My Pursuit of Happiness and Skinny Jeans

My journey to a smaller jean size

The Friday Five

Welcome to another edition of the Friday Five.

Here’s what’s shaking in my world!

1. I am super excited….the new season of Californication starts Sunday!   I love David Duchovny, who plays Hank Moody, the main character. When we last saw Hank, his crazy ex-girlfriend had just drugged him and left him for dead.  Can’t wait to see how he gets out of that one!

2.  I am taking today as a workout rest day.  I have worked out every day in January (with the exception of New Year’s day) and I am tired and achy.  Plus, I think my muscles deserve a break.  They have been working hard the last 10 days!
sore muscles

3.  I am loving my Polar FT40 Heart Rate monitor.  It is easy to use and comfortable to wear….both watch and monitor strap.  I love knowing how many calories I have burned doing a workout.
polar hrm
I am going to have to read the manual or look up some instructions online as to how to get more out of it.  I’ve seen other people’s pictures with some interesting screens – showing whether it is fitness or fat burning heart rate zones, and something called effect…which I think is how many calories you burn after your workout.  Hopefully I will get a chance sometime this weekend to do some investigation and figure out how to use this super cool thing!

4.  I love KenKen puzzles.  At work, we get the Globe & Mail newspaper and one of my colleagues every day, will make a copy of the puzzle page with the cryptic crossword, the Sudoku, and the KenKen.  I used to just to the Sudoku (once I finally figured out how to do them!), but just recently I started to give the KenKen a try.  kenkenTo solve a KenKen, each row and each column will contain the numbers 1 to 6 without repeating.  The numbers within the heavily outlined boxes (cages) combine using the operation given, in any order, to the target number in the cage.  Freebies are the single box cells where the number to be put in the cell is given.

For the longest time, I could not figure out how to solve these things.  Now that I have figured out how to solve these puzzles, I am addicted!  I love these stupid little puzzles.  I actually had a really big stack of old Sudoku puzzles that have built up since I was too busy to actually do the Sudoku, and now I’ve gone through them all and finished the KenKen.  It is a quick, fun, nice little mental challenge…and I’m hooked.  If you’ve never done one, give them a try.  Apparently they are good exercise for your brain!  Check out for some tips and tons of puzzles.

5.  I am getting tired of water.  I have given up drinking diet pop as part of my January goals.  So far, any time I want a pop, I have a glass of water.  I’ve been drinking a ton of water..not just to replace my pop, but drinking lots in general.  All of this water is starting to get a bit dull.  I’m getting a little lot tired of water.  I’ve put some Mio in it a couple of times to give it a bit of flavour, but I think I need to find some other substitutes.  I am going to look into some sort of club soda drink or maybe some flavoured Perrier or something.  Anything to keep me hydrated and off the diet pop.
no diet coke

Hope your Friday was a good one and that you are ready for a good weekend.  I sure am!

Do you do KenKen puzzles?  Do you love them as much as I do?
Got any tips on how to get more out of my Polar HRM?
What’s your go to refreshing drink that isn’t loaded with sugar or aspartame? 


New Things

Today was a day of new things.

I had to go to the mall to pick up a few things today, and went through Sears on my way into the mall. As I was passing the small kitchen appliance section, I noticed that the food processor I wanted was on sale for 20% off. I went and did the rest of my shopping and when I went back through Sears it seemed like it was just too good of a deal to pass up. So, I bought it!

Now I need to find a recipe that needs everything chopped!

While I was picking up the food processor, hubs was checking out the toasters. Apparently he’s not a fan of our toaster oven. Did you know that there are toasters out there that cost $179! Seriously…it’s a toaster! I refused to pay that much for a toaster. In the end, he found a Frigidaire 4 slice toaster that has a special setting for bagels.

This was also 20% off, so ended up being $89, which still seems like a ridiculous price for a toaster.

The best thing about my trip to Sears, was these both ended up being free. We cashed in some of our Sears points, so in the end, it didn’t cost us a penny! And that is awesome!

While small kitchen appliances are quite exciting, the best new thing of the day, hands down, was our visit with my new little nephew Ashton.

