Last of the Summer Wine

imageBefore vibrant gardens are replaced with golden, red and brown leaves, my sister-in-law Wendy hosted one last summer hurrah for my brother’s birthday. August is over, but sweet memories like these make you appreciate the little things in life that are so important.

Long summer tables, with lively conversation and wine in the backyard. Food and family. Cheers!

image imageSalmon on the cedar plank seasoned to perfection. Smokey aroma from the BBQ

imagePlatefuls and platefuls

image imageHammocks under a tree

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imageTrampoline fun with a little boy who makes you feel five again

imageimageDrinks and jokes, with the distant chirping of crickets in the balmy evening air

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image imageChilled out dad

imageCutting the cake and turning 30…yet again. Celebrate!

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imageMore sweetness

imageTeenage selfies whose faces you wish you saw more of

image imageBabies that grow too fast, but still love hugs from Nana

imageUnder the light of the full moon

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Ending summer with wonderful memories and enjoying every moment!

Monday Motivational Song and Weekly Workouts

Good day, everyone. Hope your Monday is treating you well. Let’s make it a great week by being active and taking good care of ourselves, body, mind and soul. No procrastinating. Let’s make it happen today.

What are your workouts this week? God willing, mine are looking like this:

Monday: Leg day. I feel like squatting, lunging and deadlifting

Tuesday: Hiking in Seaton Trail and core work

Wednesday: Back and biceps. P.M will include Pilates class

Thursdays: HIIT

Friday: Chest, shoulders, triceps

Saturday: Rest

Sunday:  Restorative yoga

My motivational song this week comes from one of my favourite original divas with bigger hair than mine. Call her Miss Ross.

A Beautiful Sight

I had two beautiful sightings this week. One was my very first monarch butterfly sighting this summer on my evening walk. I love taking a walk after dinner some nights, while the evenings are still balmy and refreshing. I passed a bed of vibrant flowers, when a monarch gracefully floated and perched itself right on top of one of the flowers. I was lucky to get a photo. The second after I snapped, the butterfly was gone.

Another beautiful sight happened on Sunday afternoon. It was supposed to be a rest day, with just restorative yoga, but the weather was gorgeous and I had energy. I found it hard sitting still with my book, so I decided to lace up and go for a run. I also fit in some sprints up the train station stairwell. Sunday is the perfect day to do uphill stair sprints at the station because there are very few commuters, unlike during the weekday rush.

After my workout, I went to my condo gym to cool down with some stretches and water from the cooler. I was parched. From the large gym window, you can see the pool and it looked so inviting. I went out to the pool deck thinking about doing some relaxing on the lounge chairs later. Two young girls, about sixteen years of age to my estimation were both scrolling through a cellphone and standing by the pool. A song began playing through the phone. Call me an old foggy, but I wasn’t sure what the song was. I think it was Taylor Swift’s The Game. Both girls sang loudly and danced around the pool. Both girls had messy buns atop their heads that bopped side to side as they moved to the music. Both girls were laughing uncontrollably. Both were in teeny, weeny bikinis.

What was obvious to the eye was that one girl was petite (a size 2?) while the other was plus-sized. What was also obvious to the eye is that both girls looked happy. Very happy. Both looked comfortable and confident in their swimwear. Both displayed the same amount of carefree teenage frivolity.

I began to think about when I was that age. I was plagued with poor body image issues. In my sixteen year old head, only the size 2’s or 4’s of the world could wear a bikini. Only the 2’s and 4’s looked good in a bikini. Only those with slim thighs and flat stomachs should bikini shop. How could a plus-sized person be happy in a bikini, I would have wondered in my youthful naivete. While my friends would bounce and dance to Culture Club at the beach, I always hid under the security of a towel. At my friend’s pool party one summer, I refused to get in the water without an over-sized T-Shirt, covering what I thought were the biggest thighs at the party. While my friends had fun in swim attire, and told me to “lose the T-Shirt” and just jump in, I shyly shook my head no, covering my legs by pulling down the T-Shirt. I was always promising myself when I lost the last ten pounds, I would begin to have fun. Guess what? Summers came and went, and that promise of fun never did come.

