Monday, September 30, 2013

Quick And Easy Workout

So you only have a few minutes to workout between work, and having to get ready to go out for girls night (or guys night). No time to workout right?

Nope. Wrong. You can still squeeze in a quick workout that's still very effective. And let's be honest, getting off your butt to do a quick workout is always more productive than sitting around on the couch and watching TV. Something is better than nothing right?

With this routine, you can workout in a small amount of time, and you have the ability to make it harder by adding resistance by using hand weights. And the great thing about this routine is that you don't need any equipment, and all of these exercises are pretty well known by most people.

Take Care,


Friday, September 27, 2013

Drapery Room Dividers

Recently I have been considering downsizing and moving to a bachelor apartment. The only thing is (besides the fact that I don't want to have a smaller space) I don't like that there are no designated areas for sleeping, eating, ect. It's all open concept.

So how do you create a more private area in a bachelor apartment? You create a partition wall and/or barrier in some way.

Whether you use more traditional dividers like a folding screen or wood divider, a series of bookcases (if they have unfinished backs you can always put wall paper on the back of the units to add visual interest), or you can ceiling-mount drapery and create a  fabric divider (think hospital curtains between beds, but not so institutional looking).

I love the use of ceiling-mount drapery as a room divider. You can do so much: use more decorative hardware, keep it simple and use an I-beam or Traverse Rod, use semi-sheer fabric like you see in the image above, or for more privacy and light control you can use thicker blackout fabrics.

What do you think?

Take Care,


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Spicy Dragon Noodles

For my readers out there who love Chinese food, and/or spicy food, you're going to love this recipe: Spicy Dragon Noodles.

Not only is this recipe delicious, it's also super easy to make, and extremely inexpensive (what a bonus, right?). This recipe serves 2, so if you're feeding more people feel free to double or triple the recipe.


4 oz. lo mein noodles (or linguine if need be)
2 Tbsp butter 
¼ tsp crushed red pepper 
1 large egg 
1 Tbsp brown sugar 
1 Tbsp soy sauce 
1 Tbsp sriracha (rooster sauce) 
1 handful fresh cilantro 
1 sliced green onion 

Begin to boil water for the noodles. Once the water reaches a full boil, add the noodles and cook according to the package directions (boil for 5-7 minutes).

While waiting for the water to boil, prepare the sauce. In a small bowl stir together the brown sugar, soy sauce, and sriracha.

In a large skillet melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat. Add the red pepper to the butter as it melts. Whisk an egg in a bowl and then add to the melted butter. Stir gently and cook through. Once the egg is done cooking, turn off the heat.

When the noodles are tender, drain the water and then add them to the skillet with the cooked egg. Also add the prepared sauce. Turn the heat on to low to evaporate excess moisture, and stir until everything is coated well with the sauce. Sprinkle the sliced green and cilantro leaves (whole) on top and serve.


Note: for added protein add thinly sliced strips of chicken, beef, shrimp or tofu.

Take Care,


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Exercises For Runners

As much as I like to pride myself in being pretty fitness savvy, I have to admit that I learned something new; there are exercises that are beneficial for runners that will make them run taller, longer, and stronger.

While I did not know that these exercises are beneficial to runners, I have done every one of these exercises before, and I think it's safe to say that you have too (if not all of them, at least a few).

So here you go, 10 exercises that help runners run taller, longer, and stronger:

1.) Planks:
Prop yourself up on your elbows with your feet slightly apart. Make sure your body is aligned, your abdominal muscles are tight, and shoulders are directly above the elbows and down and back, not hunched up. Hold this position for 45 seconds to one minute. Gradually add time as your core gets stronger.

Repeat 3-5 times.

2.)  Lower Body Russian Twist:
Lie on your back with your upper legs perpendicular to the floor and your knees bent 90-degrees. Without changing the bend in your hips or knees, lower your legs to the left side of your body while keeping your shoulders in contact with the floor. Lift them back to the starting position, and repeat to the right side of your body. That's one repetition.

