trip is to bring awesome snacks. We tend to bring food that we wouldn’t eat on a daily basis: chips, cookies (I love the ones from the Costco “bakery”) & candy. I also always make sure to bring some fruits and veggies to eat at least a little bit healthy. Also, I live in Canada so Tim Hortons is a must for any road trip! We always stop to get breakfast there and get a box of Timbits for the road.
  2. Music- If you’re on the road for a long time, you definitely want to have music you can jam to for hours. Making a playlist is a great way to make sure you don’t run out of good tunes. You can also bring a bunch of CDs from your favourite artists. My mom & I always bring Celine Dion music.
  3. Water/drinks- It’s important to always stay hydrated so I like to bring the huge plastic water bottles that way I’m sure I won’t run out while driving.
  4. Comfortable sweater- We usually tend to leave early in the morning when we go on road trips so it’s always quite chilly, which is why I always make sure to bring a comfortable sweater. It can also serve as a “shield” from the sun so you don’t get burned and get too warm!
  5. Book or magazine- If you’re not driving, you want to make sure that you’re entertained so I always make sure to bring a book or a magazine.
  6. Pillow/neck pillow- Once again, if you’re not driving, you’ll most likely want to have a nap to pass the time so by bringing this, you’ll make sure to be comfortable!
  7. Earphones- These are pretty self explanatory… You’ll be able to listen to the music you want without disturbing those you’re travelling with.

Thanks for reading!

What’s one thing you can’t go without on a road trip?

Marilyn

CND Vinylux Review

Hi all,

I recently picked up this polish in colour Cake Pop and wanted to post an honest review. You guys know that I love the Essie Gel Couture polish but I wanted to see if this would stand two weeks, as I’m going away for two weeks this summer and didn’t want to have to end up going to the salon to get my nails done. I thought that since I usually get CND Shellac done, this could be comparable but I was wrong.

I’ve tried it twice since purchasing it and I’m honestly not a huge fan. The first time it chipped within two days and I had to take it all off by the third day because it was so badly chipped. I have to admit that I was a little rough on my fingers/nails during that week so I decided to try it again another time. The second time I cured my nails with the LED light that I have and I feel like it did help a little bit, but it still didn’t give me the results I wanted- it definitely won’t last two weeks when I go away this summer. I had to remove it after 4 days.

The only good thing about this polish is the colour. It’s a great pink/neutral with some purple undertones. I would apply it if I needed to have nice nails for a day or two, for an event, but for a lasting manicure, this would not be my first choice.

Here are daily pictures of how it held up.

Initial application:

After 1 day:

After 2 days:

After 3 days:

After 4 days:


I hope this was helpful, thanks for reading!

Marilyn

Ideas For Treating Mom on Mother’s Day

Hi all,

Today I’m sharing some ideas for treating your mom on Mother’s Day. There’s a mix of DIY ideas as well as store bought gifts. It honestly doesn’t have to be expensive to show your mom how much she means to you!

  1. Breakfast in bed (if you still live with her): You can’t go wrong with this one! Just make sure you get up before she does & then whip up her favourite breakfast.
  2. Frame a nice photo of you: We did this for my mom for Christmas; we took a photo from when we were in Niagara Falls last summer and put it in a small frame. She absolutely loved it; she even shed a few tears 😉
  3. Gift card to her favourite spa: This is perfect if your mom’s idea of a perfect day includes getting pampered. You could even up the amount and go with her for a fun day out.
  4. Get an Edible Arrangements bouquet: I did this for my mom a few years ago and she thought it was such a great idea. Rather than spending money on something she might not end up using/enjoying, you can get her a healthy bouquet which everyone can enjoy!
  5. Make a slideshow: Pick out some of your favourite pictures together and compile them in a video editor like iMovie or Windows Movie Maker (or a fancier one if you have one). Add a meaningful song that represents your relationship and there you have it!
  6. Take her out to a movie: Is there a movie you’ve both wanted to see? You could take her out to dinner beforehand and make it a date night!

I know that my mom loves and prefers gifts that hold sentimental value and that allow us to make memories, which is why I’m big on the DIY ideas.

I hope that this was helpful!

What are you planning on getting for your mom?

Marilyn

Spring Cleaning #3: Letting Go Part 2

Hi all,

In my last Spring Cleaning post I wrote about letting go of physical items to declutter your life and in this one I wanted to delve into letting go of nonphysical things.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve been struggling with what to do with my life and every time I thought about it, I would feel so confused. Although I’m not 100% out of that “lost” zone yet, I feel like I’ve learned a lot about myself and what I truly want out of life during these past few months. In order to do that though, I did have to let go of ideas or thoughts that I believed in for so long. The biggest one for me was school.

