I have a high-schooler?

It is hard to believe, but today I escorted my first born to his grade 9 orientation. It is something I just haven’t been able to wrap my head around. I have a high-schooler, a “minor niner” as we called them back in the day.

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I dropped the kid off in the gym with a few hundred other new students and made my way to the”parent cafe”. Here I would learn how great the school is and all the different programs and special events the school offers through out the year. I learned about an amazing art focused program the school has and wondered why my son hadn’t told me about it before (he is a very talented musician and visual artist). I quickly remembered that he didn’t tour the school with the rest of his grade 8 class because he never brought the trip form home for me to sign (typical!). During the school tour I kept looking at the pamphlet and started getting a little emotional. It made me think that today I am in a grade 9 parent information session but in a few short years I will be researching and touring colleges or universities with him. It seems so surreal that his life has gone by so quickly.

Ever since his grade 8 graduation I have been increasingly anxious for him to start high school. I don’t remember it being a very positive experience for me. There was a lot going on in my family life and I just really didn’t care about my grades and just barely scraped by. When I was 17 I dropped out of school and became pregnant with my oldest. I missed out on a lot of what makes high school so amazing. I was never encouraged to try out for teams or clubs and never really given much guidance to navigate through high school successfully. I have had a few conversations about high school over the summer with my son. Everything from making sure he is an active participant in his school (teams/clubs) to peer pressure and letting him know that girlfriends are not an important part of his school life. I try to give him just enough guidance without being a “nag” and I hope that he carries my words with him as he enters this new chapter of his life.

I want to see him be better than I was, and do better than I did. He has so much more potential than I ever did.. and I know he will do great things if he puts his mind to it.

For the record I kept my composure and didn’t cry today.. but I can’t guaruntee there won’t be a tear or two when I see him off next week.

~Jenn

 

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I am not a little fish.

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I have been in and out of the blogging world a few times over the last 5 years. My first blog was a family/parenting blog and for the longest time, I loved it. A lot of things happened within our family,health struggles with the kids,stress,etc and I really had nothing positive to write about (at least thats how I felt) so I stopped writing. When things calmed down a bit I decided I wanted to start again, only to discover my domain was sold because it came up for renewal and I never got notified. A few failed attempts with different blogs and here I am with She Lives.

It seems like every time I stepped away from blogging everything changed. New platforms, new apps and tools for blogs, PR companies looking for new stats and a million new “rules” would pop up. I always felt like I was behind the eight ball with everything and starting from scratch things felt almost unattainable. I have always struggled with the thought that I am not “good enough” in the blogging world. I don’t have the numbers, I don’t have the page views.. brands won’t notice me, I’m a small fish. This was my way of thinking before I attended #LetsGoRama and up until a few days ago I still had a tiny bit of this negativity in my head.

How did the retreat change my way of thinking? Well imagine being in a room with over 40 Social media influencers,some you have looked up to and admired,some you didn’t know until moments ago.. but all so friendly and willing to offer help and guidance whenever it was needed. Hearing some of my blogging idols (yes I am a blog fan girl!) telling me that I am enough, my numbers are enough and that I am perfect was a big moment for me and really made me see myself in a new light.

I may still doubt myself from time to time but that is normal. All I have to do is keep on moving forward and focus on where I want to go in my blogging career. Luckily I have a great support group in the community to look to for guidance when I need it.

~Jennifer

*Check back soon for a full post about my experience attending #LetsGoRama at Casino Rama Resort.

I did it! Whole 30 complete

Hello everyone!

So I did it! (whoop whoo!). I completed the Whole30.. well sorta.

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Let me explain the “sorta”. After you have completed your 30 days of eliminating added sugars,alcohol,dairy,grains and legumes you are to reintroduce each category of foods one at a time. I already know that gluten and dairy give me the most troubles so I have decided to keep to a gluten free and dairy light diet. I love me some cheese so I don’t think I could survive without it from time to time.

You are probably wondering if I ever caved.. did I slip up? Well before last weekend my answer would be absolutely NOT.. NEVER! However, last weekend was my brother in laws wedding, it was quite a far drive and consisted of sleeping in a cottage one night and a tent the other. Being at the cottage wasn’t bad because we had a fridge and stove so eating on program was easy. The next day was the wedding and I didn’t have much of a choice, I either ate or I starved. Did I go all bananas and gorge myself? No! Did I enjoy a couple of drinks during the celebrations? yes.. and I had a headache only an hour after consuming them and I felt horrid.

Other than the wedding I was able to stay on plan. I will not beat myself up over having a couple drinks and a couple little squares of desert. I need to be able to control my eating habits for the long run. I am a very social person and it just isn’t realistic that I will NEVER have a glass of wine again. Learning to control my portions and make better food choices is always going to be a struggle. This is just my reality.

