August 30, 2016

Fitness & Pregnancy the Second Time Around

I've talked about it before, but I will mention it again: working out on a consistent basis does not come naturally for me. I so wish it did though. Instead, it's something I really have to work at and force myself to do. Don't get me wrong, I love a good work out, and I love group fitness classes, but the struggle to get from my place of comfort to doing said workout is a constant battle.
Fitness & Pregnancy
Prior to getting pregnant with Sully (more than 3 years ago now), I was in pretty good shape and happy with my physical self. I was going to GoodLife Fitness regularly and surprisingly, workouts were easily a part of my routine at that point in my life. I remember always saying to myself, "when I get pregnant, I'm going to be one of those super fit pregnant mama's and I'm going to stay really active throughout my pregnancy".

Then I got pregnant in May of 2013, but I didn't find out I was pregnant until almost the end of June, at 6 weeks pregnant. During that time, I was still going to the gym, and the last class I remember taking at GoodLife Fitness was a BodyStep Class. I was probably around 5 weeks pregnant at the time. The class was in the morning, I had eaten my usual pre-workout breakfast and I felt no different than usual going into it.

The class was tough. I had never done a BodyStep class before (although I'm no stranger to regular step classes), and it was intense. About 3/4 of the way through, I felt terrible. I was weak, getting dizzy and seeing stars. All I wanted to do was lay down or leave, but there were only 5 of us in the class and my pride forced me to stay. Thankfully, I was able to finish the class without passing out.

During this time, my in-laws were in town visiting and we were all getting ready to fly back to Nova Scotia together for a wedding, so I didn't make it back to the gym before leaving. I found out the day before we left that I was pregnant. In hindsight, I knew that was probably why I felt so different during that class. But I'm not going to the time, I was nervous to go back to a group fitness class. It was a hot and humid June/July in Nova Scotia (I was there for three weeks), and the exhaustion that comes with your first trimester hit me hard. It was a miracle if I could get through showering and blow drying my hair without passing out.

Anyway, eventually I returned back home, returned to work, but what I didn't return to was working out. I was tired, the debilitating SI joint pain I experienced from early on in my pregnancy was horrible, and I really just had no motivation. I spent the rest of that pregnancy in-active except for daily walks with Saigon and Jim, but even those grew less and less as winter approached and my hip-pain grew worse.

Luckily, I didn't gain very much weight during my first pregnancy, and while I lost it all initially very quickly, over the next two years, it crept back on and then some. I knew I wanted to be in better shape physically before getting pregnant a second time, but I just couldn't get to that place in time.

My life is different going into this pregnancy though. My lifestyle, for one, has changed since moving to Calgary. I have a great group of friends here who keep me active, something I didn't have in Edmonton (back then it was just me and the gym). I have ran 3 races this pregnancy, have attended a two hour Yogathon, and continue to go to BodyFlow classes and GoodLife Fitness. Not to mention, I have an active toddler that keeps me on my feet and out and about.
Fitness and Pregnancy
I'm not going to pretend to be someone I'm not. I don't work out everyday and for the rest of this pregnancy, I won't. I still wish I were one of those super fit pregnant mommas, but I'm not, and I'm okay with that. My first pregnancy taught me that the body is a miraculous thing, and while I might not have entered this pregnancy at a comfortable place physically speaking, I can accept that because pregnancy and getting pregnant is something I consider a miracle and I am just grateful that my body has allowed this to happen again.

So going forward, I hope to continue with the activity that I have been keeping up with and I hope every day that the hip-pain I had with Sully doesn't rear its ugly head this time around. I don't think I will be running anymore until after this baby comes, but I plan to continue with classes at the gym, attend group fitness events with my friends if the occasion arises, and continue to get out for walks and bike rides with Sully while the weather still permits. Basically, organized activities outside of the house I am much more inclined to want to do!

I know remaining active during your pregnancy is so important, so while I may not be busting out my 21 Day Fix workout videos anytime soon, I will strive to just keep on moving.

*This post was written as part of the GoodLife Fitness Blogger Ambassador program, 
however all opinions expressed are my own.

August 29, 2016

Cooking Made Easy with Chef's Plate!

This post was sponsored by Chef's Plate. Thank you for your support for the company's that make this hobby of mine possible. As always, all opinions and reviews expressed are my own. At the bottom of the post is a promo code for A Slice of Brie readers!

