Friday, August 30, 2013

From Stretches To Splits

Being able to do the splits seems to be a well known sign of flexibility. If you can do them, good for you (really I mean it). If you cannot do the splits and have always wanted to be able to, I have some good news for you: you can work your way up to doing the splits by simply stretching.

If you do the following stretches, over time you will increase the flexibility in the muscles and joints that allow you to do the splits properly:


Start on your hands and knees. Bring your right leg forward placing your right foot between your hands. Slowly slide your right heel forward until your right leg is straight. Lean forward over your right leg until you feel a stretch in your hamstring. Hold this position for 30 seconds with your right foot flexed and 30 seconds with your right foot pointed.

Starting from the split-prep hamstring stretch position, bend your right knee as you straighten your left knee and move your hips forward. Keep your left knee pointed toward the floor. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Switch legs to stretch the left hamstring and quadriceps.

Hip Flexors:

Place a pillow on a sturdy straight-backed chair. Stand in front of the chair with your back facing it. Bend forward and place your hands on the floor, bending your knees slightly. Lift your right leg back and place your knee on the pillow, resting your right ankle against the chair back. With your hands still planted firmly on the floor, move your left foot forward until your lower left leg -- from front ankle to knee -- is perpendicular to the floor, and your thigh is parallel to the floor. Lift your hands to your left thigh and gently press your torso toward an upright position. Switch legs to stretch your left hip flexors.


 Kneel with the insides of your knees, ankles, heels and big toes together. Concentrate on pressing the outsides of your calves and ankles in toward the centerline, as you sit back onto your heels.

**To read more detail, visit the original article at Livestrong.Com**

Take Care,


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Urban Nature

Do you love nature? Do you love natural finishes? If you answered "yes" then I think you'll really appreciate today's post.

Natural wood slab counter-tops:

As you can see here, natural finishes aren't just limited to rustic, or traditional interiors. A slab of natural wood like this can create a unique look to your home while adding visual interest with the natural movement of the wood grain.

This counter-top in particular has unfinished edges, with a sealant over top to give an even more raw and natural appearance to the wood. Even if you aren't an "outdoorsy" person, I believe that anyone could appreciate the beauty of this.

Take Care,


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Homemade Protein Bars

I find that people either love protein bars or hate them, depending on what kind of protein bar you try. I have tried over 20 types, and out of those 20 I think that I only found 10 that were any good.

But the bottom line is, no matter how healthy people think that protein bars are, some are actually not much better for you than a chocolate bar. Why is that? Because they are packed with sugar!

An easy way around this is to make your own protein bars at home! Try this one out; a homemade peanut butter protein bar with only 1/4 cup of sugar in the entire batch.


Ingredients (4-6 bars)
1/2 cup peanut butter (or allergy-friendly alternative such as sunbutter) (110g)
1/4 cup protein powder (20g)
3/4 tsp baking soda (important)
1/4 cup sucanat or brown sugar (40g)
2 tbsp applesauce (30g)
tiny pinch salt if desired 


If your peanut butter is the natural type, gently warm it until it is a stir-able consistency. In a mixing bowl, stir peanut butter and applesauce until it is a smooth paste. 

In a separate bowl, combine all remaining ingredients and stir well. Pour dry over the pb mixture, and stir until evenly incorporated. It’ll be a little crumbly, so transfer the crumbly dough to a gallon-sized plastic bag. From inside the bag, form one big ball. 

Still in the bag, roll out with a rolling pin. Cut bars and put in the freezer to firm. I store mine in the freezer, but you can fridge if you prefer softer bars.

So simple, not to mention tasty.

Take Care,


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sledge Hammer Arms & Back

If you've watched movies involving cross training, like in the movie Never Back Down, then I'm sure you've seen exercises involving giant tires and maybe the following exercises that I will share with you.

It's called the Sledge Hammer, simply because what you are doing is raising a sledge hammer over your head in a slight squatting position (knees are soft), and then bringing it down while engaging your core and slamming it onto a giant tire. Trust me, this sounds easier than it is.

This exercise works; I did it Saturday afternoon, and I have never had such an effective workout; I have muscles that are sore that I never felt in my life before.

I do recommend that you do not do this exercise without proper supervision, with an experienced personal trainer or someone experienced in this exercise and knows proper form to do this safely and without injury.

Take Care,


Monday, August 26, 2013

Create Your Own Gallery

The other night I was over at my friends' new house and she asked me about where to hang her art and picture frames. This was a great question, and one that I believe a lot of people struggle with.

