Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Hallowe'en!!!

I hope that everyone has a safe and Happy Hallowe'en today!!!

I have a new challenge that I am starting for myself tomorrow. I hope that you will join me for it! I WOULD call it "Fit for FaLaLa" if I was crazy like that. I can't wait to get into the best shape possible...before Christmas time comes and I ruin it all :)

I'll share more details later, but for now...take care!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

How to Do a (Not-So-Perfect) Sock Bun

I love the look of sock buns...they seem like the perfect no-fuss hair style. However, I have never been able to get them right. But, after seeing other bloggers recently rocking the 'do, I decided to give it another try. Here is what I came up with:

Step 1. Make or obtain one of those donut-shaped thingy-madingies you need to create a sock bun. This is important!

Step 2. Put hair into ponytail at desired height (I like both low and high)

Step 3. Put donut-thingy through your ponytail until it rests against your head

Step 4. Pull donut-thingy close to the end of your ponytail

Step 5. Redo Step 4 because you're a klutz and let all of the hair fall out

Step 6. Repeat Step 5, then 4, then 5, then 4...

Step 7. Carefully roll donut-thing down towards your head, carefully putting the hair around it as you go.

Step 8. Sigh. Repeat Step 3, then 4, then 5...

Step 9. It doesn't look right. Repeat previous steps

Step 10. #$*!@! this crap...

Step 11. Finally finish! It should feel relatively snug, but put some bobby pins in to secure it into place.

Step 12. Decide to get a shorter hair cut so that you don't have to deal with this again.

Oh, and also, make sure to take a picture of it AFTER you've sweated it out at the gym, because that is THE most flattering way to go.

Sigh. Maybe I should stick to helping my daughter decorate pumpkins?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Family Photos

Here are a few more of our Fall Family Photos (minus the ones that will be adorning our Christmas cards this year!) Keep in mind that we did not use a professional photographer - just my husband and my dad! I'm still working on editing them to be a bit brighter and sharper...but overall I think they turned out okay!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Fat-Free Friday

Today, I am grumpy. I was having problems with my scale, so I had to play around and rejig it and reset it...and it appears my weight isn't quite as low as I thought it was all week. I'm at 160.4, and I am dying to be back in the 150s. So....grumpy.

Any, enough about me. I have a treat for you today: a special guest post from my pal Emily, all about surviving the holidays while still following a healthy lifestyle. Enjoy!


Hi all, I'm Emily Stone, a SAHM, proud wife, runner, fitness freak, health food addict, and animal lover! I also have an intense passion for writing, and luckily for me, Brenna has been generous enough to let me share my writing on her wonderful blog. So today, I'd like to share with you some of my favorite tips for keeping the weight off during the holiday season! If you have any questions feel free to email me at!

Now, onto the post...

Keeping weight off during the holiday season – A Post from Emily Stone

The holidays are coming seemingly faster this year. I absolutely love the fall and preparing for feasts and parties. But I don’t want this seasons to derail my fitness plans. I find that if I maintain an exercise regimen, and loosen up on my dietary restrictions just a little, I can have an excellent holiday season without having to detox come January.

Keep Moving

A month ago, I enjoyed exercising harder and longer with the moderate temperatures. But now, it’s not as temperate anymore. That jarring cold when I step outside to take the kids to school in the morning sometimes makes me want to rush back to security under the covers. Never fear, I know what to do. When it’s time for me to bring my workouts inside, I still enjoy a thorough but shorter session. Fall and winter are best for interval training. I perform one exercise for a short period until I’m about reading to keel over, then move to another. Each individual exercise is intense, so I get a very powerful workout in a short period of time. An excellent example of interval training is the Focus T25 workoutby Insanity creator Shaun T. All it takes is 25 minutes, and I’m done.

Indulge Occasionally

I have gone on diets in the past where I have to stick precisely to the diet all the time. This can be a nightmare, and why I think most really strict diets fail. When the holidays start sneaking up on me, I try to take a rational approach to them. For example, I always buy the Halloween candy far too early. By the time Halloween arrives, everyone has eaten the candy. This year, I took little zipper bags, wrote names on them and portioned out a handful of pieces that everyone in the house could have. Then I hid the rest of the candy. Once the bags are empty, that’s it until Halloween. I didn’t feel compelled to binge because I knew I could have a piece or two. And surprisingly, everyone else in the house stopped binging, too. I think this approach applies especially well to big-feast holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you’re anything like me, you get to Thanksgiving, see all the pies, and panic. Oh no, zillions of calories! Deep breaths, I’m going to be OK. I will eat a slice of pie. Or maybe follow my mother’s advice and eat two half-slices of pie, so I can get a variety. One slice of pie is not going to kill my diet, as long as I’m eating healthily otherwise.