What do I do now? Well I am going to continue to eat the Whole30 way. I don’t miss all the sugary snacks,the grains or legumes so they will be easy to keep out of my meals. I will continue on my journey to my best self and I will continue to blog about it here so you can all share in my struggles and my triumphs.

In 30 days I was able to:

Kick my sugar cravings
Sleep better
Improve my moods
Learn to experiment in the kitchen
Lose 11 pounds
Feel more confident in myself

If you are considering starting down the road of a healthier lifestyle I would 100% suggest you start with Whole30. If you haven’t seen my “Helpful Links” post you can check it out here.

~Jenn

DIY Watercolor mug

If you have seen any of my Whole30 posts you will notice a common theme in my breakfast pictures. MUGS! I am a collector of awesome mugs..I can’t help myself, I have a serious problem lol.

I have seen this DIY watercolour mug tutorial all over Pinterest and wondered if it really worked as easily as they say. I decided to give it a go myself, what’s one more mug right?

What you will need:
*A white mug (I got mine at the dollar store)
*Nail polish, 2 colors if you want an awesome look
*Toothpick
*A deep plastic container
*Lukewarm water
*Paper towel

What Now?
Fill your container with lukewarm water, you need enough to cover the mug without completely submerging it. Take your nail polish and pour a little bit of the first color into the water and allow it to spread out a bit. Do the same with your second color. Swirl the two colors a bit with your toothpick and then dunk your mug into the water. The nail polish will stick to the mug and when you pull it out of the water you will have an awesome,one of a kind mug! I turned my mug upside down and placed on some paper towel.Let it dry 2-3 hours and pat with a paper towel (do NOT wipe!). The design will not hold up in a dishwasher so make sure you wash it gently by hand.

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Last but not least fill with coffee.. become human (that’s what I do!)

~Jenn

Whole30-Helpful Links

Hello again!

I have been asked quite a bit over the last few weeks about Whole30 and where to get more information on the program. First off if you haven’t bought the book “Whole30” then I would definitely suggest you buy it! You can purchase it at Amazon.ca or your local bookstore. The book is filled with all the information you need to successfully complete the program along with lots of yummy looking recipes.

Pinterest is another amazing resource for Whole30 information. From shopping lists to meal plans and recipes. You can view my Pinterest board dedicated to the program here.

Just to give you an example of a typical day for me (food wise) I have listed some of my favourites below.

Breakfast

Every morning breakfast consists of two eggs.. fried,in a scramble or omelette. Along with the eggs I will have some fruit (whatever I have on hand) and a cup of coffee. Lately I have been adding some fried prosciutto because I LOVE bacon and it is hard to find bacon with zero sugar in it :(.

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Lunch

Normally for lunch I will have leftovers from the night before or a salad. My favourite salad is baby arugula and a friese/endive mix with veggies and some sort of protein (normally chicken). I always use a homemade oil/balsamic dressing and will sometimes add a bit of dijon mustard or some berries for additional flavor.

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Dinner

Always consists of a protein and LOTS of veggies. Sometimes a salad with sweet potato on the side or might be a mix of veggies.

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Snacks

I try to not snack TOO much during the day but sometimes you have to give in when a craving strikes! Luckily my cravings have switched from ice cream bars or chips to watermelon and cherries or some nuts like cashews or almonds (unsalted).

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Drinks

The only things I drink are water,coffee,fresh juices from my vitamix and this amazing concoction that my husband made. You take pure apple cider and add carbonated water to it. You get that fizzy drink without the added sugars.. it defiantly hits the spot!

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This is just a little snippet into a day of foods for me. I find this program really easy to follow and have noticed a significant change in how I feel both physically and mentally. Make sure to rid your house of any trigger foods and load up on fruits,vegetables and meats. Telling your friends and family about your decison to start Whole30 is so important. Having people in your corner to cheer you on will help keep you accountable. Luckily I have my husband joining me in this (he is responsible for most of my amazing meals) and he has done amazingly well so far.

Hopefully this post gives you a little idea of the program and what it entails. If you are considering Whole30 definitely get the book and read through it to prepare yourself. I was prepping for almost two weeks before my start date.

~Jenn

*I do not receive any compensation for Whole30 books through the amazon link

Whole30-The halfway mark

Yesterday officially marked 15 days on the Whole30 program. I must say I LOVE this way of eating! I have never once felt hungry or deprived like I thought I would. My meals are full of healthy ingredients and I have not fallen off the program once (which is HUGE for me).

This is what I have noticed in the first half of my Whole30 journey.