He is the cutest little thing, and after an early entrance to the world (he was 8 weeks early), he is doing very well, and gaining weight like crazy. Today was his 1 month birthday. He just came home from the hospital last weekend. He slept for much of our visit, but still looked absolutely adorable…wouldn’t you agree?


Today was the last day of the Mamavation Bob Harper workout challenge. We did a CrossFit workout called Karen. Apparently Karen is 150 Wall Balls. I don’t have medicine ball, so I modified by using a dumbbell and pushing it overhead instead of throwing the ball up. It was probably easier the way I did it, but 150 squats with the overhead dumbbell push was still a good challenge. I’m pretty sure I will be feeling it tomorrow. Speaking of tomorrow, it will be a rest day, and then I think I will sign up with and continue these quick but intense workouts. I need to remember to take my “after” measurements. I think I will do them Monday morning, since I took my first measurements on Monday 2 weeks ago. I’m interested to see if there are any changes. I’ll let you know.

How was your Saturday?
Did you do anything “new”?


Happy Halloween!

Happy Hump Day, everyone…we are easing ever closer to the weekend!

Today is Halloween, which is fun…but killer for those of us trying to watch what we eat.  Those damn mini chocolate bars are the devil.  Normally I hand out candy and munch away on those chocolate treats all night.  This year, I’m not sure what’s up, but I have only had 2 treats.  I had a pack of mini M&M peanuts on my way to my sister’s house to hand out candy so she could take her little ones out for trick-or-treating, and I had a mini Kit Kat after I had my post workout shower.  I am following the #EarnedMyTreat Halloween Burpee Challenge, so before I go to bed, I need to do 20 burpees.  I love chocolate, but I hate burpees…maybe that’s why I only had 2 treats tonight instead of my usual 10+ in previous years??  Who knows, but I’m okay with that.

fu burpees 
Tonight I did my Mamavation workout of the day.  Today Bob Harper led us through a 5 minute workout.  Yah, 5 minutes my ass!  It was actually 5 minutes per exercise and 3 exercises.  The first exercise was Kettle Bell Swings.  He wanted us to do a certain number of swings within a minute.  If you finish before the minute is up, you get the remainder of the minute to rest before the next minute starts.  I don’t own a kettle bell, but Bob said we could use a dumbbell in it’s place if we didn’t have one.  So, I picked up my select tec dumbbell and started swinging.  I’ve never done this type of exercise before.  It was hard work to get to the magic number each minute, but it was fun and it definitely got my heart rate up.  Next up was the same deal, five 1 minute sets of lunges.  I’m not crazy about lunges, since they make my knee tweak a bit.  I just took my time and made sure that my form was perfect and my knee didn’t feel to bad.  I could tell if my form got sloppy because my knee would let me know.  Better to do it right and pain free than to rush, get sloppy and hurt.  The final set was of high knee tuck jumps.  These bad boys are tough, but fun!  Once again, I had an awesome workout. I was sweating like mad again too.  I’m loving these Trainer Bob workouts!  Can’t wait to see what’s on tap tomorrow!  BTW….I’m still feeling my legs from Monday’s workout.  Can’t wait to see how all those lunges and jumps make my legs feel tomorrow!

sore muscles 
After my workout, and a quick shower, it was time to roast all of the seeds we got out of the 4 pumpkins we carved.  I love roasted pumpkin seeds…and they are a much healthier snack than those damn mini chocolate bards.  I got two big tubs of seeds.  I am definitely taking some to work to snack on tomorrow. 

pumpkin seeds 
Well, it’s late again, and I need to go to bed…but first i need to do 30 burpees…yep…enjoyed mini Herhsey with almonds bar while I was writing this blog.  Ugh…

What is your candy weakness?
How many burpees did you have to do today?


Day 1 of the Mamavation Challenge

Today is the first day of Mamavation’s 11th Challenge Campaign.  For 2 weeks, I will be following workouts posted by Bob Harper (yah, that Bob Harper…from the Biggest Loser) on his website. 