If I could go back in time, and tap my sixteen year old self on the shoulder, I would have had a long talk with myself. I would have told myself about this plus-sized girl by the pool on that hot Sunday afternoon. A girl with cellulite like me, a larger stomach than her friend’s, a girl that many would consider over weight, but most importantly, a girl with confidence, dancing without what looked like a care in the world. No thigh gaps, 6 packs or bikini bridges required at their pool party. Confidence was the only requirement. What comes from within makes you want to sing out loud to Taylor Swift and laugh until you can’t stand up straight. Not thinking that you have to look a certain way to live your life and have fun, but enjoying the here and now while you can. Being free in your skin. This too was a beautiful sight.

“Sorry we’re so loud,” the smaller girl said, looking at me.

“No, that’s okay,” I said. “I’m not here to ruin your fun, girls. I’m just thinking I should change into my suit and join you!”

“You should!” she said. “Summer will be over before you know it.”

“Don’t I know it,” I replied.

“We only get to wear our bikinis for about two months,” the bigger girl said.

“You know what? You’re absolutely right,” I smiled, leaving the girls to go put on my suit and join the confidence party. My beautiful imperfections and all.

Because life is meant to be enjoyed now, before the seasons pass and we have to fly away. When we are finally free of our mental cocoons, we can experience how beautiful life can be.

Blessings.

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Motivational Monday Video and Weekly Workouts

Hello everyone. Hope this week has something wonderful in store for you. I am sure you will make it a great one. I plan on making it a wonderful week by having a lot prayer, devotional and meditation time, productive workouts and planning some healthy meals.

The week is looking like this:

Monday:  Back and biceps

Tuesday: HIIT/Cardio (legs)

Wednesday: Chest, shoulders and triceps   *Pilates in the evening

Thursday: HIIT/cardio (legs)

Friday: Back and biceps

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Restorative yoga/injury prevention

On Wednesday evening, I join my friends Trish and Brenda for Pilates. It is a lot of fun and laughs and I look forward to it. We get a real kick out of our grunting and “noises of despair” on those difficult moves (which are most of them.) Last week the focus was on glutes and abs. This week it will be core and arms. Can’t wait!

Instead of a motivation song, this week I have a motivational message to get you going. None other than bodybuilder extraordinaire, the Big Kahuna (and I do mean big), the Don of dumbbells, the boss of barbells. Ladies and gents, I give you Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger!!

Two Gym Pet Peeves in One Day

Way back when I first started blogging, I did a post about the most common gym pet peeves. You can read that post here if you wish.  I surveyed six gym members about what truly irks them at times when sharing a workout space with others.

Today I had two of my pet peeves happen in one day! I was supposed to do my Let’s Get Shredded circuit workout on The Fitness Games App. When I got to the gym, I realized that I forgot the device where the app is downloaded. Oops. On to plan B.

I decided to go ahead with a chest, shoulders and tricep type circuit on my own. I always start with the most physically taxing exercise first after my warm-up while I am fresh and not yet tired. This is the bench press for me. As I walked closer to the bench, I noticed someone had their stuff spread all over it, but was not actually using the bench. I came a little closer and a girl had her towel, workout log and water bottle on the bench. Had it been another exercise, say for example, single arm dumbbell rows, any bench would suffice, but I needed this bench because it has the Olympic bar that I use for the bench press.  The girl was beside the bench doing standing bicep curls.

“Hi. Excuse me,” I motioned with a wave when she was done with her set. She had her ear buds in. It “appeared” she didn’t hear me.

“Excuse me,” I said again, a little louder. She put her weights down, and took out her ear buds.

“Yes?” she said.

“Can I use this bench? Is this your stuff?” I pointed at the bench in question.