Repeat 10-12 times

3.) Scorpions (aka. Mountain Climber with a Twist):
Get into pushup position but with your feet on a bench. Raise your right knee toward your left shoulder as you rotate your hips up and to the left as far as you can. Then reverse directions, rotating your hips up and to the right, and try to touch your right foot to the back of your left shoulder (you won't be able to do it). That's one repetition. Continue for 30 seconds with your right leg, then switch legs.

Do as many as you can in 30 seconds. Try not to stop or rest in these 30 seconds.

4.) Back Extensions: 
Lie facedown on a stability ball with your feet spread wide for balance. Your elbows should be bent with your hands lightly touching the ground for initial support. Squeeze your glutes and lift your torso up until your body forms a straight line. As you lift your torso, allow your hands to come off the ground, keeping your elbows bent. Extend your arms overhead. Hold for one or two seconds. Release your arms and then your torso back down to the start position. That's one rep. Aim for 10-12. No stability ball? You can do the movement on an exercise mat: Raise your thighs and arms off the ground while your torso stays in contact with the ground.

Repeat 10-12 times

5.) Kettlebell Squat with Overhead Press:
Hold the kettlebell with both hands in front of your chest. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Push your hips back, and lower your body into a squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Press the kettlebell above your head, and as you stand back up, return the kettlebell to the original position.

Repeat 10-12 times

6.) Overhead Lunge:
Hold a pair of dumbbells straight above your shoulders, with your arms straight and elbows locked. Step forward with your left leg, and lower your body until your front knee is bent 90 degrees. Return to the starting position, and repeat with your right leg. That's one repetition.

Repeat 6-8 times per leg

7.) Stability Ball Jacknife:
Get into pushup position but instead of placing your feet on the floor, rest your shins on a stability ball. Pull the stability ball toward your chest by raising your hips and rounding your back as you roll the ball forward with your feet.

Repeat 10-12 times

8.) Stability Ball Hip Extensions:
Lie on your back on the floor, and place your calves on a stability ball. Extend your arms to your sides to help support and balance your body. Push your hips up so that your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Without allowing your hips to sag (keep with your body at all times), roll the ball as close as you can to your hips by bending your knees and pulling your heels toward you.

Repeat 6-8 times

9.) Rotational Shoulder Press:
Stand holding a pair of dumbbells just outside your shoulders, your palms facing each other. Press the dumbbells overhead as you rotate to your left. Lower the dumbbells as you rotate back to the center, then rotate to the right as you press the weights upward again. That's one repetition.

Repeat 6-8 times

10.) Alternating Dumbell Row:
Hold a pair of dumbbells at arm's length in front of you, palms facing your thighs. Keeping your back naturally arched, bend at the hips and lower your torso until it's nearly parallel to the floor. Keep your arms straight as you bend your hips so that the dumbbells hang straight down [1]. Pull the dumbbell in your left hand by bending your elbow and raising your upper arm toward the middle of your back [2]. Lower and repeat with your right arm. That's one repetition.

Repeat 10-12 times

This set or 10 exercises should take to 30 minutes, and when done 2-3 times per week will gradually increase your strength and stability when running. Even if you aren`t a runner, these are great, and effective resistance training exercises.

***To read more in depth, and to watch instructional videos on how to properly perform these exercises, visit the original article found on Runner`s World :

Take Care,


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Make A Statement With Your Vanity

If you`re in the beginning stages of decorating, or remodeling your bathroom, you may be wondering "how do I make this room interesting?". 

There are many ways to make a bathroom more appealing. For one thing, organization is key; use unique and interesting baskets to hold items such as toiletries and towels, add extra storage with shelving or free standing cabinetry (if you have the space for it), or you can do my personal favourite thing to spruce up a bathroom (and/or kitchen): add an accent wall.

For an accent wall, you can use a different colour of paint on the wall, a mural or adhesive wall decal, wallpaper, or like you see in the picture above, backsplash tiles.

