mint & gold

mint blazer, gold sequin shorts, nude heels

blazer, blouse, heels by LeCHATEAU  ||  shorts – thrifted, similar here  ||  iPhone clutch, LA rings, skull ring, heart bangle, braided headband by ALDO

I have to make a confession, my infatuation with gold is relatively new… for years I was a strict silver jewelry girl, I also boycotted the color brown during this phase.  I decided for some reason that they were boring colors and should be reserved for old people.  Ahh, to be 15 again.  Thankfully I’m over it and now I am obsessed with gold jewelry, to the point where I am thinking about changing my medusa piercing to a gold gem, what do you think? I love how gold looks on tan skin, maybe in time for summer!

Last week we had a few days where it was like.. 18 whole degrees.. so I borrowed my BFFs blazer and busted out my new sequin shorts for a cute spring look. I love the color mint, but I always feel like it looks much better on blondes, generally I prefer bolder tones for myself.  That’s why its such a bonus to have a friend who’s clothes you can borrow! 

To satisfy my gold-fever I just bought this gorgeous feather necklace from Silla, a local boutique in Kensington (they have a shop in Lethbridge as well) they have mostly jewelry and some cute hippie style clothing, its worth checking out for the beautiful displays alone! My brass branch ring is from a store down the street, Purr, and my turtle knuckle ring is from Manana Imports, which is a couple stores over.  Generally if I go shopping in Calgary I like to hit either Kensington or 17th Avenue, absolutely if you come visit those are the areas to see- cool shops, bars, restaurants and lots of interesting people.

The main reason that I love Kensington (and 17th) is all the consignment and vintage shops.  When I walked into Trends and laid eyes on these gold sequin shorts I actually squee’d with joy.  It was kinda embarrassing… then that doubled when I found a pair of mint leather shorts and double squee’d.  The thing is, I love shorts, and I love sparkles, and leather… so really I just couldn’t help but express my joy through a shrill squeal. Hope you ladies are even a fraction as excited to see this outfit as I was to wear it! Thanks for reading gorgeous girls!

xo, aiyanajane 

Healthy Avocado Pesto Pasta

I honestly LIVE off of this recipie.. it is my very favorite way to eat AVOCADOS – CREAMY GREENY PASTA SAUCE!

Switch out your regular pasta for a whole grain version, I use a frying pan to quickly cook a small portion with less water. I like to save any extra paste I have left over to use on wraps, sandwiches or as a dip! Avocado fills you up and gives you energy to last all day!

Avocado pesto pasta

add pepper or for an extra kick top with CHILI FLAKES

Whole Grain Pasta15 Health Benefits of Avocado

xo, a

Healthy French Toast

One of my favourite breakfasts is French Toast. Its warm and delicious and most importantly, extremely quick and easy to make!

I use 2 slices of Dempsters Ancient Grain’s Bread, one egg, a splash of skim milk and cinnamon to taste. Combine all ingredients in a shallow bowl and whisk together. Dip bread and fry on medium heat for ~1 minute/side. Serve hot with butter and maple syrup. To cut calories use only the egg white.  

This is a good source of protein and fiber to start your day off with energy.  I feel very Canadian in my love for Maple syrup but there is honestly no substitute for it!  Same with real butter… Becel is NOT butter. I believe in dairy not petroleum products.

This is a quick, easy and yummy way to start the day, especially in the chilly winter!! It takes only minutes to make and devour!

ALSO BECAUSE I CAN QUOTE THIS

xo, a

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New Year, new you

How i created HEALTHY HABITS to get fit last year!

I posted earlier about how I don’t do New Years Resolutions, because I then feel motivated only by obligation and prematurely set up for failure. How many times have you resolved to eat well and exercise every day, only to slip back into old habits by February? We all do it.

did you resolve to GET FIT and BE HEALTHY this year?

Focus on those words, FIT & HEALTHY, because this should be your goal. Not thinness, not an exact number on the scale, or total inches lost, what comes first is your health, physically and mentally.

love your body

You need to be getting active for the right reasons! Make gradual lifestyle changes to better yourself, rather than crash dieting to lose those last pounds, the most important thing is to start your fitness journey for YOU, not based on someone else’s expectation of beauty.

First, banish negative thinking. You are not too fat, ugly, stupid or lazy to do this. You deserve love, but don’t try to lose weight to get a boyfriend (or keep one), try to lose weight to love yourself and appreciate your body. When you love yourself- when you have passion and hobbies and interests that keep you from looking for them, that’s when you find the person you’re meant to be with. When the negative voices in your head tell you that you aren’t good enough and fills you with doubts don’t listen- get up and prove them wrong!