I’ve grown up always thinking that after high school I would go to CEGEP, finish that in two years, then go to university and finish my bachelor’s in three years, maybe do a master’s degree, then get married and have kids. I always had this idea of the path I wanted to follow. While I still want to finish school and get married and have kids, I’ve realized the path I thought I’d be walking may not exist; and if it does, it’s definitely not a straight line.

After CEGEP I went into journalism in university, and really hated it. I did it for three semesters and then decided to go back to my “science” roots (since I studied sciences in CEGEP) so I switched my major to biology. I tried one semester and totally hated it. When I think back to why I decided to try sciences again, I realize that I was caught up in the “what is expected of me” and “what it means to be successful”.

I was very dedicated to school when I was in high school, and I always wanted to get the highest grades possible. While my parents were always supportive of my choices and wanted me to do something that made me happy, I think that I was stuck on the idea that the only way to be successful and to show the world that you’re doing something good is by having a career in the sciences. Letting go of that idea over time was so liberating and it opened my mind up to a whole new world.

Letting go of the ideas that I have to have it all figured out, that I need to finish school as soon as possible and that I need to pursue a career in the sciences brought me so much inner peace. Taking a break from all the chaos of my thoughts gave me a chance to truly get to know myself and what I want.

I think that I still have a long way to go before knowing exactly what I’m meant to do, but I’m a lot closer than I was two months ago, even closer than I was two weeks ago. I’ve come up with so many ideas for a business, and I’ve thrown myself into a couple of new projects. With my always thinking that school was the end all, I’ve never really believed that I could be one to explore my options and even start a business. I do still think that school is important (I’ve recently applied to a new program that I think lies more within my interests), but I also know that I don’t have to JUST do school, that I can focus on other things simultaneously. In the past years, I’ve had an idea of how I want my life to be, and I’m definitely getting closer to making it that way.

With that being said, I encourage you to let go of all the thoughts you have that may be holding you back from truly figuring out what you want and doing what you truly want to do. It’s ok to take risks and to test the waters. Nothing is permanent and if one thing doesn’t work out, just be grateful that you tried it and move onto the next idea.


I hope that this post was useful to some of you and I’d love to hear your thoughts on letting go.

Marilyn

Spring Cleaning #3: Letting Go Part 1

Hi all,

Today is the third part of my spring cleaning series: letting go. Every time spring rolls around I have this desire to get rid of things and declutter my surroundings. I just feel like as nature renews itself, I want to do the same and I can only do that if everything around me is organized and I have “room to breathe”.

The exact tasks that I do vary from one year to the next but this is what I did this year:

  • Get rid of clothes. I go through my closet and all of my drawers and get rid of clothes that I haven’t worn in a while. I tend to be attached to my clothes and don’t want to let go of anything, which has made me come up with a solution. As a general rule, if I haven’t worn it in a year (or in the last season), it gets thrown into the donation pile. I always donate all my clothes, unless there are items that are ripped and can’t be worn again.
  • Clean out my bedside table drawer. I have two drawers in my bedside table and the top one is where I keep the items that I use on a daily & weekly basis. For some reason, this drawer gets messy SO quickly and I’m constantly having to clean it out.
  • Clean out my “receipt drawer”. I have trouble getting rid of my receipts when I shop and I hoard them in my desk drawer. I guess I keep them in case I need to exchange or return something? I hate cleaning this out so I usually only do it once or twice a year, and this was the time to do it! I’m thinking I should make it a habit to throw my receipts as I go so as to not end up with a drawer full, what do you think?
  • Clean out all of my crossbody bags. I switch between a few different cross body bags and much like I hoard my receipts in my drawers, I hoard pretty much anything and everything in my bags. I have old shopping receipts, bank receipts, candy wrappers, concert tickets, and even a ticket from an excursion we did when we were in Madrid last summer… It felt so good to finally go through every bag and get rid of it all!

Motivation?

I know cleaning tasks are often daunting, but they do need to be done. What helps me actually get them done is to plan a day in advance for me to do it. I write this in my planner, that way I know exactly when I have to do it, and I get that satisfaction of crossing it off once it’s complete.

What also helps me is to listen to music or watch a movie while cleaning. I find that it makes the time go faster and I’m not just thinking about how awful cleaning is; I get to be a little bit distracted.

Just like working out, no one ever regrets spending time cleaning! However much you may not be looking forward to it, just remember how great you’re going to feel once it’s finished.


Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed reading!

