A Healthier New Me

One resolution that keeps reappearing on my New Year’s resolution list is to be healthier (eat cleaner & get active).  I always start the New Year with a bang and I’m gung ho about making big changes but then I tend to fall off the bandwagon.  I’ve gained quite a bit of weight since being married and even though I would love to blame my husband’s amazing cooking for it, it simply boils down to the fact that I eat out often and I’m not as active as I should be.  I understand it’s not all about your size but I’m finding that even when I’m going up two flights of stairs, sometimes I feel winded.  When I lived in Japan in my mid 20’s I climbed 3333 stone steps with the people in my town.  I don’t think I could go up even 33 of those steps now without feeling lightheaded and out of breath.  Not to mention that some of my favourite jeans no longer fit.   This was definitely an indicator that I needed to get more active and change not only my eating habits but my lifestyle as a whole.

I had never been a fitness enthusiast.  I would always prefer to read under a tree engrossed in a novel while my dad and sister played sports such as volleyball, soccer or badminton.  My mom was the ever supportive cheerleader on the sidelines but I had no interest whatsoever in being a spectator nor a participant .  My sister was the more athletic one and played all the sports in the family.  My ideal type of workout was riding my bike or rollerblading along the river front.  I don’t really enjoy competitive sports and I recall my dad encouraging me to play soccer when I was around 12 or 13 and while I was playing defense, half the time the ball would wiz by me because I was completely bored or lost in thought thinking about what  I would do after the game.

After many years, I don’t think much has changed.  I love non-competitive activities such as yoga, and you couldn’t pay me to play on my sister’s beach volleyball team or my friends’ Dodgeball team. Just not my cup of tea.

I know many people’s workout regimens spans all sorts of activities from step classes to intense weight training, but even when I had a personal trainer I couldn’t get into those types of activities.  My trainer encouraged me to try it all  but I would much prefer to take a Zumba class or a dance class instead. Up until December,  I wasn’t even doing any of those classes.  I kept using the holidays as an excuse for my unhealthy eating and unhealthy habits.

Which brings me to my lifestyle challenge.  A few of our best friends invited my husband and I to enter a new lifestyle challenge.  It is a competition based on weight and overall look/improvement and the incentive is a large sum of money.   It really isn’t about the money, but we felt that there had to be some sort of penalty so that we don’t slack.  I have until May to present my results.  I’m not sure my Zumba or yoga classes are going to cut it but I’ll throw in some gym workouts and hopefully even if I don’t win I’ll be healthier and more active in the process.

To help kick start my new game plan, I got a few things for preparation.

  1. A Fitbit: It’s a rubber bracelet with a chip in it that syncs to your phone.  I still forget to put it on from time to time.  However, when I do wear it, I love it!  It tracks how many steps you accumulate each day.  You can also invite friends into mini challenges which motivates you to work out!

    I love a little bit of arm bling  when I ‘m not at the gym, so I love accessorizing around my Fitbit!


2. A Vitamix: Love this bad boy!  Makes the greatest shakes ever and I love having a meal out of a cup!   The big selling point for me was that it can make hot soups and will pulverize chia seeds or flax seeds.  My mom uses the NutriBullet, and is very satisfied with her shakes.  So if you have a blender you love, you can always go to the Vitamix website for cool recipes too.

3. A gym membership: I have to be honest.  I have been paying for this membership for years and most years, I just pay for it and don’t use it as much as I should.  I’m going to try to not let that happen this year!
4.  Cute gym clothes:  I know this sounds crazy but I find that if I feel good and look good in my gym clothes I’ll put more effort into my workout.  It makes me motivated to want to eventually get to the point where I can wear crop tops…not quite there yet!  My workout attire is from Lululemon.  Love the flowy outer shirt top.  I like how it goes over the sports bra (comes attached) and it conceals my tummy bulge;)  I also love shopping their:  “We Made Too Much” section…great deals to be found!

Please excuse my husband shoes, I forgot to move them for the pic!  This pic was taken for friends in our healthy challenge chat room but I thought I’d share it with you all too!  Even though it’s a challenge, we are all so supportive and encouraging!

5. A Fitbook: Helps me keep a journal of what I’m eating and record what  workout regimens I’ve been doing.  I started using the Fitbook at the end of last year.  Many love their Fitbook because they find that when you physically write things down you’ll have a better chance of getting it done.   Decided that this method was a little too time consuming for me so I’ve replaced it with the Calorie Counting App below.

6. Calorie Counter App:  Download the “My Fitness Pal” app…I love it!  It’s also able to sync with my Fitbit which is awesome!  I always said I wouldn’t be one of those people who would count calories but I realize how important it is now.  Plus this app makes it fun and enjoyable.  You can even scan the bar code of items you eat and then it will help you gauge how many calories you have consumed as well as how much more you can afford to eat that day.  You don’t need a Fitbit to use this app and to have this app work for you!