Today’s workout was “Lower Body and Power 1”.  This was a 15 minute circuit, with a warm up and cool down, that totally got my blood pumping and the sweat flowing!  I was actually surprised at how much of a workout it was.  I really didn’t expect to be dripping with sweat before I even finished. 

The leg workout had different varieties of squats, lunges, and dead lifts.  I think my favourite part might have been the stretching cool down.  So many great stretches that I probably should have been doing when I was running.  They all felt so good!

I had a little help and cheering section while I did my workout.  My cat Crosby was close by the whole time making sure I stuck to the program and didn’t slack off. 

crosby workout cheerleader
I have no idea what I’m in store for tomorrow…but I’m looking forward to finding out!

Today was a brutal day food-wise for me.  I had my usual whole wheat bagel and light cream cheese for breakfast once I got to the office.  I had a meeting at 11 that was supposed to take maybe an hour, but it ended up taking 3 hours!  This made going out for lunch as was initially planned not possible.  I was back to the office to get some work done, where I ate another bagel, since I didn’t bring lunch today as I was supposed to be going out for lunch with my colleagues.  Dinner tonight was a post-workout smoothie.  It was really good and quite healthy, with Greek yogurt, skim milk, frozen blueberries, flax seed, hemp seeds, some chia, vanilla protein powder and banana, but it wasn’t all that filling since I shared with hubby and the kids.  Hubs was a bit hungry later too, and we ended up having some popcorn as a snack.  So, overall, it was a bit of a carb heavy day.  Not the greatest.  Tomorrow I will bring one of my leftover clean meals for lunch and hopefully get back on track.

I have to say I’m pretty happy with my decision to focus on diet and weights for the next little while…especially given the insane weather we are having due to Hurricane Sandy.  It is super windy and very rainy and really not very good weather to run outside.  I think if Bob has any cardio as part of his workouts, I will be hitting the treadmill in the basement this week, rather than braving the crazy elements outdoors. 

Are you trying a new fitness regime?  How’s it going so far?

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Cooking with Fire!

It’s been a week since the half marathon and I haven’t run a step…..and I’m okay with that.  Hopefully I will get out once or twice a week starting soon.  For now, I’m not too worried about it.

This past week I’ve been trying to do better with my Clean Eating.  I did pretty well with my dinners, which gave me a few leftover lunches for work, but I need to do a better job with my snacking.  I’ve eaten WAY too many mini chocolate bars that we’ve got in the office for snacks.

Meals that I made this week were all from the Fall issue of Clean Eating magazines Quick & Easy Meals.  I made 4 different meals, and they were all delicious and easy to prepare.

Thursday:  Broccoli & White Bean Mac ‘n’ Cheese:  Delicious, even though I used condensed milk instead of evaporated milk!  Lesson learned.

mac n cheese

Friday:  I made 2 different dishes Friday night, since I had time and could get ahead of the game.  One dish was Curried Chicken with Apples & Pears.  This really was a quick and yummy dinner.  It took longer for the rice to cook than it did to prepare the main dish!.

chicken apple pear curry

The second dish I made Friday night was Curried Chicken & Cauliflower Soup.  This was super easy to make..chop a few things, sauté up some chicken, add broth, veggies and let it simmer.  I tried it today for lunch.  Really good, but don’t forget the dollop of Greek Yogurt.  As hubs and I were eating I kept thinking that it needed something…then we checked the recipe and saw the Greek yogurt.  We added a spoonful and it just gave it a little bit of zip and tang and turned it from okay to really good.  I’ve got enough left for lunched for most of the week!  Here’s how it looks before the yogurt goes on.

cauliflower curry soup
Sunday:  Tonight I made Pork Chops with Butternut Apple Mash.  This was another quick and easy recipe, so the special issue of Clean Eating seems to quite properly named!  For this recipe, peeling and chopping the squash was the toughest part of this recipe.  Once the squash is peeled and chopped, it is boiled until tender, with a couple of apples tossed in during the last few minutes.  This combination gets mashed with some nutmeg, freshly grated ginger, and a bit of butter for creaminess.  The pork chops are cooked in a bit of olive oil under no longer pink, then removed to a plate and tented with foil.  Add 1/2 cup of apple cider and a tbsp of pure maple syrup to the pan and simmer until it thickens a bit.  Add a dollop of butter and whisk until incorporated.  Top the pork chops with some of the sauce and serve along side some of the squash.  Deliciousness…and the kids asked for seconds, so you know it’s good!
pork chop squash mash