Rather than comparing yourself to photo-shopped print models, find REAL WOMEN TO INSPIRE YOU…

Do you have a friend who has fitness goals as well? Team up, everything is easier with a second voice to motivate! Make sure to find an exercise regime that you are comfortable with, maybe you want to get out of the house or meet people, sign up for a class- yoga, rock climbing, pole dancing? Anything you can dream of, why not try? Or get a gym membership if you are the type who is motivated enough to actually go to the gym. Personally I’m an introvert when it comes to sweating, I prefer to do so in private- the swimming pool is the only public exercise place I dare to venture, and only because I am yet to build my own personal pool.. someday.. in the meantime, I work out at home using the world wide web for inspiration! For amazing fitness inspiration and food ideas I love Taralynn McNitts Blog, for workout ideas my absolute all time favourite is Cassey Ho at Blogilates! I follow a few other fitness blogs for inspiration and often buy the magazine (or at least check the website) Women’s Health, which is an absolute gold mine of information. Its kinda like Cosmo, if Cosmo had actual useful advice, rather than the same sex tips month after month.

Getting fit doesn’t have to be expensive!

In fact, you should be able to get fit essentially for free, provided you have a few basics. My at home fitness kit includes: 8 lb soft kettle ball, dumbbells in 5, 10 and 15lb increments (20 lbs when I borrow my little brothers!), a jump rope, exercise ball, and a yoga mat.

I’ve always considered myself relatively fit and active, but around this time last year I began to really realize that I had let myself slip. The stress and hopelessness I felt in my relationship had me sitting on the couch pounding back chocolate cake wondering why my boyfriend loved World of Warcraft more than me. I wasn’t in a healthy place mentally, I felt disgusting all the time, tired, out of breath and the repeated rejection I faced in my relationship had me feeling unattractive and unworthy. I hadn’t been to the pool in months, I could barely will myself to do anything other than work. I felt hopeless, overwhelmed, exhausted and didn’t even know where to start.  When I started feeling out of breath climbing to our third floor apartment, I realized that I needed to stop living in denial, and make a change for the better. When our parents (my ex boyfriends and mine) decided to send us on a trip for Christmas last year, it was the kick I needed to finally got my butt in motion!

First I got back to swimming…

for me, swimming is therapy, it always has been. It forces you to be aware and in control of your entire body, regulate your breathing and the rush of the water drowns out any of those overwhelming thoughts in your head. Its proven to be one of the very best exercises you can do. If you don’t know how to swim, don’t wait to learn- or try something like aquazsize, a low impact cardio workout that tones using the natural resistance and buoyancy of the water.

Next I added in Pilates and Yoga. I really lump these into one as I do poses or moves from both in any given session. Super power your yoga poses by holding light weights as you move through a series. Focus on form and doing slow but correct reps, not speeding sloppily though the workout. You’ll only be cheating yourself. If you have never tried it before, sign up for a class to learn the basics, then you can easily create a custom routine to do at home. I learned using Stott Pilates dvds that I got in my Special K box about ten years ago, I still have them, and they still work! Buying a workout DVD (or downloading it) is one of the simplest and cheapest ways to get fit, provided you use it regularly. Like I said, Blogilates has awesome FREE workout videos, bookmark it and then try not to cry the first time you try one!

Finally I used short cardio (jumping jacks, jump rope or running on the spot) combined with weight and resistance training to tone and shed pounds. By alternating between high energy cardio bursts, and slow reps with the weights you boost your metabolism, build muscle and burn fat. Do overhead tricep extentions with weights as you do squats (for perfect squat form check out another favourite fitness blogger of mine!), or bicep curls as you do lunges- anything to add extra weight to movement based exercises. Adding extra weight to ordinary exercises makes them more challenging and increases the rewards!

then: ~JANUARY 2012

now: JANUARY 2013

after

I lost 25 lbs in 6 months by forming HEALTHY HABITS

I formed these habits over a span of months, rather than trying to force a restrictive diet or strict regime upon myself. I focused on just getting better and being at peace with my body, not losing weight, and the pounds melted off. When I broke my pelvis in July, I recovered several weeks ahead of schedule- I attribute that early recovery entirely to physical activity, primarily swimming. Ten days after I broke it I was in the pool doing modified water workouts, a month after, I was doing yoga again. What was supposed to take a minimum of 6-8 weeks to recover from, took me just under 5 weeks. You might notice a slight indent on my left thigh, this bruise is all that remains of my injury (6 months later) everything else is 100% back to normal. The bruise doesn’t even hurt, but I believe the muscle was so damaged by the impact that it will likely be years (if ever) before it fully heals, a minor price to pay for my mobility as far as I’m concerned. The time spend bedridden felt unbearable, I had just started realizing how strong my body was when suddenly it was broken! But lying there, with my leg muscles deteriorating before my eyes, only made me more determined to get back up and regain that strength as soon as I could.