You don't want to place your art/pictures too high, but you also don't want to place them too low. They key is to place everything along the line of sight (or eye level). This eye level will vary from person to person, so the idea is to place it on the average eye level (approximately 5' high).

Here are some examples of how to effectively hang your art and pictures in order to create your own gallery in your home.

As you can see, there are so many options and combinations of arrangements that you can hang your art/pictures in. Just remember not to over do it by crowding your walls. Use the rule of thumb that "less is more" and let the room breathe.

Take Care,


Friday, August 23, 2013

Cut The Cravings

I don't know about you, but I get crazy cravings some times; I will want chocolate to the point where I cannot stop thinking about it and will have to get some to munch on. If I don't give in to it at the time, I will be sure to still crave it 3 days later until I satisfy that craving.

If this sounds familiar, let both try substituting healthy foods for the junk foods that we crave. Easier said than done right? But there are reasons that you crave certain things, other than you saw someone with it, or were watching The Food Network. 
Take a look:

As you can see, most cravings are due to deficiencies in vitamins and minerals in your diet. So when you crave sugary foods like doughnuts or cookies, you should eat some fresh fruit or dairy to replenish your body's stores of carbon, phosporous, sulphur, or tryptophan. 

Also, sometimes when you think you are hungry, you're actually just thirsty; so try drinking a tall glass of cold water (cold water burns more calories because your body works harder to warm it to body temperature), and wait 10-10 minutes to see if you still feel hungry.

I hope this will help you (and me as well).

Take Care,


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Make This House A Home {House Warming Gift}

Some of my good friends just bought their first home together and moved in this past weekend. They are my first friends to buy a home, so needless to say I was stumped thinking of a house warming gift to get them.

When I searched for ideas, I found this cute basket and decided to go with it.

Try to colour coordinate the contents and packaging. Then place a cute note on the front with the couple's names on it and a message from you.

Here's what you include: bread (I gave a french baguette and a bottle of wine), candles (their favourite scent if you know it), sugar (you can improvise on this one and include chocolates, ect.), salt (I included a flavoured gourmet salt for barbecuing with), and wood (I included a wooden picture frame).

This gift basket is cute & sentimental. And as you can see, you can have a lot of fun with it and get creative by personalizing it to the couple and what they like.

Take Care,


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Cha Cha Cha...Chicken Enchiladas

The other night I decided to try chicken enchiladas for the first time in my life. So I looked up a recipe (the closest to traditional Mexican food I could find), and made a batch.

All I can say is that I LOVE this recipe and will definitely be adding it into my go to meals to make. This recipe makes plenty of food and is a batch of cheesy gooey deliciousness!


4 skinless, boneless chicken breast
1 onion, chopped
1/2 pint sour cream
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional) 
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
8 (10 inch) flour tortillas
1 (12 ounce) jar taco sauce
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. In a medium, non-stick skillet over medium heat, cook chicken until no longer pink and juices run clear. Drain excess fat. Cube the chicken and return it to the skillet. Add the onion, sour cream, Cheddar cheese, parsley, oregano and ground black pepper. Heat until cheese melts. Stir in salt, tomato sauce, water, chili powder, green pepper and garlic.
3. Roll even amounts of the mixture in the tortillas. Arrange in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Cover with taco sauce and 3/4 cup Cheddar cheese. Bake uncovered in the preheated oven 20 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

Note: Recipe courtesy of All Recipes.Com

I highly recommend giving this recipe a try. I added more chili powder and used ground white pepper for more of a kick of spice. Either way, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Take Care,


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Getting Fit With HIIT

Some people have the idea that they have to run on the treadmill (or outside) for 30 minutes to an hour to get an effective workout. Well luckily this is not true; my personal trainer a few years back shared with me the fact that after 45 minutes of intense cardiovascular exercise, you actually stop burning fat and start to burn your muscle...not good.

All you need is 20-45 minutes for an effective cardio workout. But when you do HIIT (high intensity interval training) you can get an amazing workout, and great results over time in just 20 minutes.
Here's the workout:

Follow this routine and I guarantee that you will be dripping sweat by the end of the 20 minutes. 

Take Care,


Monday, August 19, 2013

Work From Home In Style

I've officially found my inspiration for my future home office, and I think you may agree that if you don't like everything about this office, there are definitely some note worthy ideas here.