Now to the “fire” part of the blog.  We had a bunch of wood delivered yesterday.  Today was stacking day…and of course, it was cold and rainy while we stacked it.  It was a fairly quick job since we had the kids helping us, plus friends from around the corner came over to help as well.  Before we knew it, we had a pretty good looking wood pile and a lovely fire burning in the fireplace.

fire wood Given the crazy weather we are expecting for the next few days due to Hurricane Sandy and the “Frankenstorm” they are talking about, we may be having a few fires as we try to take the chill off.

Tomorrow I start my 2 week Mamavation Bob Harper Workout Challenge.  I’m looking forward to seeing what Bob has in store for me for the next two weeks.  It’s been quite a while since I did any strength training, so I’m sure I will feel it.  I will let you know how day 1 goes tomorrow!

For now, it’s once again very late and I need to go to bed.  When am I going to learn?

Have you made any great clean recipes?
Anyone else taking part in the 2 week challenge?

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The Friday Five

This week just flew by…having Monday off for a little family vacation day sure helped!  Here are this week’s Friday Five!


1.  I just learned that Evaporated Milk and Sweetened Condensed Milk are NOT the same thing!  Click here for a nice summary of the differences.

In my recipe that I made for dinner last night, I used Sweetened Condensed Milk, since that’s what I had on hand and didn’t realize there was a difference.  Dinner was still quite good, but I’m guessing it will taste completely different if I actually use Evaporated Milk next time!  I’ve got another recipe that I absolutely love, Eat Clean Ham, Cheese & Broccoli Casserole I’m pretty sure that my mistake of using condensed milk instead of evaporated milk is what puts it over the edge.  I’m going to keep making it the wrong way because it’s just too good to risk it!  LOL

2.  I think I’ve recovered from the Half Marathon.  I’m still basking in the glory of my 2:29:55 finish.  I refuse to call it 2:30, because 2:29 just sounds so much faster Smile.  I keep checking the race website for the race photos.  I’m dying to see the look on my face as I cross the line.  I’m sure it won’t be pretty…but will show how hard I was working to get that 2:29!  I think this might be one of the best looking race medals I’ve gotten so far.
NFIM medal 2

I’ve still got a pain in my left hip that I feel every time I step with my left foot, and I have a feeling it will be here for a while.  Last time I got this pain, it took almost 4 years to go away.  I think this time I will actually mention it to my doctor when I go for my physical in December!

3.  I’ve signed up for a 2 week challenge through Mamavation, with Bob Harper of Biggest Loser fame.  I have no idea what’s really involved, but I’m looking forward to it.  I have to record my starting measurements for weight, waist, hips and thighs.  At the end of the 2 weeks I retake these same measurements and see how they compare.  Workouts will be posted daily on 
trainer bob

I’ve been poking around the website to see what I’m in for.  From what I can tell, each day there will be an assigned task/exercise.  I am to do the task/exercise and then tweet about it using a few specific hashtags in order to be eligible from the prizes.  I think the accountability will be good for me, since we all know I can be a tad on the lazy-ass side of things!  I’ll let you know how it goes once things get started.

4.  Bon Jovi is coming back to Toronto….and I will be there!!!  I absolutely LOVE Bon Jovi, and so does my sister and our friends Jo and Trish (who also happen to be sisters).  We have gone together to see Bon Jovi every time he has come to town for probably the last 5 or 6 concerts.  We have such a great time.  This year, our other friend Erin had access to early tickets since she has Leafs season tickets (a lot of good those are doing her for hockey this year….but awesome for the JBJ pre-sale!!).  She got us tickets this morning and has decided to come with us to the show.  She has no idea what she is getting herself into.  We tend to go a bit nuts at these concerts, screaming, singing, and yelling for JBJ to take off his shirt!  The concert is Feb 17…only 113 more days!!!
JBJ feb 2013

5.  Seriously, isn’t he delicious!
bon jovi versace add

Happy Friday, everyone!