What did she do? She snickered! She was not even using the bench and she snickered and looked annoyed that I asked that she clear her things away. Well, too bad lady. If you want to lay your stuff all over the equipment then workout in the comfort of your own home. That was pet peeve number one. Using the benches as storage for all your things. Sure, go ahead if nobody needs the bench, but when someone needs the bench, it is time to shift your stuff.

Pet peeve number two happened when I needed the overhead shoulder press machine. A lady was using it. No biggie. I did some burpees while I waited. Rested and did some more burpees. When I really started to sweat, I walked over to grab some paper towels to wipe my brow. Lady was still on the overhead press machine. Okay, let me go and fill up my water bottle. When I returned she was chatting with the lady on the leg press across from her about her bunions. I am pretty patient. Let me do some hanging leg lifts. Let me give the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she’s resting between sets. After my leg lifts, I went back to the machine in question. Lady was now talking about the sales at Frescho…and her son’s university courses…..and then her highlights. The lady she was chatting with on the leg press was barely moving. It was clear they were simply having a gabfest while I had to wait. My patience was wearing thin by now. “Good afternoon,” I smiled approaching the lady.

“Hello,” she smiled back.

“Can I work in a set with you?” Lady looked confused.

“I’m sorry. What’s that?” she replied. Clearly she didn’t know that gym lingo.

“Are you going to be on this machine for much longer?” I asked.

“Oh. I’m so sorry. I’m done. I didn’t know anyone was waiting for it.”

Pet peeve number two. There is a Tim Horton’s, A Starbucks and A Coffee Time all in vicinity. Have your chat there. Not in the gym. I don’t think the gym is the place to have a gabfest. You’re here to work, not chat the time away and while on machines of all places. Then people wonder why they are not seeing results.

I was telling Andy about my pet peeves at dinner tonight. “What’d you expect,” he laughed.”It’s an all women gym. Women are moody and they like to chat.”

Motivational Monday Song and Workout Plan

Since Monday’s can be a little hard to get back into the swing of things for me some, I am going to start sharing a motivational Monday song from my workout playlist to start the week off with a bang.

First here is a look at my workouts for the week. (Hopefully to be as motivational as the song.)

Monday: The Fitness Games App. The Les Go circuit.

Tuesday: HIIT class (cardio and I hope we’re using battle ropes.)

Wednesday: The Fitness Games App. The Get Shredded Circuit.

Thursday: Cardio & Restorative Yoga

Friday: Upper body strength routine

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Rest & more yoga and stretching/injury prevention moves.

I am doing a mix up of workouts until I start the new plan with a personal trainer in September. I just need to stay active and not fall into the trap of thinking I can be inactive and eat crap and reason that I am starting fresh in September. I know myself all too well and am mentally prepared to defeat this way of thinking and stay on my A game.

I updated the Fitness Games App and really like the circuit workouts. They work the entire body and are very challenging. They are Cross Fit type workouts done for time. Usually when I do strength, I do the typical rest between 3 or 4 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions. With the circuit, there is no rest until the cycle is complete. This is the challenging part for me.

Here is the circuit I am doing on Wednesday:

imageIn other very cute and motivational news, my friend Beth messaged me this photo of her baby Sadie. Beth and her husband live in Texas, so I love seeing photos until I am able to meet little Sadie in person.

Tigress in training:

11857608_1662627860641265_411010920_nThat should put a smile on your face for Monday! I’m trying to find out if they have these tights in my size.

So pack your gym bag, lace up your trainers, unroll your yoga mat, plan those nutritious meals, (put on your cute tights like Sadie) and get your tunes ready. Here is one of my favourites that never fails to motivate:

Have a fantastic week everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Judgey Eyes and Let the Tahiti Vacay Begin! O.C Recap

Last night I sipped on a glass Pinot Grigio while taking my mental notes as I watched the O.C Housewives. I was also celebrating life with Heather and Terry. The Dubrows are healthy, alive and can buy T-shirts at $400 dollars a pop. I was celebrating because I am healthy, alive and I can buy T-shirts on the H & M clearance rack for $10 dollars. See, I’m just like Heather Dubrow!

real housewives of orange county gif

Heather got Terry “liquored up” as she went on a shopping spree (and spent a lot of $$$) to buy new outfits for the Tahiti vay-cay.