Honor the 80/20 Rule

That is where the 80/20 Rule comes in. When it comes to the holidays, I give myself a break. But only a little break. I aim to make at least 80 percent of what I eat very healthy–reasonably low in fat, low-carb, natural, high in nutrients. Then I don’t feel so bad when I indulge in the slice of pie or a piece of Christmas fudge. The trick is to make healthy food stay healthy. For example, sweet potatoes. These tubers are a powerhouse of nutrients! However, I have to watch for those syrupy-sweet concoctions that always make the rounds at the holidays. If I can’t make it myself with a minimum of sweetener, I try to eat from the bottom of the pan, to avoid the worst of the glaze and marshmallows.

The holidays should be a time of getting together with family and enjoying winter activities. I stay in shape and indulge moderately, so I can participate fully in both.


I hope that you took the time to read Emily's post, because there are some GREAT tips in there - I know I'll be trying some!

See you next week!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Family Photo Sneak Peek...


Yup. That's about how the day went...

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Happy Monday!!!

I hope you are having a great start to your week! I know I am! (Okay, honestly, I'm writing this post on Sunday night, but I darned well HOPE that I will be having a great Monday!) I had a nice weekend featuring a baby shower and a get-together with out-of-town friends, so I'm feeling pretty chipper. Tomorrow my husband and I are attempting some family photos with the kids (I'm obsessed with photo cards right now) so please wish me luck!!!

Also, my weight loss has been holding steady despite some eating challenges, and I managed to sneak in a morning workout today when I thought I wouldn't have the chance...and I am SORE! That actually puts me in a good mood, if you can believe it!

Also, guess what arrived in the mail on Friday...

It's my blog friend's FIRST PUBLISHED NOVEL, and it's out and ready for you to read! I've just started reading it, and I already feel like I can relate to the character and writing style. If you are interested in checking it out, it's called "The Luminaries: Kinetic" and you can find it on Amazon. I may do a more detailed post about this later :) But please, if you are open to different types of books, why not support a stay-at-home mom whose trying to fulfil her dream?

There's your guilt trip for the day :) Have a great week!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fat-Free Friday

Good news today, peeps! Not only have I lost all of my vacation weight, but I also lost an additional...wait for it...0.2 pounds!!! Ha ha...I'll take it though!

Right now I'm at exactly 160lbs. The scale must know how badly I want to be back in the 150s, so it's purposely mocking me. No worries. I'll get you next week, Mr. Scale.

I don't have much interesting stuff to say today. I plan on working on a craft project during my lunch break. This one isn't a gift, so as soon as it's done I can share pictures with you all!! Aren't you excited?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Weighty Matters


So, remember how I told you that last time I went away on a mini vacation, I gained four pounds? And how this time, I was hoping to gain less? Well, I did…technically speaking. I only gained 3.8, ha ha! Take THAT scale! (Also, I’ve already lost 1.5 of that in just a day, so that THAT AGAIN!) I am in a great mindset – motivated but not obsessed – and I look forward to watching the scale keep going down.

Now, enough about me. Let’s talk…

Some of your have probably read the story about the “hot mom” (read article here) who got a lot of flack for posting a picture of her enviable figure alongside her three sons with the caption, “What’s your excuse?” Maria Kang looks flawless, happy, and cute as heck. And yet, people want to criticize.

Now, I’m not sure what people are objecting to the most. Do they assume that being fit and toned means she’s neglecting her kids? That wouldn’t be fair. She says herself that she exercises instead of watching TV, gets up early to fit in her workouts, and exercises at the park while her children play. None of this makes her a bad, selfish mother. Give the woman a break. Moms are allowed to look good.

On the other hand, are people objecting to the “What’s your excuse?” tagline? Because that I would understand. I have never myself been a fan of the “no more excuses” mantra that people throw at each other when it comes to fitness, eating, or anything else in life. It’s one thing if you use to help motivate yourself, but it’s quite another to use that phrase as a weapon to shame people into changes their habits (Please note: I don’t think Kang was trying to do that. I believe hers was more of an “If I can do it, so can you” intention). I can appreciate the fact that some people will always have an easier time losing weight, and others will struggle, and I keep in mind that what ,may seem like “excuses” to others might be very real reasons to someone else. Just because those reasons don’t make goals unachievable doesn’t mean that they don’t make them a heck of a lot more difficult. It’s unavoidable. Life happens!

And that’s the reality: life is hard. And it’s harder for some people than others…or at least it feels that way to them. Encouragement goes a long way. Check your judgement at the door.