The other week, I finally got to try out Canada's new meal-delivery service, Chef's Plate. When I first caught wind that such a service was available in Canada, I knew immediately it was something I wanted to try. Fresh, locally sourced ingredients, delivered right to your door ready for you to cook up? Sign me up!
Chef's Plate Meal Delivery Service Review
Chef's Plate utilizes the freshest ingredients while sourcing and building relationships with local farmers in order to provide high quality and truly special meals. Because the exact amount of ingredients are sent to you to prepare your meal, waste is eliminated, and all ingredients are arrive fresher than you would find at the grocery store, and all meats are hormone and antibiotic free. A true foodie's dream all wrapped up in a refrigerated box that is sent right to your front door!
Chef's Plate Meal Delivery Service Review
Every week, a new menu is available to choose from on the Chef's Plate website, and you can choose from the 2-person plan, or the family plan. Each meal option gives you a description of the recipe, the ingredients you will be sent, as well as the difficulty level and the amount of time the recipe should take you to cook. 

I decided to choose meals that utilized ingredients that I don't normally cook with. I love to cook, and I especially love trying new recipes, but sometimes buying a whole bunch of ingredients just to try something new is costly, wasteful and overwhelming. Chef's Plate solves that dilemma for you since you are only sent exactly what you need. The only things you are already required to have on hand are cooking oils and salt and pepper. So with that in mind, I chose the Glazed Turkey Tenderloin with black and white quinoa, baby greens, and pomegranate molasses. For our second meal, I went with the Singapore Shrimp toasted in a sesame curry sauce with bell pepper and rice noodles.
Chef's Plate Meal Delivery Service Review
Once I placed my order, I was given a delivery date, and while the delivery time is quite open, you are able to attach specific instructions as needed. I made note that my box could be left on my front porch if I was not home to receive it, and it was. Since the box is refrigerated, it is safe for it to sit out for several hours. The other great thing about the box is all the packaging is completely recyclable, making for a truly waste free experience. 

The first night, I made the Glazed Turkey Tenderloin. I have never cooked turkey tenderloin before, but after that meal, I can tell you it won't be my last. This meal was so delicious that I still think about if from time to time. No leftovers were to be found and even my toddler enjoyed some of it (although I really didn't want to have to share!). 
Chef's Plate Meal Delivery Service Review
Chef's Plate Meal Delivery Service Review
Chef's Plate Meal Delivery Service Review
Chef's Plate Meal Delivery Service Review
On our second night, I cooked up the Singapore Shrimp. I've never cooked glass noodles before, and I don't think I would have ever had the courage to do so before this. This meal also turned out great and was a big hit with all of us! Even though it was a meal for two, it fed all three of us and we even had leftovers for the next day. This recipe was a lot of fun because it was something different than I normally cook and felt like a meal we would usually only ever order out. 
Chef's Plate Meal Delivery Service Review
Chef's Plate Meal Delivery Service Review
Chef's Plate Meal Delivery Service Review
Chef's Plate Meal Delivery Service Review
Even though I cook frequently and try new recipes all the time, I still really appreciate step-by-step instructions. Along with your ingredients, you are also sent a photo of the meal you will be making which includes the ingredients, number of servings, difficulty level, prep time and nutritional break-down. On the back of the card there are step by step instructions including pictures. I loved this! I am such a visual person when it comes to cooking and this just made the whole process stress-free. The recipes even had a "chef's tip" at the bottom which I found very helpful too. And the neat part is, I can now replicate these recipes at home any time I wish since I have the instructions.

Overall, I was so impressed with Chef's Plate. It was incredibly easy to order my meals, I was more than satisfied with the quality and freshness of the ingredients, and my meals actually turned out just like they look on the cards. I think it's so fantastic that a service like this is finally available in Canada. The average cost per person per meal is around $10-12 dollars, which, when you think about the cost of eating out, is very reasonable. I know I cannot take my family out to a restaurant for dinner for less than $30, and so often I leave disappointed. If you already love to cook, or if you are someone who wants to cook more often and aren't as brave in the kitchen, then this is a great option for you! I love that the guess work was taken out of it for me: how tiring is the old question "what should we have for dinner tonight"?! I think this is a fun way to make meal planning a little more exciting and easier. Or a great idea for a stay-in date night. Or even a thoughtful gift for someone! Really, I can't see anyone not enjoying this service.

Have I convinced you to want to try this yet?! Honestly, this will not be the last time I order from Chef's Plate. Luckily for you, if you too want to try them out, you can use code #ASLICEOFBRIE to receive 3 free plate credits (that's a savings of $33!) . I promise, you won't be disappointed!

Chef's Plate Meal Delivery Service Review
{my sous chef!}

Have you ever used a meal delivery service?