When I first started I would do a workout video one day, and go swimming another.

For the first few weeks I pushed myself to maintain at least 2 workouts a week. At first I had to force myself but my workouts got easier, I added more steps, increased weights, went running occasionally (through with my bad knees I couldn’t keep it up), rather than walk up the stairs on my way home, I started to run them. I noticed my energy start to increase, my mood improved and I just physically and mentally felt better! I started to notice that if I went a few days without working out, I would go back to feeling depressed an apathetic. Once I realized that, whenever I started on that negative thought pattern I’m so prone to, I would get up from whatever I was doing (usually TV or the computer, as I find those to be my biggest negativity triggers) and work out instead. It didn’t even have to be much.. 15 minutes of yoga was enough to calm my mind and re-energize my body.

At that same time I was also having digestive issues, with symptoms similar to Celiac Disease, although not triggered by gluten. I was tested for multiple possibilities and nothing came back. After years of problems, I finally realized the only real change in my diet (I never had any problems before moving out) was that I was no longer eating the organic meats my family raises on the farm, but instead most of my meals were store bought and prepackaged. By slowly removing and reintroducing foods, I found what the doctors couldn’t, that it was meat making me sick. I switched to only eating organic farm raised meat (bet you thought I was gonna say vegetarian- HAH, not for me) and cut out all the high sodium processed foods I loved like Sidekicks and Icheban. I started making almost all my food from scratch, because I realized it was the preservatives, antibiotics and god knows what else in the prepackaged foods that were wreaking havoc on my intestines. Switching to farm meat was easy for me, since I know people.. but even still, it required I shift my eating habits in order to get enough protein; avocado, eggs, beans, lentils and nuts are my favorite alternate sources.

Even before I switched to organic, I was eating relatively healthy. I have always adhered to intuitive eating, and rejected the idea of dieting in any form. I am not someone who does well with “You can’t!” because my immediate reaction is “oh yeah, watch me!” so rigid diets that don’t allow “bad” foods (or really any restrictive diet at all) makes me want to binge based partly on spite and partly because I sit and focus on how much I want what I can’t have! Instead of dieting, I eat a healthy base diet filled with whole grains, organic meat, lots of fruits and vegetables, and allow myself to indulge my sweet tooth. I pay close attention to portioning, which I believe is a huge factor in obesity in North America thanks to portions 2-3 times the recommended size being served in many restaurants. I eat lots of little snacks through out the day, usually in some form of chocolate because I am an addict.

Other than being a legit Chocoholic, my eating habits are generally healthy (and its been argued by some that chocolate is healthy so HAH!) I don’t drink pop, if I drink juice, I generally dilute it with water. Sweet drinks are a HUGE factor in obesity, and are just terrible for your health. If you are drinking pop on a daily basis, do yourself a favor and stop, you’ll lose weight guaranteed. A huge part of being healthy is being hydrated, so make sure to drink lots and lots of water- at least 2-4 liters a day. Water re-hydrates your system and flushes out sodium and toxins, minimizing bloat. Nothing replaces water- if you don’t like the taste, slice up a lemon and add that in for additional benefits.

Whatever excuses you are making for not exercising, STOP! THERE IS NO EXCUSE, and no one but you has the POWER TO MAKE A POSITIVE CHANGE!

After - pilates, yoga, swimmingA typical dry land workout for me is about a half hour, maybe 45 minutes on an ambitious day. I move through a variety of Pilates and yoga poses, with circuits focusing on the core, legs and arms, interspersed with bursts of cardio and weight training. I posted a variation of my usual workout here.

