Back in the Saddle?

Hey Internet-Fam,

Two days ago (on Monday) I mentioned that I was going to be doing my first run in about 6 weeks. The last time I ran was the Tuesday before I went in for pacemaker surgery. I had all of these plans and ideas about how I would stay active during my recovery because my doctors had said anything “legs” was a GO! But to (obviously) stay away from using my left arm for a good while. Then with all of those complications, my plans took a detour to relaxing on the couch or on my lounge chair in the backyard.

At first it was really hard to not be able to run/jog or weight train – but I really just didn’t have it in me. Many crafts were done during this time (more on that in future posts!).

Yesterday, the hubby and I went to our friend’s place for our Tuesday night gather. Our friend had taken some time off from running as well, so we decided to do a simple “run 2 – walk 1” interval set. There were a few times where I felt good – I could’ve kept going past the two minutes of run time, but we kept to our plan to take it easy as it was my first night back. By the time we got back to her house, we had logged just shy of 4km and it took us about a half an hour or so. Not too shabby!

I am already excited for next Tuesday when I think I’ll suggest a 3:1 interval split. Just until we’re all back to our usual non-stop 5km or more jogs. Fingers crossed!

Keep smiling
xoxo

Monday is a good day

Happy Monday Friends! (Yes, Monday’s can be happy!)
This week is a very exciting week for me for a few reasons: 
– We’re officially past “5 weeks since surgery” which means I get to attempt (emphasis on attempt) a run tomorrow. As life was before surgery, it shall be again after surgery and recovery. Tuesday is my running day! I’m not the biggest fan of running/jogging, preferring to spend my fitness time in the weight room, but I accept that it has its place.
Running is made infinitely more enjoyable when shared with friends and/or family. My sister is basically a gazelle in a human body – that girl runs like its the most awesome activity in the world. She has run half-marathons and shorter (5km) races and is currently back on the “trail” (road) logging some serious kilometres as her wedding day ticks closer and closer. She lives over an hour away from me, so we don’t often run together (that and I’m much slower in comparison, which makes it hard for either one of us depending on our pace).
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My sister and I looking absolutely fabulous post Father’s Day dinner (i’m the one with the pink/green hair and goofy face)
Tomorrow I will be running with my hubby and his co-worker. She and I are of similar heights (and leg-length!!!) which means it is a lot easier to keep pace with each other. I am anticipating it will be a slow return to form because I’ve been off for 5 weeks, but that’s okay – I’m not running any races for a while, so its more just to know I can still handle it.
This is a great start to the week because I’m getting back into my regular “after work routine.” Even though I’m still a bit limited in what I can do at the gym, I am getting myself there after work at least 3 days a week. Eventually I will be back in the groove of gymming and then when I CAN lift upper body, i’ll be ready to slowly add in some weights (one more week to go!!!).
My week in fitness usually looks a bit like this:
  • Monday: legs (usually squats, walking lunges, etc)
  • Tuesday: run (hoping to get 3km this week and slowly build back up)
  • Wednesday: REST DAY!
  • Thursday: evening yoga for an hour (which often gives me a good leg workout)… other wise I like to do deadlifts/good mornings, etc on Thursday. All posterior chain!
  • Friday: Upper body (bi’s, tri’s, delts).
Depending on my mood, i’ll throw in a “Back Day” here -n- there (seated rows, bent over rows, lat pull downs, pull ups, etc etc).
There are some other amazing things to look forward to this week:
Friday is CANADA DAY!!!!
(like how I just skip the whole week and go straight to Friday?)
The long weekend will hopefully be a mix of relaxation and rest with a sprinkle of productivity. Friday we will wish our friend a happy birthday // Saturday may have an attempt at “let’s do stuff!” but will probably end with not much going on // Sunday the hubby sings at church in the morning and we’re celebrating another friend’s birthday in the afternoon.
Of course the days between Monday and Friday are each just a special as the ones flanking the weekend! Tuesdays (as previously mentioned) are running and dinner/hangouts with our friend; Wednesday is… um…hump day (thats all I got right now); Thursday for me is usually ‘free lunch’ day at work because we watch presentations over our lunch hour… but i’m off this week so it will be my “yoga and house-love” day. See – each day has something wondrous and magical about it (i’m probably not yet convincing you, stick around … we’ll get there!).
That’s it for today – lots of things happening around here. Keep them eyes peeled for some upcoming photos. We had the pleasure of photographing my sister and her fiancé for their engagement pictures yesterday and we have a LOT of editing to do!! I am SO excited to get to share some of the pictures on here (provided I have her permission of course).
XO

Garden Meals

This week I booked Monday off to celebrate my Husband’s birthday, and I happen to be off next Friday as well. A 3-Day work week means a seriously easy meal prep adventure. I didn’t make a video this time (oh darn), but I can tell you that my lunches for the week are simple, yet effective.