Don't you love the look achieved here? I personally am a fan of floor to ceiling backsplash tile. The only thing I would suggest is that you be careful with the size of backsplash tile that you choose. If you have a large expanse of wall and use tiny backsplash tiles, it will look very busy and you will get tired of it pretty quick.

What do you like most about this bathroom?

Take Care,


Monday, September 23, 2013

Butternut Squash & Spinach Stuffed Shells

I don't know what it is about the fall, but it makes me want to eat super healthy and start eating squash and root vegetables like carrots and potatoes.

If you find yourself craving these things too, or are just a lover of all things squash and/or pasta, you will LOVE this recipe!

Butternut Squash & Spinach Stuffed Shells:

1-2 cups of butternut squash, peeled and cubed
a box of jumbo pasta shells (or half a box, depending on how many you plan to make)
2 cups of ricotta cheese
some parmesan cheese (to taste, about 1/4 cup)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 box of frozen spinach, cooked according to package directions and drained well
1/2 of a lemon, plus grated lemon peel
1 stick of butter
several sage leaves
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
I found a way to peel and cube your butternut squash that makes it so much easier. I can’t recall the website where I found this tip, but I’ve been doing it every time I use butternut squash for something, and I am so thankful I discovered this. First, put your whole squash in the microwave for about 3 minutes. When it is done, let it cool for a bit. Sometimes I don’t wait that long for it to cool and just wear an oven mitt while handling the squash. Put a sil-pat under your cutting board to keep it from slipping and sliding. (Genius!) Cut off both ends of the squash, so that it will stand flat. Then cut the “bulb” of the squash off from the “neck” so that you have it in two sections. Then with a small knife (not a vegetable peeler!), carefully slice off the skin in thin strips. Then cut your squash into discs. From there, cut it into cubes. You can Google this if you want to find videos and photos of how to do this.

Toss your squash cubes with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast them on a sil-pat lined baking dish for 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally.
Turn oven down to 400 degrees.

Once your squash is cooled down a bit, you can mash it slightly with a fork. It’s okay if there are still some larger chunks.

Combine the squash, ricotta, spinach, parmesan, lemon peel, garlic and a bit of salt and pepper in a bowl. Fill the shells with your mixture and place them in buttered baking dish.
Bake until heated through and the cheese is bubbling, about 20 minutes.

While the shells are baking, you can make the lemon sage butter sauce. Melt a stick of butter in a small saucepan or skillet, until brown and bubbly. Add your sage leaves and cook until slightly crisp. Remove from heat. Squeeze in the juice from your lemon. Pour lemon sage butter sauce over the shells right before serving.


I can't wait to try this, and I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I know I will!

Take Care,


Friday, September 20, 2013

Tabata Workout To Go

Lately there has been a lot of buzz around Tabata workouts. Why?
Simply because it is one of the most effectove ways to burn the maximum amount of calories, in a short amount of time. Not only that, but after you complete a Tabata workout you will continue to burn calories while your body is at a "rest state".

If you complete this workout you will have burned the amount of calories that someone else would have burned in at least double the time. And the great thing is, this workout only takes 12 minutes to go through once, or if you're really determined and want to torch even more fat & build more muscle, do this complete workout twice for a 24 minute workout.

Take Care,


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Make Use Of Wasted Space

I came across the most clever use of spring tension rods today while searching through Pinterest; spring tension rods placed between 2 walls to hold scarves like you see here, or even use for belts and/or ties.

This is such a creative reuse of drapery hardware. You can find these rods at most home decor stores, such as Sears or Bed Bath & Beyond. This just goes to show that if you think outside of the box, you can come up with some pretty amazing and creative things.

Take Care,


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wake Up With Flavours Of Fall

You know that Fall is here when Starbucks brings back the Pumpkin Spice Latte. and ladies & gentlemen, it's back!

Now if you can't always justify buying a $6 cup of coffee, but love the pumpkin spice latte like I do, here's a recipe that you can make for yourself at home.