Not to mention…what’s with fat-bashing? Having a well-toned physique is not the only mark of good health and success. You can actually be overweight and in better health than someone slimmer. (For all we know, funny-honey Melissa McCarthy could be, internally, the picture of good health. And talk about successful!) I guess I just will never understand the need to shame women about their bodies – whether it’s because they’re a sexy momma, or a heavier hottie. Why is our worth tied to our appearance? Men would never put up with this, and good on them. So…why do we?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Nervous Nelly

I am back from my mini vacation!

We had a great time - lots of fun, loads of SHOPPING, and yummy food! Well worth whatever (temporary) weight gain I've experienced! I even got a few things from the Guess Outlet that made me feel fantastic!

With that said, I am nervous as heck to step on the scale tomorrow. I am just reminding myself that last time I took a mini vacation, I gained 4 lbs, but lost it by the end of the week. I hope I have the same luck this time.

I'll keep you posted.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Fat-Free Holy Crap!

Welcome to Fat-Free Friday: Holy Crap Edition.

I lost...wait for it....SIX POUNDS THIS WEEK!!! SIX!!!! EEEK!!! And I didn't even starve myself!!! I even ate out a few times, and just made really, really good choices. I am so proud!

Now, I KNOW that a big reason why my loss was so big was because I went from eating horrendously to eating pretty well. But that doesn't change the fact that I also upped my intensity with my workout, and pushed myself a LOT during my run. (I ran 2.5km in just under 15 minues, which is pretty much my goal timing for a 5k...but I stopped tracking after that because I ran a different route and have no idea how far I got. I know, though, that I wouldn't have lasted another 2.5 at that pace. Still need to work on it!)

This big loss actually means that I have already lost the entire amount I wanted to for this whole month. But I'm not stopping here. This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving, AND we are going away. I know that there will be some eating challenges, and I know I might gain a pound or two back...but by the end of the month, I am DETERMINED to be back in the 150s...I can't wait!

To my fellow Canadians...Happy Thanksgiving! And remember, it's okay to indulge a bit during holidays...just get back on track afterwards :)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Hyped Up

Guess what I’ve been up to lately?

Craftin’ it up…OLD SCHOOL!

(That’s what we used to say in high school, when we got back into crafting. We were coolz, yo.)

Anyway, I’ve been a bit manic lately – too much energy and creative ideas, so there’s no time to sleep – and as a result I went out a bought a whole WHACK of crafting gear. For Christmas project-making. In October.

Of course I can’t share most of my ideas with you YET, because they are indeed gifts for people who may or may not read this blog. However, I can tell you that if you go onto Pinterest and enter “Christmas Craft Ideas”, it will be all the inspiration you need! I have chosen projects that are neither hard nor horribly time consuming for the most part. Unlike last year when I made that felt playhouse for my kids and wanted to run away and to Greenland, it took so long.

In other news, want to hear something embarassing? I went to the gym yesterday, but I forgot my shoes. I tried to work out (safely) in my sock feet, but they kicked me out. So much for the great butt-kicking exercises I had planned!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Fitter Fall Challenges

Guess what everyone?

No, I am NOT eating like garbage and being lazy. Surprised? You're probably shocked based on my recent history!! I'm actually back (mostly) on the weight-loss wagon, and I'm feeling great! It only takes a few days of sweating it out and cutting out copious amounts of fat to feel better, I guess! I'm already feeling less bloated, and because of that my tummy is looking better. Thank goodness!

I gave myself some goals for this week: to go to the gym 3 times, to do one exercise video, and to maybe go for a run if the weather permits. So far, I've gone to the gym twice, and I did Level 1 of the 30-Day Shred on DVD. A great start, if I do say so myself!

But, there are some long term fitness goals that I have in mind, and I'm working towards them as well. They include:

- Being able to run 5k in under 30 minutes. This a long term goal. Lately, I've been struggling to get my time under 32 minutes, which is about a 10 1/2 minute mile - so that will be my first goal. Heck, lately I've been struggling sometimes to get it under 35!!! My fastest time EVER was 30.5 minutes, and that was a year ago!!! So this will definitely take work.

- Being able to do 10 REAL push ups. Right now I can barely do 2. I lack arm strength.

- Being able to squat with a 50lb bar - right now I struggle to do 40 - Holding a 2-minutes plank: this is a shorter term goal that I hope to reach by the end of the month.

Outside of weight-loss and health, I've been eye-balling some Christmas crafts and trying to choose which ones to do. I'll share more details with you once I've figured it out!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Fat-Free Friday...Back to Basics

Shortly after I hit my first goal weight - which was almost a year ago - I remember how great I felt. I had this amazing sense of accomplishment, higher self-esteem, and the confidence to know that I was no longer letting food control me. I was hitting fitness goals left, right, and centre, and clothes shopping was becoming fun once again. I also remember thinking, "How did I ever let myself gain so much weight", and thought of how mad at myself I'd be if I let that happen again.