At the pool I swim for about an hour. This includes light yoga in the steam room to warm up and stretch out, and at least 15 minutes of treading water, using different kicks and alternating hands in and out of the water. The basic kicks in swimming are flutterwhipdolphineggbeaterscissor. Generally I do a minute set of each; 30 seconds with hands, 30 seconds no hands, then switch kicks and repeat all 5 kick circuits without stopping twice. Once warmed up, I do laps in 50 meter sets, alternating generally between my preferred strokes; freestyle and breaststroke, but occasionally doing either backstroke or the most difficult of all- butterfly! Because of my swim club background, I often mix strokes and kicks into drills- for example breaststroke arms with a dolphin kick. Dolphin kick is one of the absolute best core work outs you can find, but butterfly is such a difficult stroke that most people never get the benefits, by modifying it you get the benefits, without looking and feeling like a drowning victim.

Lately I’ve fallen off the wagon a bit. In the summer I was exercising 4 or 5 times a week, now its down to 1 or 2 times! Something about summer and being able to go outside makes SUCH a difference in my motivation, in winter I just want to hibernate under my blankies and cuddle Cedric. I’ve also been a lot more busy with school and work. To sneak in fitness where I can I do things like run the stairs during breaks in class, do 10 squats every time I go to the bathroom, and even just walk at a brisk pace wherever I go. The smallest things add up to make big changes. If you get in the habit of doing things you feel are simple, its more likely that you will continue to do them, and then seek out more challenges.

i know i could probably lose another TEN POUNDS…

if I decided dieting was worth it (I literally eat cake almost every day… it just keeps me sane okay) or if I wanted to push my training routine. But I’m not now, and never have been a size zero… and that’s okay!  What matters is that I feel better than ever before, and feeling great is the first step to looking great. Remember:

XO, A

I want to thank my personal motivators, who are always there to support and motivate me whenever I need them! Amazon girls- I love you, stay strong always!

home made pho

One of my favourite foods is Vietnamese Pho! Its also really easy to make at home, I like making soup because I can basically just throw in vegetables and spices willy-nilly until I get the taste just right! This is my made up recipie for fridge-pho! Soup is great for using up everything in the fridge.

eat pho

HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE CHICKEN PHO:

  1. Fill a large pot half full of water, use the carcass of a rotisserie chicken to make your soup base. Boil chicken bones, dice up one large white/yellow onion, one clove garlic, and peeled ginger root (about the size of the tip of your thumb) add a package of Chicken boullion and 1 TBSP sea salt, allow this to boil for ~30 minutes or until chicken is falling off the bones.
  2. Pour soup mixture through a strainer, use tongs to pick out all the chicken bones and cartilage- keep the meat and onions.
  3. Continue boiling soup broth on low heat. Chop carrots, green onions, snow peas, baby bok choy, jalapeno pepper and what ever other vegetables you fancy. Carrots take the longest to cook so add those first, working your way backwards by cooking time, snow peas and bok choy take hardly any time at all. Add the bean sprouts last, just before the noodles go in.
  4. Boil ~3 cups of water in a kettle. Using the tray from the chicken (dont wash it out, there will be gelatin stuck to the bottom that will add lots of flavor) unwrap the rice noodles and place in the tray, sprinkle a second package of chicken bouillon seasoning over top, then pour boiling water over top and let sit until noodles are soft.
  5. Add 2 TBSP each of oyster and hoisin sauce to the noodles and broth, then combine with the vegetable soup base, boil for 2 more minutes, stirring constantly and enjoy steaming hot!
  6. Chicken can easily be substituted for beef, traditionally beef would be sliced thinly and cooked in the boiling broth, but I like to fry it with onions, garlic and ginger to brown it, and to get more flavor for the stock. Once its browned, then add the water and follow steps two through five.

home made chicken pho by citystylecountrysmile

Pho is best served fresh (it does keep but the noodles get soggy) and this makes a HUGE batch. Invite some friends over and dazzle them with your culinary skills, they will thank you pho sho.

xoxo, aiyana jane

Mini Avocado Omelette

Start your day off right with this healthy breakfast.

One of my favourite foods is avocado- yummy and its SO good for you! They are packed with more than 25 essential nutrients, including vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, copper, iron, phosporus, magnesium, and potassium, avocados also contain fiber, protein and help protect against various disease and illness. more

 

1 avocado + 1 egg + spices to taste + cheese + salsa

  • First cut your avocado in half, I saved the second half to use later- avocados will turn brown once exposed to air, prevent this by dripping lemon juice onto it, and covering in saran wrap, as air tight as you can get it.
  • Score the flesh using a knife, using your fingers to pull the skin open
  • Whisk up the egg mixture- I used an egg, chili powder, basil, oregano & salt
  • Pour the mixture into the scored avocado half. One egg makes enough to fill two avocado halves. I used a cupcake wrapper to prevent spillage.
  • Broil on high in the oven for ~5 minutes, then take it out and poke the inside down to test if its cooked. I hate runny eggs, and with this method the top cooks and underneath its still raw,poke it down so that it will cook more evenly, then top with cheese and broil for another 5 minutes or so.
  • If its still a little under-cooked for your liking, zap it in the microwave for 15 seconds, then the inside will cook in no time at all.