August 26, 2016

Sully Says Vol. II

It's been five months since I did my first Sully Says post and I can't get over how much his speech and vocabulary has changed! He is no longer saying just words or short sentences. He talks non-stop all day long, asks tons of questions and is actually quite bossy (he comes by it honestly though!).
Here's some of my favourite things he's been saying lately:

Sully: What you got mama?!
Me: It’s cinnamon! 
Sully: OH! Cinnamon!
Me: Here, smell it!
Sully: “Mmm I LUB cinnamon!"

Whenever I offer him a bite of my food:
Me: Here, try a bite of this.
Sully: No sanks! I can't yike that!

Dat's SPICY! After insisting he wanted a lemon slice.

Me: Did you poop?
Sully: No!
Me: Are you lying?
Sully: No, I'm Su-yee! (Sully)

Me: What's in mama's belly?
Sully: A baby's in mama's belly! I see it?!
Me: No, you can't see it yet.
Sully: IT'S GONE!

It's so windy! On my head! I need go inside!
Looking at a bull at the livestock exhibit at the Stampede:
Sully: Look! It's a sheep...or maybe a pig.

Climbing at the park:
Sully: Be careful honey, be careful.

Take this off! It hurts my boobies! Referring to his car seat straps.

When he should be sleeping:
GOODNIGHT! I LUB YOU! GO TO BED! and repeat over and over.

Turn the fan off mama! Turn it off! When we were driving with the sunroof open.

One weekend we drove to the mountains and told Sully we would have a picnic when we got there. I laid out our snacks on a picnic table and Sully just sat there with a huge look of disappointment on his face and says: I want a pig-nic! Where's the pig-nic?!

Oh no! It's raining out! Da TUNDER IS COMING! Big tunder, mama, a big one!

Me: Did you have a good nap?
Sully: Yup! But I can't sleep no more. I not tired now. 

August 25, 2016

Walk A Mile in Their Shoes

Walk a mile in their shoes. We all know this famous quote (or some near version of it), and I would bet money that we've all made reference to it in some context or another. I know I sure have. Sometimes I say it jokingly, and sometimes I'm more serious about it. But what I'm not sure about is, have I ever really, truly experienced it?

Let's back up and allow me tell you a story. The other day, I booked my vehicle in to get something minor fixed on it, but it was something that required the dealership to have my car all day. Our dealership is located within walking distance to a big mall and a train station so I figured no big deal, I would drop the vehicle off and treat Sully to a train ride home.

Of course, the day of my appointment, it was so windy, a bit rainy and quite cold out. Murphy's Law. But off we went, dressing appropriately for the weather. After we dropped the vehicle off, we headed over to the mall to get smoothies (I had a 2 for 1 coupon burning a hole in my pocket). This required walking around and behind the dealership to get to the overpass in order to cross over the busy road. Walking over the bridge in the extreme wind was terrifying to say the least.

Anyway, after roaming around the mall for an hour, I figured it was time to head home for lunch and naps. This again required us navigating over a different overpass to get to the train station. Once there, I followed where I thought the handicap signs were leading me, which was up another steep ramp. Here, I purchased my train ticket and then I realized that there was no way for me to access the train deck which was below us. I either had to go back down the ramp or use the stairs or escalator (not happening since I had a stroller with me). But I was so confused, because I didn't understand how going back down the ramp would get me to the train deck since the signs lead me up it in the first place! Luckily, right away this young guy saw me and offered to help carry my stroller down the stairs (thank you nice, young guy!!). Then he showed me that to access the train, it was actually at the far end of the track on the other side. Sigh. I can't stand poor signage.
After a quick train ride, we then had to hop on a bus to get the rest of the way home. The bus ride is short, but it always sits at the bus stop outside the train station for ten minutes before it takes off again. Thankfully, Sully thinks trains and buses are the most fun thing ever, so he wasn't complaining.

Eventually, we made it home, just in time for an epic meltdown most likely related to being hungry and over tired.


After a quick lunch and an hour and a half nap, it was time to do it all over again. That's right, we bundled back up, searched the house for twenty minutes for enough bus fare, headed to the bus stop, took the bus to the train station, ran for the train just missing it by ten seconds, then waited 10 minutes for the next one, took the train to the station where I thankfully now knew how to exit the platform safely, walked over the overpass to the mall parking lot, walked through the parking lot and then over the second overpass that led us to the backside of the dealership, arriving 5 minutes before they closed. All in all, this took us about an hour from door to door.