Later in O.C landia, Meghan and step-daughter Haley prepared some fun candy dishes and lollipop displays for the couples games night that Meghan was hosting later that night. Meghan lectured her young step-daughter about chores, homework and grocery shopping. The usual mommy expectations. A lot of eye-rolling and cell phone scrolling ensued from Hayley in response. I feel bad for Meghan. It takes a strong person to take on a moody teenager, who’s sick mother is nearly at death’s door and too sick to care for her biological child. Meghan is really trying here and seems genuinely concerned about Hayley’s future. I’m not a fan of her husband Bill Edmonds (or is it Jim? See, he’s dulls ville. I can’t even recall his name.) Jim. I’m pretty sure it’s Jim.  He is void of personality and talks like a cantankerous robot. He always looks annoyed when Meghan questions when he will be home. I can see who Hayley inherited the eye-rolling from. I cannot help but feel both daughter and father take Meghan for granted.

Later at Game’s Night…….

The ladies arrived in style at the Edmond’s chic residence. Lizzy and Christian, Tamra and Eddie, Heather (sans Terry. I’m sure he was working to buy more 400 dollar T-shirts) and Shannon and David. Shannon found it odd that it was a couple’s games night and Meghan’s husband was not in attendance at his own party. It seemed to bother Shannon so much, she cornered Lizzy to gossip about a missing Jim Edmonds (or is it Bill?)  Lizzy engaged Shannon a bit in the verbal bashing, but she was kinda like, oh well, not really our concern and moved on. Arriving late with Brooks and her snoring was Vicky.

I think it was in very poor taste of Vicky to show up. Ok, she works like a dog and was exhausted, but then send your regrets to the host. Call and let Meghan know that you had an extra hard day and won’t be able to attend her party. Oh no! Not the Vickster. She attended anyway and snored and yawned her way through the entire evening. Maybe she’s not a fan of group games like my sissie Camille. Put a game of Pictionary in front of her and girlfriend heads for the hills! That and musicals. Even so, Vicky came to the party, So suck it up and be a gracious guest.

You know your party sucks and pocket lint is more exciting than your company if Vicks does this:

RealityTVGIFs animated GIF

Can we move on to the unhinged. You must know who I’m referring to. Shannon Beador. During the couple question game, one question was about your spouse being more or less romantic than when you first married. Poor David said he was less romantic present day. WRONG ANSWER, Davey-boy! Shannon’s eyes became as big as pools and she began to shake, saying, “how could you say this? Really? Less romantic?” Shannon, shake it off. It’s just a silly game. Wowza. I don’t think those serenity herbs are working for ya’ gal.

Later in the evening, Vicky left and went to her bed, while the other ladies sat on the couch to sip on champs and chat. I hope that champs was Collette.  Meghan (who is barely out of braces and zit cream) disclosed that she is ready to make her face look like an expressionless doll for Botox at the ripe old age of 28. Shannon could not hide her dismay at Meghan’s decision and she failed to see any flaws on the beauty’s face. Shannon wears her emotions. She cannot hide anything behind a stiff smile. Meghan immediately noticed this and called her out. “Shannon,” Meghan said, “Why do you have judgey eyes?” I’m with Tamra on this one. Shannon’s eyes are just big, ole crazy eyes to me. However, it was clear that she disapproved of Meghan’s decision to have Botox at such a young age.

By the way, these are my judgey eyes……

Opo_Terser_-_Compound_Eyes_of_a_Robber_Fly_-_(Holcocephala_fusca)_(by)

Let the Tahiti Games Begin!

The ladies were packing for the big trip and wow, Heather’s packing. Tissue paper, shoe bags, holey moley. I guess I am sadly  not like fancy-pants. I just throw things in a suitcase and call it a day. Mind you, when I get to my destination I have forgotten just about everything I need. Oh well, on to Tahiti.