Pumpkin Spice Lattes

6 Tbsp. pumpkin puree
1 Tbsp. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. splenda (or desired sweetener)
6 ounces milk
12 ounces strong coffee or espresso
additional milk, for frothing (if desired)
additional cinnamon (for sprinkling on top, if desired) 

In a small food processor, combine pumpkin puree, heavy cream, vanilla extract, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, splenda, and milk.  Pulse until smooth.  Evenly divide mixture between two mugs.  Heat in the microwave until hot (about a minute).  Add 6 ounces of coffee or espresso to each mug.

(Optional) Heat a few Tablespoons of milk in the microwave and use a hand-held frother (or an espresso machine attachment) to froth the milk.  Pour on top of your lattes and swirl.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.

(Serves 2). 


Take Care,


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Build Stronger Knees

It may surprise you, but many athletes (especially runners) and dancers have bad knees. No, I'm not kidding. The reason for this is because the cartilage that cushions your joints wears down, which in the long run can result in pain, inflammation, and stiffness in the knee.

Once this cartilage is worn away it cannot grow back, and in turn you will need surgery for a knee replacement. 

Don't panic though, there are stretches and exercises that can help strengthen your knees.

Stretches: IT Band
Lean into each stretch for 15 to 20 seconds, then switch sides.
Wall Banger: Stand with your right side about six to 12 inches from a wall. Squat and lean your upper body to the left until your right hip touches the wall. "It stretches the IT band and strengthens the glutes," says Nancy Cummings, Ed.D., assistant professor at Florida Southern College.

Side Stretch: Stand with your left foot crossed in front of your right, and lean your upper body to the left with your hands overhead. Lean as far as you can without bending your knees.

Backward T Stretch: Stand, feet together, facing a wall about six to 12 inches away. Hold your arms to your sides like you're forming a T. Without bending your knees, reach down and back as far as you can with your right hand.

Strength Moves: Hips, Glutes, and Quadriceps
Do independent of running so your muscles aren't fatigued during this program.
Leg Lift: Strong hip abductors help prevent strain of the IT band. "There's less torque on the band because you're decreasing the amount of hip abduction," says sports-medicine specialist Sharon Flynn, M.D. Lie on your side with your elbow on the floor. Lift your upper leg up about a foot and return to the starting position. Do 20 to 30 on each side.

Four-Way Kick: Attach your ankle to a cable machine (or use a resistance band). Face the machine. Kick your leg backward 20 times. Rotate 90 degrees and kick to the side. Repeat in all four directions (when you're facing away from the machine, kick forward). Start with two sets of 20 in each direction on each leg, and work up to three sets of 50 in each direction.

Lateral Step Up with Kick: Stand with your left side next to a step that's eight to 12 inches high. Step up with your left foot, driving the right foot in the air so it's even with your waist. Step back down and repeat. It strengthens the lateral muscle of the quad to help protect the knee, Cummings says. Do two sets of eight to 12 repetitions on each side.

Hip Lift: Balance on your right foot (use a wall for balance). With your left knee bent, drop the left hip and lift it up. "Let the hip drop, and try not to bend the left leg," says Stephen Pribut, D.P.M., a sports podiatrist in Washington, D.C. "You'll feel it in the glutes." Do 15 to 20 times on each side.

Step Down: Stand on a step on your right foot. Lower your left leg toward the floor, making sure the knee of your right leg is centered over your foot. "With the step down, you're putting more focus on the glutes," says Matt Schneider, athletic trainer and physician assistant at the Boulder (Colorado) Center for Sports Medicine. Do two sets of 10 on each.

**To read the full article, visit the following link on Runners World:

Take Care,


Monday, September 16, 2013

Organize Your Bathroom Beautifully

One of the key ways to keep your home looking beautiful, and at its best is to keep it organized and clean. Nothing can make a beautiful home look worse than a messy countertop or a floor cluttered with clothes or miscellaneous items. 