Anyway, the point of this post isn't to complain. Or whine. Or anything like that. The point of it is this: after spending the day utilizing public transportation I have a newfound respect for mother's (and father's) and caregivers with small children who have to rely on public transport every single day. Especially in a more suburban environment, where the public transit, while efficient in some ways, is also inconvenient at times.  I truly don't know how they do it.

So yes, I do feel like I "walked a mile in their shoes" the other day. Both figuratively and literally. And I know this quote is more directed toward not judging other's, but I still think the saying applies. I love days like this one described above because it reminds me to not take what I have for granted. It's so easy to go day to day not really appreciating all that I have, or how easy my life might be in comparison to someone else. The reminder was well-timed and welcomed. I never want to take my life for granted and forget to be thankful for what I have. And I'm not trying to sound superior here because I don't have to rely on something like public transportation in my day to day life (my husband does though). I'm just reflecting and acknowledging that while I always see people waiting for the bus and trains with young children, I guess I never really truly knew all that that entailed. And if you happen to be on a public bus or train, and a child is having a melt-down or crying, take a moment and appreciate what that mother, father, or caregiver is trying to accomplish that day instead of judging them for having a "mis-behaved" child. We never really know what is going on in someone else's life.

When's the last time you "walked a mile" in someone else's shoes?

August 23, 2016

A Slice of Brie Book Club: September's Pick!

Hello Book Clubbers! Like I mentioned in this post, due to scheduling of past book clubs, we're just going to skip an actual August book and move on to a September book. It was a pretty unanimous decision for the next book, and I have to say, I'm really glad it was picked! I've heard and read nothing but great things about One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid. 

An online book club for One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Synopsis from Goodreads:
In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure.
On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever.
Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness.
That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancĂ©, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves.
Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly?
Emma knows she has to listen to her heart. She’s just not sure what it’s saying.

If you're new to book club, then welcome! You can read more about book club in 
this post, but here's the gist of it:
  • Book Club for One True Loves will be on Wednesday, September 21. My post with review and thoughts, along with some discussion questions, will go live the morning of. This gives you exactly 4 weeks to read the book.
  • Come visit the post, share your feelings and opinions on the book and participate in the discussion! (Of course, participation isn't mandatory - you're more than welcome to just read along quietly!)
  • There will be a link-up for bloggers who have written their own review post, or have reviewed the book in another post. You can use this graphic to link back, or grab my button from my side bar. Writing a post is totally optional and not mandatory.
An online book club for One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • EVERYONE is welcome! You do not have to have a blog to participate. My blog is just the space where I host the book club, but I encourage everyone to join - tell your friends! :)
  • On September 21, we will vote for October's book pick. If you have any books you'd like to suggest for voting on, please let me know and I will try to include them!
  • Most importantly, have fun! There's no pressure or obligation to "sign-up" or "RSVP". You can choose to read the book now, or closer to the date we meet to talk about it. It doesn't matter to me! 
  • For my local friends: there are 9 copies of One True Loves at the Calgary Library, and there are currently 2 copies available at this time, so get your holds in! You can also order this book through Chapters (<---affiliate link), or Amazon

I hope you'll be joining us next month! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask! Otherwise, happy reading and I can't wait to meet back in a month to talk about this book! 

August 17, 2016

A Slice of Brie Book Club: Keep Me Posted (& Next Month's Book Pick)

Hey there Book Clubbers! Sorry again about the confusion yesterday, I promise it won't happen again! Hope you're ready to talk about July's book....
Keep Me Posted by Lisa Beazley was a book that I kept seeing pop up all over my social media so I was pretty excited that it was the book picked. Sometimes it seems so rare that I read a book while it's still current, you know? Anyway, just a few reminders here before we get into the book...if this is your first time here, this is your warning that this post will have spoilers (what would a book club discussion be otherwise?!) At the end of the post, I will have a few questions to get the discussion going which you can answer in the comments section if you like. And lastly, if you have a blog post about the book, you can link up at the end of this post!

Also - if you aren't here to discuss Keep Me Posted, but would like to participate in the next book club, then be sure to jump to the end of this post to vote on the book you'd like to read for September! (Because of scheduling for this month, we're just going to skip having an actual August book). If you're new to A Slice of Brie Book club, in a nutshell, it's an online book club for fellow book lovers. A place to talk about a chosen book from the comfort of your own home/computer! Everyone is welcome (so tell your friends!), and you definitely do not have to have a blog to participate. Every month, we vote on which book to read for the following month. The poll will stay open until Sunday night and I will announce the book next Tuesday. No commitment to join, but if you've ever wanted to join a book club, this is a great place to start!