  1. No more stomach aches! I use to wake up every day feeling just crummy. I felt like I had something stuck in the pit of my stomach constantly before starting this.
  2. My mood is better! Those who know me outside of internet land know how stressful my day to day life is. I will admit I don’t handle stress well at times. Since being on this program though I have noticed that I am not as snippy and let things go easier. This is an awesome “side effect”, nobody wants to feel annoyed all day long.
  3. Refined sugar..alcohol.. who needs it? Not this girl!  Although I have had moments where I was really craving ice cream (it was HOT out!) or times when I would be BBQ’ing and find myself daydreaming of sipping on a nice cold cider, I haven’t missed sugar much.
  4. Things don’t fit!  My gym pants for example don’t fit me anymore. Having to pull them up every 5 seconds isn’t very fun.
  5. Things DO fit! Today I slipped into a pair of shorts that I have not been able to wear in almost 2 years. SCORE.
  6. Healthy food doesn’t have to be boring or bland! I have loved every single dishes we have made since starting this and have never felt deprived or yumminess.

Check out a few of my favourite dishes from the last 5 days. You will notice that many of them are breakfast and usually consist of eggs,meat and fruit. I use to skip breakfast a lot (I know shame on me!) but I have learned it is really one of my favourite meals of the day.

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If you want to learn how to make the Butter Chicken seen above click HERE for the recipe!

~Jenn

 

Whole30 Butter Chicken

When I first started Whole30 I was afraid my life would consist of boring chicken breasts, steamed broccoli and maybe salad. Luckily for me this hasn’t been the case on my Whole30 journey. I have found a lot of inspiration on Pinterest and have been tweaking our favourites to make them Whole30 compliant.One of my absolute favourite dishes (and the hubbys) is butter chicken. And luckily it was easy peasy to switch that to a compliant recipe.

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If you want to make the deliciousness above, these are the things you will need!

Ingredients:

800 ml coconut milk(two 400 ml cans)
1 can of tomato paste
1 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garam masala

1 head cauliflower
1 green onion
1 small white onion minced
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs

Directions: First you need to sauté your onions in a splash of olive oil. You want them to be fairly translucent before you add your spices. Next, add all of your spices,stir and let cook for about a minute then add your *ginger. Once you have all your lovely spices combined you will add your coconut milk and tomato paste. Stir until everything is combined and let simmer while you cook your chicken.

Now that your sauce is simmering away you want to cook your chicken. I like to use chicken thighs because I like how tender the meat is. You could cook your chicken in the oven but I just do it on my stove top.

While your chicken is cooking the next step is to make your cauliflower “rice”. Simply rinse your cauliflower, chop and add to your food processor (if you don’t have one you can grate it but it is a pain!). Once it is all chopped fine in the food processor, remove it and place in a microwave bow. Cover with saran wrap (or a microwave safe lid) and cook in microwave for 5-10 minutes (will vary depending on strength of your microwave).

Once your chicken is cooked, chop into smaller pieces or if you have small chicken thighs you could leave whole. Then add to your sauce. Scoop some of your “rice” onto your plate and top with the butter chicken. I like to add a bit of green onion to the top for some freshness.

Next… devour it! because it is DARN good!

 

~Jenn

 

 

 

Whole30-Week ONE

Long time no see!

I know I say it over and over again, but things have been crazy busy around here for the last little while. Business is busy which is great but leaves little to no time for my little slice of the internet and I miss you all *tear*.

Anyway, here’s a little update on what I have been up to on the healthy living front. A week ago I (along with the husband) started the Whole30 way of eating. If you have never heard of it I recommend you check out the official Whole30 website to find out all you need to know.

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For the longest time I have felt like total garbage. Always tired,moody,bloated,blotchy skin.. you name it I felt it. Being sick and tired of feeling well..sick and tired I decided to give this Whole30 thing a shot. I already suspected that Gluten was a major factor in my feeling crummy so I was working on getting that out of my diet anyway. Along with no Gluten (wheat) I am eliminating dairy,sugar,alcohol and legumes from my diet. I’m not gonna lie, the week leading up to my start date I was nervous. I had no idea what I was going to eat and thought this was going to be the WORST thing ever. I love food, yummy tasting food and surly having to cut all the above mentioned from my diet was going to mean bland gross food and I would be back to binging in no time.

WRONG!

I am in LOVE with the foods I am eating! I have even found I take more time in the kitchen and more pride in the finished product. Not only am I eating a ton of yummy and healthy food but just ONE week in and I am feeling pretty darn good. I haven’t woken up with a sore tummy for a few days now and my mind seems so much clearer.