The vacation in my judgey eyes (see above) is already taking a turn downhill because of Vicky. She is relentless about Meghan not working. She’s not saying things in a concerned way, but in a very judgey-eyed and critical way about Bill, Jim (let’s just call him Bob) being the bred-winner. He’s a wealthy athlete, so if Meghan wants to saunter around in Louie’s all day and volunteer her time to a few charities, that’s their business. She is not asking you to pay her bills or her car note, Vicky, so just lay off the women. She used to sell medical supplies, but now she doesn’t need to work. Vicky is trying to say that once BillJimBob leaves Meghan for the next young model, Meghan will be left destitute. I doubt that Vicky. She can always go back to sales, I am sure she is educated and she must have a sweet prenup in place.

Lizzy is genuinely concerned and pulls Meghan aside to express her concern and to see if she is okay. Lizzy is a nice person. Vicky on the other hand is mean. Over breakfast she nearly had The Spanish Inquisition with poor Meghan. The constant badgering from Vicky. “Explain this gap between your last job. Why aren’t you working now?” I think Vicky was confusing a job interview at her insurance company with a casual breakfast with friends on vacation.

I can see Meghan’s face is becoming stiffer and tighter with irritation. (She might not need that Botox after all.)

Real Housewives Real Housewives Of Orange County animated GIF

Before I sign off, I got a good belly laugh when Vicky called the Ukeleles the locals were playing “banjos” at the welcome reception in Tahiti. “Oh, look at the cute banjos!” she exclaimed. Oh brother. This is not The Deliverance Vicky, in the Appalacian mountains. There are no banjos to be seen or creepy-eyed boys in suspenders. This is Tahiti.

Vicky, this is a banjo:

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Not this:

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Let me get put these judgey eyes to bed. Until next time. Cue music please.

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Beastmode or Sleep Mode?

Today was supposed to be a chest, shoulders and triceps workout day. Unfortunately I was just not feeling it in the least. The only way I could describe my mood today was blah. I didn’t have the motivation to cook, clean or do the laundry, much less workout. My body became an imprint in my sofa today. The fact that we were having a torrential downpour didn’t help matters any. I am not sick or coming down with anything. I know the signs when I am getting sick, but this was just a bad case of the lazybones.

IMG_3124So what do I do when I feel this way? I peel my backside off the couch and make up my mind to go workout. I know about a third of the way through, or even right after my warm-up, I start to feel much better and so happy I decided to get to the gym. I went to my condo gym because of the wet weather. This meant I would have to modify my workout, but hey, at least I was off the couch and making an effort to exercise. The condo gym has a nice set of free weights, some medicine balls, cardio machines and a weight machine with a bench, but there is no Olympic bar or tricep dip machine, both of which I needed for today’s upper body work. I reasoned that I could do other things for my chest and triceps instead and I always feel good about my modifications and work hard regardless of where I am.

Condo gym

Condo gym

I would much rather be watching Judge Mathis right now…..

IMG_3121Remember how I said when the blahs hit, about a third way through my workout, I usually feel better and start to kick things in gear? Well, not the case today. Usually during my warm up, my intensity on the elliptical is very high and I start to get the heart rate up and work up a good sweat 5 minutes in. Today, I could barely move the handles on the machine.  I got over the mental barrier to get off the couch, but physically nothing was coming together. I managed to do some push-ups, planking, military press, Russian twists, and rear delt raises, but man, I felt like I had bricks on the soles of my running shoes the entire time. Andy joined me in the gym after making some business calls, and this helped to pick me up with a little banter, but not much.

When looking on social media, we see all the beastmode workouts.

7 miles down and now for Pilates

Just killed it in bootcamp

Went heavy today, time for some protein!

Hope it’s not too soon for flex Friday, because the biceps are pumped on Tuesday!