Ok! So on to Keep Me Posted! This was the perfect middle of summer read, in my opinion. Life has been super busy this past month and out of the entire year, this is the least amount of reading I've done. But I really did enjoy this book. Quickly, this book is about two sisters - Cassie and Sid - who live across the world from each other. Cassie is in NYC with her husband and twin toddlers, and Sid is in Singapore with her husband, her teenage son, and her toddler. Cassie lives for social media, and Sid doesn't even exist on it, so one Christmas, they decide to go old school and start a correspondence via letter writing in hopes to get to know one another again. This all seems like a fabulous idea until Cassie decides she wants to preserve every single letter sent and received and uploads them all to a private blog she creates. Except said private blog somehow becomes public one day and all of their private and intimate letters are out there for anyone to read. And before Cassie even has time to do damage control, the blog is getting some serious attention. 

Keep Me Posted was a fun read and I loved the concept of going back to hand writing real letters and sending them by snail mail. It brought back the days of my childhood when I had a handful of pen-pals I loved writing to. It really made me wonder if penning letters and mailing them is truly a dying art? I know I no longer write letters to anyone and it's a miracle if I can get a card in the mail on time. This kind of makes me sad and I'm tempted to convince my own sister to embark on a similar journey as the sisters in the book. 

Anyway...I really liked both Sid and Cassie, and I felt I could relate to a lot of what Cassie was going through as a stay at home mom of toddlers. I liked her relationship she had with her husband and I was rooting for them the whole time. I was so mad when Cassie got sloppy and kissed her ex-boyfriend, but I was so glad that it didn't progress to more than that. I also thought it was incredibly dumb that Cassie choose a private blog as the means to preserve her and Sid's correspondence. Couldn't she have just scanned them and saved them in a folder on her desktop?! Or printed out her scanned copies of her letters and made a scrapbook? I know there would be no book without this part, and I guess people do do dumb things all the time.

My biggest beef with this book was the blowing up of the blog once it went public. There are a billion blogs out there and if no one knows about your blog, the odds of someone finding out about it are pretty slim, no? I mean, most bloggers I know work their butts off to get their writing out there and to gain readership. It doesn't happen overnight and certainly doesn't happen to a blog that is just out there sitting there. How did people even stumble across it, let alone tens of thousands of people? I dunno, am I the naive one here, or am I reading too much into this? 

I also felt that Cassie's husband's response towards the blog going viral was a bit of an overreaction. Not that he didn't have a right to be upset, but he really punished her for an honest mistake. And not even for the fact that she kissed another guy, but just for the reason that she was stupid enough to post the letters on the blog. I'm glad they were able to work through it, but I didn't think he needed to make Cassie suffer for as long as he did. 

The ending, while I liked it, wrapped up a little too perfectly. A perfect solution to everyone's problems! How nice! Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a happy ending, and this one definitely was one. And I like when everything is tied up at the end without leaving the reader with too many "but what happened next?!" thoughts. But this ending was just a little too neat. 

QUESTIONS FOR YOU! (Feel free to discuss in the comments!)

1. Could you relate to what either of the sister's was going through in their personal lives? Did you relate to one more than the other, or neither of them? I could definitely relate to some of what Cassie was going through - the struggles with being a stay at home mom, the old wardrobe, the frequent use of Facebook - but I can't say that I understood her need or mistake to make out with an old flame or the lack of communication in her marriage. 

2. Do you think it was dumb that Cassie chose to save the letters in the way she did, by uploading them to the internet? Or in theory, was it a good way? Would you have done the same to keep a record of the correspondence? So dumb. BUT, as someone who puts a lot of her life out there on the internet, I get it, although I would never do something like she did with the intent of making it private. Does that make sense? If I truly wanted to keep something private, I would not be uploading it to the internet. In the spirit of handwriting letters, I like to think I would save them all in a scrapbook/journal thing. 

3. Do you feel Cassie's husband Leo's reaction to the letters going public was justified, or do you think he overreacted? I totally think he overreacted. Or at least, I think he shouldn't have shut Cassie out as much as he did, or for as long. Even when they "resolved" all their problems, there wasn't much of a conversation, and that kind of bugged me

4. Did you like how relevant this book was to today? So many books, while taking place in present day, don't make mention to things like Facebook, social media, blogs, etc, in efforts to not date a book. Do you think this book will still be relevant or relatable to people reading it in 5 years, 10, longer? I like both: I like when a book doesn't date itself by including too much pop culture or things (like Facebook or Instagram) that could potentially not be relevant to future readers. But a book like this is also really enjoyable because it's relatable to real life. Texting and Facebook and social media aren't going anywhere. 