7. Yoga Studio: I have joined a yoga studio with a couple of girlfriends.  One of my friends is a yoga instructor there…so it’s great because she always pushes us to do our best!

I worked out 4 times this week!  That’s a record for me….I hope I can keep up with it!  To everyone who also has a health and fitness resolution, I wish you the best of luck!  New year… new us! 🙂

Starbucks Online Sale

48 k-cup pods for $15.57 plus tax. Came in packages of 12

If you love Starbucks and enjoy their Christmas blend, then I have an online special for you.  If you have a Keurig machine, the K-cups are on sale for $15.57 (reg. $25.95) for 24 pods. Use promo code BIG1XMASKCUP for buy one, get one free.  I got 48 k-cups for $15.57…amazing!  However, there is a standard shipping fee of $7.95 that applies if your order is under $75.  I ordered it online and within two days, the shipment arrived at my doorstep.  Enjoy the deal!



Happy 2016!

My friends and I were debating what to do for New Year’s Eve this year.  My best friend usually throws a New Year’s Eve bash at her house with all our closest friends but this year I think we may keep it low key.  They are a 4 hour drive away and we just got back into Toronto.

Last year, I was in Time Square ringing in the New Year in NYC.  It was a last minute girls’ trip to the Big Apple so it’ll be nice to spend NYE in town this year.  Although I do love getting all dressed up while anticipating the count down, just the thought of being curled up in my warm PJs at home sounds pretty amazing too. However…I have the perfect New Year’s dress and it was $12.00 at Kind Exchange!  I don’t like spending a lot on a New Year’s Eve dress, especially since I usually only wear it once.  I guess I could always keep it for next year 🙂

Glittery NYE dress from Kind Exchange

I hope everyone had an amazing and relaxing holiday!  We spent a few nights in a pretty hotel room…thanks to both sets of moms and dads:)  It was nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of the holiday and get some R&R.  I got to sleep in and read until the afternoon!  I just finished reading #GIRLBOSS…and it was a quick and easy read so I definitely recommend it.  It’s a true story about a girl finding her calling in the online fashion world selling Vintage Clothing on Ebay.  It was such a luxury for me because my husband likes to be up at the crack of dawn so his day isn’t wasted but being in a hotel allowed him to relax and sleep in with me too.  Although his relaxing includes getting up (earlier than me) and heading to the gym at the hotel.
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One of my New Year’s resolutions is to always remember how fortunate I’ve been.  Not only am I surrounded by amazing friends and family but I’m so fortunate to call Canada my home.  This year I would like to welcome all the new Syrian families arriving here in Canada.  I have to remember my humble beginnings too.  Canada allowed my family the same opportunities they are giving these Syrian families!  We also left a war torn country and came with all the uncertainties each of those families are experiencing.  During this time, my father was reminiscing about our journey to Canada. When flying over from the Cambodian refugee camp in Thailand, a wonderful family donated their children’s winter coats to my sister and I.  My parents tried to refuse but they insisted that their children had many more at home.  A Belgian musician sitting in first class slipped $20 U.S. in my coat pocket and another American family gave the same amount in my sister’s pocket.  She was only a baby and I was a toddler.  My dad wished he had the names or address of those kind-hearted folks.  We sat right behind the partition of first class.  They kept the curtains open and it allowed my father to converse with many of them in French.  During the time of the Khmer Rouge regime, my father had to conceal that he was educated.  A secret that could have cost him his life.  His secret about being able to converse in both English and French no longer had to be kept…what a blessing!

Their simple act of kindness became a part of the few possessions we had as we embarked on our journey to Canada.  It was also the driving force that gave my family the determination to become proud Canadian Citizens!

To pay it forward, we brought Christmas to the home of a new Syrian family.  My mom bought new small appliances, cutlery, cups and dishes & plates for the family.  While my sisters and best friend bought toys for the kids. We relayed the story about delivering our gifts to the family on Christmas day over dinner one night.  When my sister-in-law, Winnie, heard the story, she also wanted to contribute and she went way out!  It was such a touching and heart felt experience!  I hope we made their first Christmas in Canada a memorable one!

These gifts in the picture are all from Winnie (a few days after Christmas). She wanted to deliver them herself but that evening there was a huge snow storm so we delivered them for her.

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Our family loves spending the holidays together.  Last year, my sis Tiff got us the cutest matching onesies right before our NYE trip to New York!

This year we were twinsies with our besties!
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I wish you all a Happy and Prosperous 2016 filled with love, happiness and good health!!