What is one thing you let go of this spring?

Marilyn

Spring Cleaning #2.5: Black Bean Brownie Recipe

Hi all,

As promised in my last blog post, I’m sharing this healthy brownie recipe. They’re great to curb that sweet craving and they actually do something good for your body by offering fibre and protein. Plus, they aren’t loaded with refined sugar.

IMG_4852

What you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 cups black beans (this is the equivalent to a 15 ounce can)
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut or vegetable oil- I use sunflower oil
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips + a little bit more for garnish. I’ve used both semi sweet and dark and both kinds taste great, you can barely tell a difference.
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine everything except the chocolate chips into a food processor and blend until it’s completely smooth. It may take a while. I blend it for a total of about five minutes.IMG_4854
  3. Mix the chocolate chips in by hand.IMG_4856
  4. Place in a square pan and sprinkle some chocolate chips on top. I line the pan with parchment paper; it makes it a lot easier to clean up after.IMG_4857
  5. Bake for about 20 minutes. Let it cool for about 20 minutes before cutting or else some pieces may come apart.
  6. Enjoy!IMG_4858

I really hope you enjoy this! Let me know how they turn out if you try them!

Marilyn

Spring Cleaning #2: Healthy Eating

Hi all,

Today’s post is the second installment in my Spring Cleaning series. In the previous one I shared my fitness goals and my plan to achieve them. I’ll be keeping the same format, but in this post I’ll be sharing everything in regards to my diet/healthy eating.

I’ve always been one to eat healthy, I love fruit and vegetables and I find it an absolute treat to have a fruit salad for breakfast or dessert. If I know I’ll be having that later, that’s all I’m thinking about during the day. While I always get in my daily fruits and veggies, I found that I got into a habit of eating unhealthy foods on top of that. Sort of like “well I’ve eaten my fruits and veggies so I can eat this entire bag of chips”. Couple that with barely any exercise and you’ve got yourself a pretty unhealthy lifestyle, hence the whole reason for Spring Cleaning.

Here are my goals:

  • Cut down on sugar, salt and processed foods consumption
  • Eat more protein
  • Continue to eat lots of fruits and veggies
  • Don’t eat after dinner anymore

How do I plan to achieve these goals?

For the first goal, I decided I would be a lot more conscious of the sugar and salt content in the foods that I eat. When I pick something out at the grocery store, I make sure to always verify the sugar and salt content.

I don’t eat very much meat, so in order to consume more protein, I’ve started making egg white omelettes for breakfast. In 3/4 cups, there are 21 grams of protein. Not only is it great for building muscle, but it will also help keep you full longer. I’ve also been eating greek yogurt almost daily and this really helps me with satiety and muscle building/repair.

Not eating after dinner is a big one for me, as I love to snack. I still allow myself a little dessert on most days; either a fruit, some dried prunes (more on that below) or a piece of black bean brownie. I make sure to eat it right after dinner, that way I’m not eating right before bed.

Here are some snacks that have helped keep me on track:

  • Dried prunes: I know what you’re thinking, these are gross and make you poop. Yes, they are great at keeping you regular, but I also found that they totally satisfy my sweet tooth. If ever I’m craving something sweet, I’ll eat a few of these and I’m good to go! Plus I love the taste, I think they’re delicious.
  • Almond butter instead of peanut butter: We used to buy the regular peanut butter (not the natural one) and I could eat spoonful after spoonful without getting tired of it. Non natural peanut butter is full of hydrogenated oil so I wanted to find a healthier alternative. While natural almond butter does have more calories than the non natural peanut butter, it’s so much healthier because the only ingredient is almond. It also tastes amazing. Since we’ve first bought it four months ago, I haven’t touched the regular peanut butter!
  • Homemade trail mix: I take 2 brazil nuts (they have your daily dose of selenium), a handful (about 15-20 almonds), about 1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds, a few dried cranberries, a few dried blueberries and mix it all together. I’ll usually eat this with a fruit; it’s great to combine healthy fats with fibre.
  • Black bean brownies: These brownies are flourless (hence the black beans), dairy free and sugar free (there is maple syrup though), and you can’t even tell!! Are you curious? I’ll be sharing the recipe next Monday so make sure to check back!

Thanks for reading! What are some of your best healthy eating/living tips?

Marilyn

Spring Cleaning #1: Fitness and Fitness Clothes

Hi all,

I’m so excited to share my first post in my Spring Cleaning series! Today I’m chatting all about fitness: my goals, what I plan to do to get there, and the most fun part; the clothes!