Here are the choices for September's book club. Since it's already the middle of August, we're just going to skip having an August book, and get right to September's. Even if you aren't sure you can participate, vote anyway! You never know if you might get a chance to read it and participation can be anonymous if you like :) So vote for a book, and then next Tuesday I will announce the winner!

Links to check out these books on Goodreads: One True Loves//The Mountain Story//One Plus One

And now to vote!

Happy voting! Don't forget to link up your posts so that I can check them out!

August 16, 2016

Book Club Postponed to Tomorrow!

Hey Bookworms!

If you're here, that's probably because it's supposed to be book club day and you're expecting a discussion post all about Keep Me Posted. I am currently visiting my grandma out on her farm and a blogger's worst nightmare has just happened: I forgot to bring my laptop charger with me. And I'm sorry, there's just no way I can crank out a Book Club post on my phone! Actually, I wouldn't even know how to do that, not to mention, I'm still sporting a phone that has a severely cracked screen, so ya, that's not happening!

Anyway, I'm sorry to delay the discussion, but come back tomorrow and we will talk all about Keep Me Posted! (Or maybe this is a blessing in disguise because you need an extra day to finish the book, haha!)

I better schedule t this post before my 5% battery life is completely gone ;)

August 15, 2016


I am pleased to be partnering with Yogathon Rise for a Cause to help bring awareness to this event. 
All opinions expressed are my own. 
On Saturday, August 20th, the 5th annual Yogathon will be taking place across more than 50 cities worldwide. Calgary just so happens to be one of the 12 Canadian cities this event is taking place in. Yogathon Rise for a Cause is program that benefits disadvantaged children in India by providing them with free education. I have never participated in this event before, but I am more than honoured to be partaking in the Yogathon this upcoming weekend. 

Yogathon Rise for a Cause is more than just a fundraiser though. Its goal is to build community while also raising awareness about children and their right to receive an education. Sometimes it's easy to forget that not everyone in this world is so fortunate as to have access to an education program. And I know that I often take for granted my own education and how easy it was to achieve. Unfortunately, for many kids in the world, receiving an education isn't a right. When Yogathon approached me to help spread the word about this powerful initiative taking place right in my own city, I knew it was a cause I wanted to stand behind. There's no denying that education equals opportunity, and if I can help bring more awareness to Yogathon Rise for a Cause, then I know I will have helped make a difference.

Through Care for Children, more than 53,000 underprivileged youth in rural India will gain access to education in more than 425 free schools. This in turn will provide these children with the tools, knowledge, skills and confidence to better assist them in shaping better lives for their futures. And not just their futures, but those of their families as well.
Saturday's Yogathon is a sun-salutation challenge. The challenge being to complete 108 sun-salutations along with yogis (beginner to advanced), from all over the world! Stephen Avenue will be transformed into one big outdoor yoga studio! The challenge will be lead by some of Calgary's top Yoga instructors.

So if you don't already have plans this Saturday, I hope you will come join myself and my good friend (and fellow blogger) Ange while we participate in the Yogathon and help bring awareness to this wonderful cause! If I can challenge my pregnant self to do 108 sun-salutations, you can too! I hope to see you there!


PRE-REGISTER HERE: There is a $25 sponsorship fee towards Care for Children.
WHEN: Saturday, August 20th, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
WHERE: 100 Stephen Ave SE, Calgary

If you're interested in participating in this global event outside of Calgary, you can check HERE to see if Yogathon is happening in your city!

For more information and news regarding Yogathon, you can follow along on their social media sites:

Have you ever participated in Yogathon?

Let me know if I can look forward to seeing you on Saturday!

August 09, 2016

The Books I've Been Reading {#11}

At the beginning of the year, I set my reading challenge at 30 books. Given my results of the past few years, I figured this was a good number to aim for, and one I was confident I would be able to achieve. My reading has been on a role since January, and I am finding myself flying through books faster than I ever thought possible. It's been such a treat to knock off books that have been on my TBR list for months and years. I'm also really pleased that as of July, I have already creeped past my goal of reading 30 books! I'm not sure if I will be able to keep this momentum up until the end of the year, but I know I will be happy now with whatever number I hit by the end of December.

Anyway! On to the books I read in July! I read 5 novels, and one novella. A few were big flops for me, while a few I absolutely adored.

Book Reviews Adult Fiction

1. The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan: this was my online book club pick for June, and I LOVED it. It had actually been sitting on my shelf for months, and I don't know why I never picked it up sooner (#TBRproblems). It was cute, fun, but not completely fluff. An easy read, and one I was pulled into and didn't want to end. You can read my full review here.