I am a huge emotional/stress eater and for those who know me outside of internet land you know that my days are pretty much filled with both. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I haven’t wanted to dive face first into a large strawberry cheesecake blizzard from DQ because that would just be a huge lie. I can tell you that every time I have had the temptation to just binge eat on random crap I have stopped myself. You have to think of the end result and if that blizzard from DQ is worth how you will feel afterwards. NEWSFLASH it will just make you feel worse if you eat it.

Keep your eyes peeled to the blog over the next few weeks as I share more about my journey with Whole30. I will share recipes that we have enjoyed and maybe share some vlogs from time to time.

That’s all for now folks.

~Jenn

Take a trip on the chocolate trail.

About 40 minutes from where I live is where you will find Burlington,Ontario. I have never ventured around the city much other than taking a trip to IKEA or the Mapleview Mall..boy was i missing out!

I was lucky enough to be invited by the Burlington Tourism Board to take a trip on the “Chocolate Trail”and had an absolute blast. You are probably wondering what the heck I am talking about.. well let me explain. In the month of May many Burlington shops will be hosting special events,workshops and offering services all about chocolate!

This post will be a long one, so look for a few instalments over the next few days!

Our first stop of the day took us to JeSpa.. a beautiful spa located at 612 Brant St. As soon as we walked in we were greeted by Jessica who has owned the spa for 12 years. We were guided upstairs and were able to look at all of the different scrubs,masks and moisturizers that the spa has to offer. All amazing organic skincare by Eminece, a company out of Hungary that has been operating since 1958. After testing and smelling all of these fabulous things we were given a demo of the chocolate facial. The room was so relaxing I felt like I could fall asleep LOL! If you are looking for a relaxing atmosphere and knowledgeable staff then JeSpa is the place you want to be. In the month of May they will be offering and Organic Hungarian Chocolate Facial that is high in antioxidants and flavonoids that is designed to deeply hydrate the skin and a Coco-pedicure that will leave your feet feeling nourished and summer ready! Both of these services have special pricing for Chocolate month so be sure to book in soon to take advantage. 1-905-631-2951 or www.jespa.ca for more information.

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Next stop was for some lunch and a caffeine kick.. This establishment is not part of the Chocolate trail but I had such a great experience that I just had to give them a shout out. TAMP coffee Co… seriously amazing sandwich (prochuto and brie..drrool!) and a caramel latte that was straight from heaven. The staff was friendly and the food was great, they even make their own cold drip (cold brew) coffee..what more can you ask for? If you are visiting Burlington make sure you pop in for a bite or a beverage, you won’t be disappointed! 2049 Pine St Unit #65.

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Have you ever walked into a bakery and thought to yourself “Just put one of everything in my mouth RIGHT NOW!” Well that was my first thought when we stepped into Mollycakes..our next stop on the Chocolate trail. This place is not only adorable but the goodies they offer are just amazing. I am a lover of a good macaron and Mollycakes has some of the best I have ever tasted. We were treated to a demo on how to make our very own chocolate fudge buttercream and it is SO easy and delicious. Then we got to learn how to fill macarons and got to sample one and if that wasn’t awesome enough, we got to eat a peanut butter chocolate cake that was seriously the best thing I have ever put in my mouth! You can see in the photos below that it was clearly devoured LOL.

Mollycake will be holding a cake tasting in honour of chocolate month. It will cost you $10 and that will be credited back to you toward any custom order in May. You must RSVP for this event so be sure to check their Facebook page for updated information.

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If that wasn’t enough chocolatey goodness for you, check back next week for even MORE Chocolate trail amazingness!

~Jenn

 

 

7 pounds lighter

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SO.. like the title says, I am 7 lbs lighter (actually 7.5). Now before we start celebrating it could very well be because I have been sick for about 2 weeks and have barely been able to eat. My appetite has come back quite a bit over the last couple of days though.. which is good, I missed food.

Today I am starting the 21 day fix program again. Doing the work outs will be a bit of a challenge because I am still having a bit of difficulty in the breathing department. I really hope that by next week this flu has taken a hike because it REALLY sucks.

For those who may not know what the 21 day fix is.. I will give you a little low down.

The program is sold by Beachbody and was developed by Autumn Calbreese. It is based on the clean eating principals (no processed foods) and has a container system. You get so many of each coloured container every day based on your calorie target.. you don’t have to count calories just fill the proper containers with foods on the approved list and VOILA! I have done this program before and lost 15lbs so I am excited to see how it works out this time.

I would really like to lose 20lbs by my birthday in June and as long as I stay focused I know I can get to my goal. I have an adorable dress just waiting for me!

Do you have any fitness goals that you want to share? I would love to hear all about it!

~Jenn