We have a lovely 5’ x 5’raised garden bed in our backyard that we made ourselves. It is really handy to have veggies at our fingertips. The first year we totally jam-packed the garden: Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, etc. It was quite crowded, but managed to do alright. This year we took a more simplistic route: because of my extended hospital stay, we were unable to start most of our veggies from seed (minus last years kale seeds, which the hubby saved and magically they’ve sprouted in our mini indoor greenhouse). A trip to the garden centre meant we could plant lettuce (regular and red leaf), carrots, peppers, a tomato plant (just 1 because they make a LOT of tomatoes), and oh! Yes! We planted a cat-nip plant (Mister and Mona are quite pleased).

The lettuces have grown very well so far – we have 8 in total (4 red and 4 regular). The lettuce made up the bulk of our very light dinner last night: we still had leftover lettuce leaves (and the plants don’t even look like we harvested anything). I used up the remaining dinner salad with some extra leaves to throw together three salads topped with chopped almonds, feta cheese, and Kalamata olives. The rest of my lunch is plain greek yogurt mixed with a dribble of stevia (the plain yogurt is just too tangy for me, but the vanilla is too sugary … plain mixed with stevia is just right); some PC BlueMenu chocolate protein granola, and one triangle of jalapeno laughing cow cheese with two rice cakes.
Le YUM!

Also of note: The lady at the coffee shop at work makes the BEST chai lattes. Ermagherd.

Bridal Shower Update

Hello lovelies. I’m keeping up with this blog-post situation quite nicely, wouldn’t you say? I’m actually impressed with myself, not gonna lie. I am taking time on my weekends and days off to write out a few posts in advance (of whatever excitement i’m working on at the time) and scheduling them to be released every few days. It really is a handy feature in the blog world – even if life gets busy, your posts are released even if you forget to press “go!”

A few days ago I wrote about creating invitations on the computer with photoshop. We looked at a step-by-step Bridal Shower invitation for my sister’s upcoming party. Last Sunday, while my hubby was at work, I met my sister in London for coffee and chatties. After running some errands (me) and a workout (sister), we hit up a Starbucks for bevvies and discussion of all sorts of nonsense – Father’s day (& Grandfather’s day)/ our brother’s 24th birthday (oh gawd I’m feeling old) and also her wedding plans and how things were going. We’re into the double digits for the countdown and I know i’m only going to get more and more excited as time ticks down.

The shower that my mum and I are throwing for Big Sister is all garden tea party themed. I have all of these fun ideas running around in my head (thanks pinterest!) and really wanted old fashioned tea cups or teapots or SOMETHING to make the theme really pop. Big sister is a fan of themed anything — as long as it has direction we’re good to go. Enter “HomeSense” — I don’t really know how to describe the place, just that it seems to have everything for decoration your home. Big sister needed to check it out and invited me along to continue our date. We found some amazing goodies for her shower.

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Look at how CUTE those are! Floral and polkadots.. you are speaking my language HomeSense! We both got super excited when we came across these gems – the cups were only a few dollars, and the teapot wasn’t too pricey either. Luckily we both had a gift card (though mine had only about 3$ left on it haha).

These six teacups are going to be used as centre-pieces for the tables at the shower. We’re going to fill them up with nice big flowers. The options are big fluffy pink hydrangeas (from my garden) or perhaps I could get some faux-flowers from the dollar store. I might even go the floral shop route and pick some small, inexpensive flowers and bunch them all together.  The “head table” will be set with the pretty teapot full of flowers as well, and the 2 sugar dishes…we’ll figure that out. We plan on giving the white teapot, cups, and sugar dish as a prize for one of the games. I will also pick up a few more prizes – a bottle of wine, some artisan soaps handmade by my mum (future post topic!), and something else I can’t think of right now.

Still a lot to do for the shower: more decorations, lots of crafting on my part, thank-you gifts to put together, and of course putting it all together. Make sure you check back here for updates on how the big day is coming along!

As always, thanks for directing your webs to the Mellow Beat.

xo

Adventures in Meal Prep!

Hey friends,

Ever hear that fun quote “fail to prepare – prepare to fail” (sounds super nice, eh)?? I have heard it quite a few times, especially since really getting into fitness. Sometimes I feel like it goes nicely with “abs are made in the kitchen.” Which, between you and me, is probably why I’ll never have defined/visible abdominal muscles.