2. After You by Jojo Moyes: I talked about re-reading Me Before You last month and about how much I adored it even the second time around. I figured it was a good time to read After You, but man, I struggled with this book. I think I'm in the minority with this one, but I really didn't like it. I think the biggest problem is that what I loved so much about Me Before You was the relationship between Louisa and Will. The book just wasn't the same without Will. And I just didn't like the angle this book took. It bothered me that Lou was still wasting away her life, not doing anything, never thinking about herself first. I wasn't crazy about the new character (Lily), and even Lou's mom was kind of odd with her whole feminism awakening thing going on. I'm not sure what I wanted from this book, but I didn't get it. I even tried (as was recommended to me) to think about this book as a standalone one, and not as one in comparison to Me Before You, but I think I liked it even less then! Funnily enough, with all that said, if there was a third book, I would still read it! Haha.

3. The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson: I was really excited to read this book, especially after two of my friends gave it 5 star reviews. Sadly, it was a complete flop for me (2 stars). Maybe I just don't do "weird", or maybe I took the book too literally, but for me, it was just depressing and I couldn't find anything funny or endearing about it. The film on the other hand, looks really good! But I'll watch anything that Jason Bateman is in! I think maybe this is one of those rare instances where the story is better executed on film.

4. Lost & Found by Brooke Davis: Another book I had high hopes for that ended up being a let-down. It was cute & quirky at times, but for the most part, it was just sad. Seven year old Millie has been left by her mother in a department store and never returns. With the help of two elderly people she befriends, they set out on a journey to find Millie's mum. I found the story unbelievable and the two elderly people were more annoying than likeable. I understand that this is a story about grief and that we all grieve in different ways (the elderly people were both recent widows), but I could not forgive the mother for abandoning her daughter. Therefore, any humour was lost on me and I never found the story entertaining. I was glad when it was over, even though the ending was so disappointing. 

5. How to Fall in Love by Cecelia Ahern: This book was super cute and a great summer read. It's about a young woman named Christine, who is walking home along a bridge one night when she happens upon a man (a gorgeous one at that) who is thinking about jumping to his death. Christina, miraculously, is able to convince Adam otherwise, and bets him that she can change his mind about wanting to live and convince him to love life again before his 35th birthday. Which, surprise, is in just 2 weeks. While I personally let my issues of this time frame and the seriousness of suicide get in the way of fully enjoying this book, it was still a really cute story. Christine and Adam are very likeable characters and you can't help but root for them the whole time. 

6. The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes: Probably my favourite read of the month! Part of the book takes place during WW1 and the other during present day. Two different women, separated by almost a century, are fighting for something they love most. It was interesting to see how their two stories were connected and came together. I can't say I've read much about German occupation during WW1 so I really enjoyed this historical aspect to the novel, especially since I'm a huge fan of WW2 fiction. This book reminded me a bit of a mixture of The Nightingale (although not nearly as intense) and The Woman in Gold. 

7. Honeymoon in Paris by Jojo Moyes (a novella): I didn't even know this book existed until I got to the end of The Girl You Left Behind and realized that the book sample at the end of the book was in fact, the entire novella. It's a prequel to The Girl You Left Behind, and gives a bit of back story to the two main characters from it. It was a treat to be able to read a bit more about these characters I had grown to love, and I think I'm glad I read it after and not before, The Girl You Left Behind. 

Also, just a reminder that the discussion and link-up for July's book club pick (Keep Me Posted by Lisa Beazley) is next Tuesday, August 16! You still have a week to read the book! 

What have you been reading lately? 

Did you read After You? Thoughts? 

Linking up with Steph & Jana for Show Us Your Books!

August 03, 2016

5 Peaks Sikome Lake Race Recap

I have 3 race recaps I still need to post, and while I know I could just not post them, I really like having them for my own benefit and to look back on. It's a great way to keep track of the races I've run and the ones I've loved. 


Back on May 14th, I ran my very first trail race run, the 5 Peaks Sicome Lake Race! I have never run a trail race before, but I have always wanted to. When I found out Ange was running this race, and that it was really close to my home, I signed up just a few days beforehand! 
5 Peaks Sikome Lake Race Recap
Ange picked my up bright and early that morning so that we would have no problem finding parking at the venue (parking is somewhat limited), and carpooling is recommended. I had picked up our race packages the night before, but we would have been fine getting them the morning of as this is one super organized event! The 5 Peaks runs are capped at 500 participants, so it's not overly crowded or chaotic when you get there. 
5 Peaks Sikome Lake Race Recap
We had plenty of time once we arrived to use the porta potties and watch the kids 1k and 3k races - man kids can run fast! It was really cool in the morning, but we both knew we'd warm up as soon as we hit the trails, so we ditched our extra layers in Ange's car right before lining up at the start line.