Personally I love the white, black and hot pink colour scheme. And the addition of a comfy and beautiful chaise is fantastic. The only thing I would change is a more comfortable desk chair; replace the plastic chair with a more refined looking arm chair for a classier look. What a beautiful home office.

Take Care,


Friday, August 16, 2013

Tequila Sunrise

Tropical drinks just scream summer...or at least a vacation. If you haven't already tried a tequila sunrise, I highly recommend that you do so. It's sweet, fresh and fruity, and unlike most tequila based drinks, it doesn't have a strong after taste.


Ice Cubes
2 oz Tequila
4 oz Orange Juice
2 Dashes of Grenadine
1 Orange Slice to Garnish

Fill glass 1/2 way with ice cubes. Pour tequila & orange juice over ice & stir.

Add grenadine, and garnish with orange slice.


This is now my official go-to summer drink. I hope you enjoy this, and as always, drink responsibly.

Take Care,


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Hold That Plank Longer

Planks: effective, challenging, and theory.

Whether you're just starting to add planks into your fitness routine, or have been doing them for years, I bet that you can agree that within your routine you reach a point when you feel like you may die (figuratively of course), but wish that you could hold on a little longer.

Luckily there are ways to push yourself to hold that plank even longer than before:

I have to remember tip #2 (I'm notorious for looking at the stopwatch). I hope this will help you get one step closer to your goals.

Take Care,


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Monochromatic Dining

I have to admit, I have expensive taste when it comes to home decor...and many other things too. So when I saw this image of this dining room, my heart skipped a beat.

This monochromatic colour scheme, combined with the beautiful finishes & accessories are to die for. I especially love the marble fireplace surround, which catches the light beautifully from the ceiling fixture.

Take Care,


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Guilt-Free Ice Cream

I will be the first person to admit that I have quite the ice cream addiction; I can buy a 2L container at the grocery store on Sunday, and have polished it off 3 days later by myself (crazy I know).

So if you're anything like me, it may be time to try out a more guilt-free alternative. No I am not talking about frozen yogurt, as great as that is too. I am talking about ice cream made of frozen bananas! With only 2-3 ingredients involved, and all of them being natural & healthy ingredients, why not try it?!

Guilt-Free Ice Cream - Recipe:

4 bananas, just slightly overripe (brown spots good, completely black not so good)
2 tbsps creamy peanut butter (optional – thus 2 ingredient ice cream)
2 tsps cocoa powder (Dutch process), (optional – thus 2 or 3 ingredient ice cream depending on peanut butter

DO NOT FREEZE THE WHOLE BANANA, you’ll have a heck of a time blending that beast.

Peel the bananas and slice them up into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick disks. 
Place the banana slices in the freezer for about an hour or until they are frozen solid. 
Put the frozen slices in a food processor and pulse. First they will start to resemble gravel, but keep going. 

The bananas will soon turn into a frozen mush – at this point, start scraping the sides down (you will do this a lot). Or you could add a dash of milk since the liquid will help the blending. 
When the bananas look like whipped ice cream, you can add your mix-ins like peanut butter and/or cocoa powder, chocolate chips, toffee, raspberries, anything goes! 

Straight out of the food processor, the ice cream is like soft serve. You can also freeze it for a firmer texture. I find it’s pretty hard (and therefore, brittle) when I scoop it immediately after removing it from the freezer. Just give it a minute or two to soften up. Makes a pint.

Monday, August 12, 2013

How To Choose Running Shoes

When your running shoes are so worn out that they have holes in them, or you start getting shin splints from the lack of support in your footwear, it's safe to say that you need new running shoes. 

So you go to the mall, or your local Running Room and stand in front of a wall of running shoes. But which pair do you choose?

If you're anything like me, you usually ask for advice from the sales person while telling them about your running conditions and where you need support the most. Now you no longer need to do this (I no longer will need to do this), thanks to the following chart that walks you through how to choose the proper running shoe for you!

This chart walks you through everything from the type of shoe itself, to tips for when you first try on the shoes in the store. 

Now the guess work is lowered, if not eliminated all together! 

Take Care,


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Back In Business

After weeks of inactivity due to changes with my internet service provider, I am happy to announce that I'm back, and Decor Lust will be up and running as usual. 

To my audience, I apologize for my absence, and thank you for your understanding and patience with the recent lack of posts on Decor Lust. I assure you that I am back now and will have posts resuming back on schedule as usual.

Take Care,