I’m not gonna lie – there was a time when this bugged me a whole bunch. I’ve never been the most athletic, or the most fit person in my family or in my group of friends. I always loved sports and was very much a team player from a young age, but it was never my passion to be the best on the field (whatever field it might be).

I started figure skating at the age of 3 (Can-Skate/Learn to Skate) and started competing at the age of 5 along with my older sister (who is ridiculously athletic). After a coaching change around the age of 7, we went from barely placing in the top 6 to getting gold medals and trophies. It was a very enjoyable time – I LOVED competing (mostly for the awesome skating costumes and the chance to present my program), but the actual practice part wasn’t always for me. It was like a full time job – almost every evening after school we were at the rink. I would never change it – it was such a good time. However, after some good chats with my parents, I decided to stop skating competitively on my 11th birthday.I couldn’t keep up with my age category anymore and that was that. Other than fun skate times and teaching the littles how to skate, my career on blades was over.

There was a 2 year adventure into karate with my younger brother, school teams (gymnastics, track and field, cross country), & a learn to row program that blossomed into a great (short) career into competitive rowing in early high school. I joined the cross-country team every year in high school (only making it to the first round of competition, but it was a good way to stay active), and after rowing I joined track-and-field (emphasis on field!).

Fast forward to 5 years ago when I finished my post-graduate studies and realized I really had no excuses for how out of shape I was. My hometown had just built a YMCA and I decided it was a good time to get back into fitness. I started very slowly – walking on the treadmill and enough cardio to get my stamina to a less embarrassing state. Once the endurance was back on track, I began weightlifting… now lemme tell you, that’s where I’m a viking. I ADORE weightlifting. Technically speaking I’m not really supposed to lift weights (thanks to the ol’ ticker), but I learned new techniques to make my limitations work for me. I have built up to moving some serious iron around in the weight room, & there will always be ways to make the weights I use seem heavier without actually lifting more than i’m allowed to.

And now to the meaning behind today’s title – Meal Prep! Recently my husband played around with the time-lapse feature on his DSLR and it made some really neat “movies” when all was said and done. My DSLR is capable of video and such, and it has an interval timer built in. It doesn’t have “time-lapse mode” (where it actually puts the video together for you), so I used the interval timer to take photos every 30sec while I worked away in the kitchen. I totally thought it was gonna make the movie for me and was quite lost when it didn’t. I watched this handy you-tube video (Time Lapse How-To) to figure it out and tadah, a time-lapse video was made. I think next time I might make an actual video and see if I can use iMovie to compress it into warp-speed. As a time-lapse from photos, the shortest each image can be is 1sec. I would love to make it even faster, but I’ll google that first.

xo

Pacemaker Update

As I write this brief (ahaha) post, it is officially the 4 week point since my surgery back in May. Its late into the evening and I’m not quite ready to hit the hay – so here I am, typing out some thoughts on how the last 4 weeks has gone for my husband and I.

I remember being devastated when i got the official news that the pacemaker was finally happening after 5 years of epic avoidance manoeuvres (okay’d by the docs of course). Mum came with me that day and I remember looking at her after the EP specialist said it was time and just breaking down into tears. It was the first big cardiac issue since my initial surgery back when I was born. A few days (and some ice cream later), I had accepted that it was happening.

Flash forward to 4 weeks ago when I went in for surgery (and the disaster that came after): In pain, swollen, and not really able to breathe. Thank God for modern medicine and the magic that made me better. Today, I’m breathing beautifully, walking at a good clip, and back to work with only small modifications for another 3-4 weeks. Life’s pretty good.

My cardiac symptoms have been minimal – just a few palpitations/extra beats (meh) and probably SVT runs (n.b.d.) … otherwise absolutely zero sensation of pauses and dizziness (low BP issues not withstanding). Of course the stress of all that good stuff made my body a little angry and I’ve got some random virus that may or may not be shingles (yay!). So a short trip to the hospital last night ended with a stop at the pharmacy for calamine lotion, gauze, paper tape, antibiotics (to prevent any infection from the maybe-shingles wounds) and shingles meds. Cause, guys, I toat’s can’t catch a break right now.

BUT on a much happier note (bc i’m all about the happy happy over here), we are celebrating a few wonderful things this weekend coming up!

  1. Sunday, June 19th is Father’s Day
  2. Monday, June 20th is my hubby’s birthday
  3. Wednesday, June 22nd is my baby brother’s 24th birthday (oh gawd!)