This course is an out and back course and just over 6km. I didn't wear trail shoes because even though it's a "trail run", I knew that runners would be ok given the conditions of Fish Creek Park (the trails are pretty smooth). I didn't go into this race with any time expectations, but I was super grateful that Ange had the same approach and ran with me the whole time. The course starts out with a HUGE hill which most people walked up (thank goodness!). Soon after, there's another down hill and then the trail flattens out. 
5 Peaks Sikome Lake Race Recap
5 Peaks Sikome Lake Race Recap
There was one water station mid-course that also had these delicious fruit chews! Such a nice surprise! At this point, the trail narrows to a point where there is only room for one runner to run. This was also the point where the turn around for the race starts happening so it was a little bit stressful having to move out of the way for the returning runners (who even has the right away - I still don't get it?!). 
5 Peaks Sikome Lake Race Recap
Somewhere on our way back to the finish line (before we had to head back up the steep hill we came down), I tripped and fell! I didn't hurt myself and bounced right back up, but it was a tad embarrassing as other racers ran by asking if I was ok. I was also 7 weeks pregnant at this time, and my first reaction was "don't tell Jim I tripped!" Haha! 

Ange and I crossed the finish line together at 51:54 - which is pretty good considering we had to walk the hills and talked almost the entire way! I say it every race, and I'm going to say it again, it's so nice when you are able to run along side a friend! So thanks Ange! 

When you cross the finish line at a 5 Peaks run - that's when they give your swag, aka, "medal", which was a a super cute camping mug! What a great idea for a race medal! 5 Peaks strives for a zero-waste event, so the mug came in extra handy when we lined up for our fresh cut fruit (also a great post-race idea!). 
5 Peaks Sikome Lake Race Recap
I won't be doing any more trail runs this year, but I'd love to return next year and try to complete the entire 5 Peaks race series. The series consists of 5 races throughout southern Alberta, but they have a race series in other areas/provinces as well, so check it out here if there is a series near you! Trail running is a lot of fun and a completely different vibe from a regular race, and I really can't say anything negative about this particular race/series. 

Have you ever run a trail race?

Runners, do you prefer road races, or trail running, or both?

August 02, 2016

Oh Baby!

Remember when I took a month off from blogging back in June and I blamed it on needing a break and wanting to spend time with my in-laws? Well that was definitely part of it, but the biggest reason for my absence was this:
Pregnancy Announcement for Baby #2
That's right! I'm pregnant!

Although, I'm sure many of you had your suspicions but were too polite to ask :)
Pregnancy Announcement for Baby #2
I found out I was pregnant a week before my birthday, but Jim and I decided we would wait until I was at least 12 weeks along before announcing it. We told only our family and few close friends in that first trimester. I know it's an individual choice for when such news should be shared, and call me superstitious, but I just wanted to hit a point where I felt really confident in this pregnancy. And surprisingly enough, it's been kind of fun keeping this under wraps for as long as we have. By now, many of our closest friends know, and while I'm already 18 weeks along (these photos were taken when I was 16 weeks), it's still very exciting to make this news extra official!
Pregnancy Announcement for Baby #2
It was a bit of a rough first trimester (hence my absence in June), but I will talk about that more in an upcoming post. Thankfully, I'm feeling much better! I wasn't sure how I wanted to announce this pregnancy, but when I found a local photographer (Jaiden Rowsell Photography*) offering mini-sessions for a great price, I knew it was meant to be! With the rain we've been having, processing time for photos, and the ordering of Sully's Big Brother shirt**, I'm announcing this a little bit later than I had originally thought I would, but such is life!

Our official due date is January 1, 2017! A New Year's baby! We are so excited to grow our little family and provide a sibling for Sully.
Pregnancy Announcement for Baby #2
Pregnancy Announcement for Baby #2
Pregnancy Announcement for Baby #2

*Jaiden doesn't have a website or Facebook page but for any locals interested, she is offering mini-sessions for a great price and I can send you her contact information. 

**Sully's Big Brother t-shirt was made for me by a local company called That's a Great Shirt. I told them what I wanted and they were able to create it for me. They were so easy and pleasant to work with and I cannot recommend them enough if you need a t-shirt made. The turnaround time was less than a week, and local pickup is available to save on shipping!