I live in Montreal, which means that we have snow for a good 3-4 months a year, making outdoor workouts challenging. Although I have a treadmill in the basement, I haven’t been too diligent these past few months with sticking to a regular exercise program. As a result, I’ve gained some weight.

The main goal of my fitness journey is to lose some of that weight by making lifestyle changes and getting to a healthy point. I know that food is the biggest part of any weight loss journey, but today’s post is really all about the fitness; I’ll get into food in a couple of posts.

What will I do to make sure I achieve this goal?

  1. Workout 4-6 times per week.
  2. Change up my workouts. My typical workout is 45 minutes of run/walk on the treadmill + 15 minutes of bodyweight exercises. While this does keep my heart rate up and gets me moving, I think I should change it up to prevent boredom. Also, when you’re always doing the same workout, your body gets used to it and it becomes less effective. This leads me to my next point.
  3. In addition to my treadmill workout, I’ll do HIIT workouts (you can find so many good ones on Youtube- this is my favourite channel), outdoor runs (when the weather gets warmer), walks, and whatever else I’m in the mood for.
  4. Make sure to workout first thing in the morning. I find it so much better to work out as soon as I get up. I feel like I sweat more (not sure why?), I have more energy during the workout and I feel so good the rest of the day. Plus this way, regardless of what may come up during the day, I’m sure I got my workout in. If I’m working, I’ll make sure to workout as soon as I get home, preferably before dinner, that way I won’t be able to change my mind after I’ve eaten.
  5. Tell myself I’m going to do it, and then get it done. Every night, I make a list in my mind of what I need to do the next day, and I find that when I tell myself that I’m going to work out in the morning, I have a much better chance of actually doing it. This also goes for when I have to work during the day. Throughout the day, I keep telling myself that as soon as I get home, I’m going to change and hit the treadmill. Thinking this way definitely helps me stick to actually getting my workouts done.

Now onto my workout clothes!

Since I do most of my workouts at home, I don’t really care about what I look like. I usually wear black, cotton yoga pants in the colder months. My favourite are from Hyba (Hyba Sculptor Pant). I love cotton pants as I find that the super stretchy ones made from that “shiny” material can be uncomfortable and they often give me rashes.

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 7.09.57 PM
Taken from the Hyba website.

My favourite sports bras are the ones from Joe Fresh. My mom got me some of these for Christmas and they have quickly become favourites. I’m not particularly “gifted” in this area of my body, so I don’t require an enormous amount of support. These offer just the right support and they come in fun colours, which is nice if you workout out of the house.

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 7.13.47 PM
Taken from the Joe Fresh website.

As for shirts, I wear these tee-shirts my mom got me years ago from Zellers (this store doesn’t exist anymore- gives you an idea of how old they are). I love them because they are thick so they’re great for wiping sweat away from my face while I workout (gross, I know). I also love Aeropostale for their workout tanks; they’re inexpensive and so comfortable!

IMG_4581
Workout t-shirts from Zellers.

I hope that you guys enjoyed this post! Do you guys have any fitness goals? If so, I’d love to hear and know what you guys plan to do to achieve them!

Marilyn

Introducing: Spring Cleaning Series

Hi all,

As a continuation of Monday’s blog post and a celebration of the arrival of spring, I’m introducing a mini blog series: Spring Cleaning.

This winter was a difficult one, both because of the weather and struggles in my personal life. These past few months have left me feeling a little down and have left me with a little extra weight. I decided that I wanted to do a “spring cleaning” of my life to get back to a place where I’m happy and proud of my life, and I thought that I’d document it here as a way to 1) hold me accountable and 2) possibly help/motivate even one person to take a positive action in their life.

This will most likely change as I go along, but I’m thinking that my first post will be about fitness/my favourite fitness clothes. I’ve gained some weight since I graduated high school four years ago (and yo-yoed much since then) and I just really want to focus on getting back to a healthy point where I’m eating right and exercising regularly. I’ll also eventually share how I’m focusing on my nutrition and some of my favourite healthy meals/snacks that help me stay on track.

I really want to apply this “spring cleaning” to my entire life, not just my health, so I’m thinking I’ll also talk about how I’m cleaning up other areas of my life. I’ll write about actual cleaning, like cleaning out my wardrobe and my room. I’ve been struggling with what to do with my life for a while now and I’d love to delve into that as well.

I have so many ideas with this series and I’m so excited about it! I’d love for you to join me and I hope that you will! You can follow along by signing up by e-mail, that way you’ll be notified when a new post goes live!

Also, the blog itself will be getting a fresh new look very soon for spring, so stay tuned for that. 😉

Thank you so much for reading!

Marilyn