I love to see these captions and find them motivating, but not even these news feeds worked for me today. Not many people show their blah day workouts. Then again, what would really be the point of that? I think my caption today would be:

Beastmode? More like sleep mode.

Well, that was my workout today. Not much else to say except I was walking around like Frankenstein all day. Truth be told, I am not always going to have a good workout. I can’t always rely on good weather, inspirational pictures or quotes or a strong black coffee. Motivation is a starting place, but the rest is up to me. When it comes down to it, only I can peel myself off the sofa and make an effort to get things done. Sure, sometimes I feel like I have the energy of three-toed sloth, but at least I got my lazy behind in the gym….and then took a long nap.

Do you ever have lazy workouts?

Plateaus and Taking the Leap

I set off on a nature hike this afternoon instead of going to HIIT. It was a beautiful day and I felt the need to be outside in fresh air. The trails were long and winding. We were going at a vigorous pace, up some stairs, along a riverbank and up another winding dirt trail. I was sweating, got my heart rate up and was inhaling the fresh air. All the things I set out to do. At the peak of an uphill part of  the trail, we came to an abrupt end. It was a very high cliff overlooking a stream. Fluorescent tape and a fence warned of us of the danger of the high peak, and staying back from the cliff. There was nowhere else for us to go.

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This hiking experience reminded me of my training. I have sweated, pushed, pulled, ran, and jumped. Now I feel I am at the end of my trail. I have done all I set out to do. There is nowhere else for me to go. There is a steep cliff, and I have done all that I can. I am proudly down 4 sizes and am very happy with my current weight. Pants that were once too tight, are now too loose. With the progress in weight control, I am not seeing any more gains in upper body muscle mass. Sure, I have increased my strength and have seen visible mass in my shoulders, but I would still like to see more muscle development. Up until now, I have been doing it all on my own. I had one free consultation with a trainer at my gym, and with the in-house dietician. I sought instruction and guidance online with various lifters, all of which has been fantastic and extremely helpful. Now I feel it is time to hire a professional to give me the push I need, both in training and nutrition. I need someone to give me the swift kick in the behind to really start working for it. Let’s face it. The end of my trail means that I have plateaued. I can either keep looking down at the stream below, or I can make a choice to do something about it. I choose to take action.

 

imageI started searching for certified personal trainers with weight training and body building experience. I also wanted someone local, or someone who I could get in contact with when I needed help or a motivational push here and there. I found a trainer based in Montreal, but who is in Toronto often. She looks like she is in phenomenal shape. She sent me a questionnaire and we had a phone consultation to discuss my goals. I loved her approach. Taking one day at a time, and baby steps to make my goals successful. With my package I am getting eight weeks on a program she is designing specifically for my body along with nutrition and meal prep. Suffice to say, I am very excited.

As we circled back on the trail to return to our car, I came across an old tree that had crashed to ground. I hopped on and walked across this tree. Again I came to end. When you are standing at the end of the old tree trunk, you have two choices I thought. You can stand there and stare below, or you can jump off and make it happen. I am not going to stand and stare anymore. It’s time to take the leap.

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My left leg….one step at a time.

fromtrextotigress:

Read my cousin Loma’s brave story of one horrific bike ride home from work. But through it all, she managed to ride, smile and dance again.
truly one of my inspirations! Love you girl 😘

Originally posted on LomaLicious:

August 1.  The worst day of the year for me.  Every year since 1999, I mourn.  It’s not for what you think.

The day that changed my life forever, August 1, 1999.  It has been 16 years since I lost a part of me.  16 years of every single day being reminded of my tragedy every time I look in the mirror.

Only 3 days before my birthday, I mourn.  It’s not for what you think.

Not a death, not a disease or illness….

On August 1, 1999 was the day, I (sort of) lost my left leg…

It hasn’t been easy these 16 years since but this year for some reason, it has hit me harder than ever.

If you don’t know what happened I can explain.  I have been living with a disfigurement for 16 years.  My left leg. I have been using a bicycle as transportation in…

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