Unfortunately, as you all know, I HAVE been letting it happen again. And I know, without a doubt, that if I don't get a handle on myself, I will be right back up at my start weight before I know it. I'm a binger, a stuff-my-facer, which means that the pounds pile on VERY quickly.

Right now I weigh 166.2... My original goal, if you can remember, was 157 (but then I adjusted it as I continued to lose). So consider 157 to be my current aim. I know I can do it. I am starting up yet ANOTHER new challenge for myself, and I'm hoping that this time I stick to it. I am calling this my "Fitter Fall" challenge, and you are welcome to join me. I will eat better, by revisiting my old habits; I will run better, by challenging myself more and more each week; and I will learn to love myself again, by reminding myself that I am perfectly capable of doing this. I refuse to let food control me forever.

And I HOPE that I can inspire someone out there to not give up. There IS no giving up!

I HOPE to lose 5-6 pounds in four weeks, and then keep going. I know that this will be a challenge, because this month holds a lot of food-related events. But I also know that with a little bit of planning, I can stay above water. I did it last year, and I can do it again. For added motivation, I'm planning on doing some family photos at the beginning of November, and I do NOT want to look bloated!

Just as a refresher, here is the picture I posted when I realized that I could no longer fit nicely into my "go to" jeans. Muffin top central alert...or so I thought! Things are actually a bit worse now (but I'm too lazy to take a new picture)

I WILL fit into those jeans again. I WILL regain my confidence. I will succeed.

Will you stay with me?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Q&A With Fellow Bloggers

A little while ago, I got the idea to do a fun, random question-and-answer period featuring some of my favourite bloggers and blogging friends. I would like to thank all of them for indulging me! A variety of topics are covered, so hopefully there is at least one that will interest everyone!

If you are interested in being part of a future Q&A on this blog, email me!!!

Now, onto the good stuff...

"You had a lot of weight to lose when you first started. How did you keep motivated without getting overwhelmed?"

"In the beginning, I just wanted to succeed so badly, that I literally removed failure as an option. I knew that I had to remove the option to cheat and/or fail. I was very rigid and strict in order to maintain focus. Actually seeing progress is a huge motivator to keep going. I had to remind myself, though, on "off" weeks where the scale did not move, that not working out and not eating well would only serve to put me back not forward. That was the hardest mental hurdle to overcome. I think that helped me to keep momentum and focus." - Jennifer, from FatChick2FitChick (who lost 100 pounds already!!!)

"How do achieve balance between family life, work, exercise...and everything else?!"

"First and foremost, my family is my top priority, so they always come first! Our time together as a whole family is spent mostly in the evenings and weekends, when Robb is home from work. We have to actually schedule things on the calendar in order to make them happen. I'm blessed to be able to work from home two evenings a week when Robb is home to watch the boys. I love this as a way to get some adult interaction and earn a little income, but still consider myself a stay at home mom. Fitness and exercise time comes in last, I spend time working out when the boys are napping, or at night when again, Robb is home to play with them. At the most, I spend an hour at a time working out, usually less. I think it's all about prioritizing the things that make you the most happy." - Katie, from When Hello Means Goodbye

"What one piece of advice would you give to a new blogger about what NOT to do?"

"Don't worry about your audience. Write and say what you want. If people like what you have to say, they'll be back to read more." - Brandi Laughlin from Mama Laughlin

"Where do you get your cake and crafting ideas?"

Obviously Pinterest is a great source for creative ideas, but I also get them from magazines, books...and just randomly Googling different topics. There are so many ideas out there, that sometimes the hardest part is choosing what to make! - question posed to ME

...And if any of you are struggling with infertility, please read the following message from a woman whose been there, fought the good fight, and ended up with adorable twins!

"What advice would you give to someone who was just diagnosed with fertility problems and feeling hopeless"?

"I struggled for years with infertility. I went through many rounds of fertility treatments before moving on to my last shot: IVF. After 2 miscarriages, this one IVF finally stuck and I am now a mother of boy/girl twins. And this is probably not what you want to hear right now…

For those starting out in their infertility journey, my first advice is to cry it out. If you have to let it out… don’t hold back. Go ahead and hate the word “relax”, and not want to see your friends and families with tiny babies for a while, you have lost something and you need to mourn it. Go ahead and look up your options. Nothing is definite. Even those who have been told they have less than 10% chances have had a chance to conceive on their own and others like me, have been lucky that science has evolved as much as it has. You might feel like the world has come to an end, and you know what? It has. The innocence is gone. The forever hope is gone. And that fear of never becoming a mother takes over. But once you’ve had time to cry it out and ask over and over again: “Why me?”, you’ll see that the only world that ended is the one where you didn’t have to fight as hard. From now on, you are nothing but a fighter. You can overcome anything short of death. Yes, yes you can. -Shanny, from