Bathrooms are a prime example of this; a once beautiful and clean bathroom can appear a mess once the coutertop is strewn with makeup and other beauty products.

Keep your bathroom organized and looking its finest with unconventional methods of organization (at least for the bathroom). Use items such as the mail organizer pictured above to sort and store items such as makeup, hair products and accessories, and small toiletries. 

You can find so many beautiful organizers in stores like Home Sense, Winners, and Marshalls that are more decorative than the usual metal or plastic office organizers. The possibilities are endless for organization. You just need to think outside of the box.

Take Care,


Friday, September 13, 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Balls

It's been a long week of working out and eating right, you're feeling great and then you see it. The box of chocolate bars at the reception desk (or by the water cooler) that someone's kid is selling for a class trip fundraiser, and just like that you want that chocolate (or something else that's not so great for you).

You don't want to ruin your progress that you've made, but you really want something sweet. What to do?!

Make these: No- Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Balls.

These are like a healthy version of a Reese's peanut butter egg. With only 52 calories per protein ball, you can indulge and rid yourself of that chocolate craving, and not feel guilty afterwards because you will not have ruined all of your hard work.


2 cups natural peanut butter, crunchy
1/2 cup agave nectar
2 scoops vanilla protein powder
Sea salt, to taste
Water, as needed.
2 cups sugar free dark chocolate
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Mix peanut butter, agave nectar, protein powder, sea salt and water in a large bowl.
2. Roll mixture into balls (approx.1 tablespoon per ball) and place in a dish, then refrigerate for 30-45 minutes.
3. In a small pot, melt the chocolate over medium-low heat, stirring often, until smooth. Stir in 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
4. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Remove balls from refrigerator.
5. Dip into melted chocolate and arrange on baking sheet.
6. Let set for 30-45 minutes, then place in the refrigerator for another 30-45 minutes before serving.
*Makes approximately 60 protein balls*

Go ahead and treat yourself, and enjoy. Moderation is key.

Take Care,


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Quick Full Body Fix

Do you ever get a voice in the back of your head when you know that you've been sitting on the couch watching TV for too long, that says "hey, I think it's time we get up and exercise now"?

No you're not crazy, and you're not alone on that one; I get that too when I've gone through a a case of the couch potatoes. So here's an effective and quick, yet challenging, full body workout to get you out of that inactive slump and back into action.

This is such a great and effective workout. If you stick to it and eat right, you will see results.

Take Care,


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Natural Wood Baths

Just when you think you've seen it all, you see something amazing like this:

A wooden bathtub. So beautiful and unique.

I saw this while looking through Pinterest and it made me stop and stare. Look at the beauty in the stain of the wood, and all of the movement in the grain. This is not just a bathtub, it is a piece of art.

I don't know about you, but I would love to have this in my home. What do you think?

Take Care,


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Healthy Stuffed Peppers

This weekend I tried stuffed peppers for the first time and all I have to say is I can't believe what I was missing out on!

I used a Weight Watcher's Recipe from my new cookbook "Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook".


1/2 lb lean ground beef (7% fat or less)
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup frozen green peas, thawed
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp tomato paste
3 garlic cloves, minced
1tsp minced fresh thyme
1 tsp minced fresh basil
4 green, red, orange or yellow peppers, tops cut and seeded
1/2 cup tomato sauce

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Mix together everything but the last 2 ingredients (peppers and tomato sauce) in a large bowl. Spoon evenly into the hollowed out peppers.
3. Stand peppers in a shallow baking dish or casserole dish. Pour tomato sauce over peppers. Add water to the baking pan; enough to come partway up the sides of the peppers.
4. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake, basting peppers occasionally with the pan liquid, for 30 minutes.
5. Uncover and bake for 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the filling is cooked through.
6. Let stand 5 minutes. Serve & Enjoy.

This recipe is so good. I encourage you to give it a try.