Have a great weekend!

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What’s Next? The Pursuit 3.0!

Today marks the beginning of “The Pursuit 3.0”. My original Pursuit was my training for the Toronto Women’s Half Marathon in May. The Pursuit 2.0 was my training for the Niagara Falls Half Marathon last weekend. Now I need to figure out what The Pursuit 3.0 will be.

I think that I have improved my running significantly since I started up again this past March. But training for two half marathons hasn’t left time for much else fitness-wise, and the past few months have been terrible food-wise for me as well.

So, my next pursuit is going to involve weight training and a renewed focus on eating clean.

I kicked off the Pursuit 3.0 tonight with a new Clean Eating recipe – Broccoli & White Bean Mac ‘n Cheese. This recipe is from the Fall 2012 Quick & Easy Meals edition (page 95). I’m too lazy to type out the recipe, so I just took a screen pic of the iPad with my Zinio edition of the magazine…hopefully it’s readable on screen!

This was another hit recipe…mine didn’t look quite as pretty as the magazine pic since my broccoli seemed to disintegrate as I stirred in the cheese sauce, but it sure tasted great!

And in true Clean Eating fashion, there was enough left over for me to take for lunch tomorrow – and that’s after serving 5 for dinner and hubs having seconds! I love leftovers!!!

Tonight was also my hockey night. We played the first place team in the league – which is full of young kids who grew up playing hockey…and they are good. So far this season they haven’t lost. Last time we played them they beat us 7-1…it was awful. Tonight, it was a different story. We played so well, and despite being down 2-0 we came back to win 4-3! It was an awesome game! I was a bit worried how my legs would feel, but it was great to be out there and I felt strong and had lots of energy.

Now, as always seems to be the case, it is late and my energy is gone! I’m pretty sure I can hear my bed calling my name!

Have you tried any new, awesome, Clean recipes?
What’s your latest pursuit?


Happy National Running Day!

The first Wednesday of June is National Running Day.  I had no idea, until I saw something online.

So, in honour of National Running Day, it seemed only fitting that I get back out there for my first run since my half marathon 10 days ago.  Hubs joined me and we went for a 3.5 mile easy run.  I was kind of surprised…I didn’t hate it, and it wasn’t too hard.  I think until I figure out what my next race will be, I will try to run 3-4 miles a couple of times a week.  Nothing too long, just enough to keep the legs in shape until real training starts again.

One thing that has me a bit bummed is that my sister, who I run with and sign up for races with, likely has a stress fracture of a bone in her right foot, so she is not able to run for 6-8 weeks.  That sucks for her, since she is such an active person, not being able to do anything for 2 months is going to be torture for her.  This sucks for me since it means we won’t be able to run together for most of the summer like we had planned.   There’s a chance that she may not be able to get in enough training to do a fall half marathon like we were planning.  Our best bet now will be to find an October run and keep our fingers crossed.  She is due for a bone scan on the 18th, but hopefully will get in sooner so she can learn for sure just what is wrong with her foot.

I’m still hoping to add some weight training into my workout routine, but haven’t gotten there yet.  I’m still waiting for my “New Rules of Lifting for Women” book to come available from the library.  Hopefully it comes in over the next couple of day, so I can take it up to the cottage with me this weekend and read it while I sit on the dock.

My friend Toni thinks that I should also add Hot Yoga into my routine.  She has been doing it for a while now and absolutely loves it.  Plus, she says its making her strong.  To quote her, “you won’t believe the shit I can do these days.”  That sounds like a pretty good endorsement to me!  I did go with her one time to try it out and I really liked it.  I think I will have to look at the class availability and then build myself a workout schedule that includes running, weights and yoga and see how it looks.  Somewhere in there I need to leave time for sleep too!  🙂

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person out there trying to balance work, family and fitness. How do you fit it all in?

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