Saturday will have Bagel (hubby…just a nickname, he’s not actually named Bagel) and I travelling to visit with my parentals before going out for dinner with my sister and her fiancé (and our brother of course). We will be celebrating all 3 of the above magical days. Sunday Bagel and I will go visit his parents/siblings to celebrate Father’s day and his birthday. Monday we are adventuring around because we both took a vacation day for the occasion.

So I just have to get through tomorrow at work before my 3-day weekend is here! Tomorrow evening after work I will wrap presents for Dad and little-bro, fill out birthday cards/father’s day cards, and probably work on the socks i’m knitting… or be lazy and look at my knitting wishing I had Molly Weasley’s mad knitting skills (i.e. magic powers).

Til then my happy friends!

xo

ps: I just picked up “Butter Bronzer” (by Physicians Formula) … I heard it was awesome and omg it smells like the tropics! *Calgon, take me away!!!

“Paper” crafts

I am a big fan of cards, invitations, and all sorts of paper-work. I spent 4 years working in an artist’s supply shop during University and amassed quite the collection of interesting papers. My favourites are translucent papers: vellum, mylar, and even fabric-like papers (if you can call it that?). You can add these to fun paintings for extra texture, or use them on invitations and cards for an extra flair. However, when trying to create invitations in large quantities, my go-to is Photoshop. You can create amazing looks for any kind of invitation – bridal shower, baby shower, wedding, etc.

This is a snapshot of the invitations I created for my bridal shower: I had everything printed in black & white and then added double sticky tape to the chevrons and coated them in glitter from the craft store. I used pale pink and gold to match the theme of the shower. This shows the pink glitter in place, but before I made it to the gold glitter. The scroll was from a free image that I found via Pinterest and the fonts were ones I found for free on random font searches (dafont is a good place to check!)

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I created a design for my own wedding invitations all on the computer as well. It was a lot of fun and also saved us a good penny. I knew the look I wanted, all I had to do was scour the web looking for free fonts and brushes to make my idea come to life. Currently, I’m loving pinterest for different font combinations! I created some of my own brushes in photshop to use throughout our invites to make everything flow and match. It really is a great tool.

I saved the final draft as a JPG with a few copies on one “8.5 x 11” sized file instead of printing one image per sheet. This way we just had to cut out the individual images with a paper cutter and affix them to the backing card stock using double sticky tape. It helped us save a lot of money because we used less paper – I chose a dark green mica card stock for the backing and a white sparkly card stock for the “information” squares (the part where we printed out the details).

Currently, I am creating Bridal Shower invites for my sister. I went browsing through pinterest to get some ideas – I wanted to make it a kind of “garden tea-party” theme. I’m trying to use colours that make me think of the fall because that is when she’s getting married, BUT I could very well change my mind and make it all summery colours – photoshop is great like that. I’m going to take you through my process of creating these lovely Tea Party themed Bridal Shower Invites!

I plan on printing these as matte finished photos, and 4×6″ is a great size for fitting into envelopes without needing extra postage. I went in search for some free clip art (google image search is a great start). I saved and opened an image of a teapot. By clicking “ctrl + t” you bring up the transform tool. Just hold down “shift” and drag one of the corners to resize the teapot (or whatever image you choose). The shift key will allow you to keep the current proportions.

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The 4×6 “canvas” with teapot clipart. I added colour to the background and set the teapot to a separate layer.

I like to do every little step on a new layer. This means its much easier to make adjustments afterwards without having to change the whole thing. On a new layer, create some text: “Time for Tea with the Bride to Be” has a nice ring to it! As long as your font is legible and not too busy, it will print out just fine.Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 9.31.14 PM

Next, I used a font that was entirely scroll work – select the scroll you like and adjust the size the same way you’d change your font size. If you use an image of a scroll (instead of a font), you can adjust the size the same way we changed the teapot in the steps above. Add the bride-to-be’s name and Voila!

Underneath the teapot and scroll, add the key information: Location, Date, Time, etc. (I blurred out that information as we haven’t had the big to-do yet). You could also add the information about the bride’s registry here, or as a fun “tea-themed” sparkle, create a separate image in the shape of a square. Cut this out, add some fun string or ribbon affixing it to the main invite. It’s almost like the little tab on a teabag. This is of course just some extra pizzaz, if you’re worried about guests seeing this information, just add it to the bottom of the tea-pot image. I added some lovely flowers in complimentary colours to make it more garden like.

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Once you’re happy with all of your colours and such, you can merge all of the layers (ctrl+ shift+ E I believe) and save it as a JPEG. I would also suggest saving the non-merged file as a “.psd” (photoshop file) so that you can open it and make changes at any time before it goes to print.
Hope this fun DIY post was helpful – it really is great being able to create your own invites and cards. All one of a kind like you!

xo