Take Care,


Monday, September 9, 2013

Hip Opening Stretches

It's surprising how many people have tight hips (myself included). One of the best ways to reduce the tightness of the hips, and to increase the flexibility of the hip joints is to do stretches. 

The following stretches are meant to open up your hips, and increase strength and flexibility:

If you've ever done yoga, you may recognize some of these stretches. I've tried 8 out of 10 of these and they feel unbelievable.

If you have tight hips, or are just looking for a good stretch (runners, these are great stretches for you) I highly recommend that you try these.

Take Care,


Friday, September 6, 2013

Fall Outdoor Decor

Fall is around the corner, and with that pumpkins will soon start to fill grocery stores and farmers markets near you.

Although most people love to carve pumpkins and place them on their porches, painting pumpkins is becoming more popular. Not only can you do so much, but the pumpkins will last even longer than they do when they`re hollowed out.

You can take inspiration from anywhere. I love the pumpkins above that resemble candy corn. Aren`t they so cute?!

What will you use for inspiration?

Take Care,


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Pumpkin Pie Protein Shake

Fall is around the corner, and with that comes pumpkin flavoured foods and drinks!
Here's a delicious recipe for a pumpkin pie flavoured protein shake that I found on Pinterest from Fit Sugar:

This is the perfect fall protein shake! I hope you enjoy this as much as I will. 

Take Care,


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Turn That Frown Upside Down {Positive Body Image}

With the world that we live in that focuses on the bodies of overly skinny super models, and celebrities that eat next to nothing (or have eating disorders), we all need a healthy dose of a positive body image.

Here are 10 things that we should all keep in mind when we start comparing ourselves to others, and are getting negative about the way we look and feel about ourselves:

If we all just focus on a few, if not all of these points when we're feeling down about ourselves, we will be well on our way to a healthier and more positive body image, rather than the distorted one that the media drills into our minds.

Take Care,


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Benjamin Moore Colours

I've been itching to paint my apartment for a while, but just hadn't found the colours to commit to...until now.

Introducing to you a wonderful cool neutral colour pallet from Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, Pantone, and Behr paints:

In order from left to right:
1) Sea Haze (Benjamin Moore)
2) Mink (Sherwin Williams)
3) African Violet (Pantone)
4) Twilight (Behr)

This is such a beautiful colour combination. Whether you use all 4 of these colours in one room, or use them to transition from room to room, these colours transition flawlessly.

I cannot wait to paint! If you've painted your home in any of these colours please feel free to let me know how it turned out.

Take Care,


Monday, September 2, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Quinoa

I'm currently getting serious about making healthy changes in my life, and with that comes making healthier food choices like choosing whole grains, lean meats, and increasing my intake of fresh fruit and veggies.

With that being said, I found an awesome recipe for Buffalo Chicken Quinoa. 


Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Salad with Broccoli
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 3/4 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles, plus more for garnish
  • 4 green onions chopped, save half for garnish
  • Dressing
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce (I recommend Franks)
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  1. In a fine-mesh strainer, rinse quinoa well and drain. In a medium pot, combine quinoa and water. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn heat to low. Cook until all the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, fluff the quinoa with a fork.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking make the buffalo sauce dressing and cook the chicken and broccoli. In a measuring cup or small bowl combine the olive oil, hot sauce, and seasoned salt. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
  3. Heat a medium size skillet over medium high heat Add a tablespoon of olive oil and saute the broccoli for about 5 minutes. You want it to just start to soften, but still be crisp. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the chicken to the same pan and cook the chicken for about 5 minutes or until cooked through. Add 1/4 cup or so of the buffalo sauce and cook until the chicken absorbs the sauce.
  4. When the quinoa is ready add the chicken, broccoli, carrots, shredded cabbage and as much of the dressing as desired (I ended up using all of the dressing, but we like things extra saucy) toss well. Add the blue cheese and half of the green onions. Toss again and serve warm with extra blue cheese crumbles and green onions.


I know what I'll be making as soon as I buy quinoa at the grocery store this week. I encourage that you give it a try as well.

Take Care,