Top avocado omlette with salsa and enjoy

AVOCADO OMELETTE topped with mozza & salsa

Want a simpler option? Just crack an egg directly into the avocado & bake.

 I’m a bit particular when it comes to eggs- taste wise I don’t even really like them, I find the yoke tastes too strongly which is why I always scramble my eggs with tons of spices, and don’t even get me started on the runny egg texture, yuck! With the right flavorings though, this makes a delicious, easy, healthy and filling meal.

Don’t be afraid of the high-fat content in avocados, they contain the GOOD fats that your body needs, and provide a big boost of protein to fill you up and keep you feeling satisfied. Skip the cheese if you want to cut some extra calories, but I personally love dairy products and would rather just not worry about it and enjoy the melty, cheesy goodness.

xo, aiyana

Blogger inspirations

The best part of blogging is finding a community full of INSPIRING and INTERESTING people!

these are a few of my favorite blogs to follow.

{photos link to outfit details}

Emma + Elise at  A BEAUTIFUL MESS

Elsie and Emma, A beautiful mess

   I love reading this blog, and it makes me SO wish I had a sister to be blogging buddies with. They both have such great, quirky style and so many interesting insights. It’s a relatable and helpful blog based on finding beauty in the every day and the imperfect. Click the photo to read about Elsie and Emma.

shea marie at PEACE LOVE SHEA

cheyenne meets chanel

Shea Marie is one of those girls that you just wish you could step into her shoes for a day. Her blog follows her transition from a small town to a big city, a willowy blonde living in Hollywood, with that California cool girl style that I absolutely covet. I’ve posted before about how different my style would be if I didn’t live in a country that shorts are only  really wearable for 3 months of the year. I love reading her blog and pretending that one day I’ll move to Hollywood and be a stylist, and a writer and go to fancy parties in leopard shorts because its warm enough to do that!

jessie kass at SEAMS FOR A DESIRE

jessie kassIf you have Pinterest, you’ve probably seen her outfits. I love this blog for inspiration, every outfit she posts is so chic and she is a master accessorizer. I’d die for a chance to raid her jewelry collection (who am I kidding, her whole closet) and I have some serious hair envy, why can’t mine be that long? She always balances textures, fits, colors and prints in her looks and comes up with something beautiful and interesting. Her latest post promised Q&A and i’m super excited for the answers to come, so I can read all about this girl I worship from afar!

taralynn mcnitt at UNDRESSED SKELETON

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Taralynn’s blog is so inspirational, about healthy living, change and fitness. Click the photo for her story, its unbelievable. I love her blog for recipes she has a ton of great ideas for healthy meals that are still yummy!

wendy nguyen at WENDYS LOOKBOOK

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Wendy’s style is so beautifully feminine, I love perusing her blog for polished city style. Click the photo for more outfit details- its funny that she mentions wishing for fall, as I dream of the LA weather she enjoys! We always want what we do not have. She always looks so perfectly put together, and is so driven, smart and talented. I love her view on fashion, and admire her strength. Read her story here.

andrea at  ANDREA RUNGHOLM.DK

andrea rungholm blonde danish gold khaki style

Andrea has always been a passionate, outgoing and energetic girl, who is wise and mature beyond her years. I must admit, this one has a little bias behind it. Andrea and I are related.. usually for simplicity’s sake I say we’re cousins but she’s actually my dad’s cousin’s daughter so I have no idea what the proper name for our somewhat distant relation is. She lives in Denmark, so we rarely see each other, but she stayed with our family and went to school here for a few months, and it was almost like having a sister. . I love her blog for fitness inspiration, and wish she didn’t live in Denmark so I could benefit from her cooking, since even when she stayed with us years ago she was already a master in the kitchen! She also always looks super chic and shops at affordable stores like Zara and H&M.

I miss her lots, I feel like she’s the sister I never had and hate being separated by an ocean! She’s very smart and I wanted to share her latest post because it’s the kind of thing that makes me think we are sister’s from different mothers! (Since I’m sure my mother would say the same as hers, and I would have the same rebuttal!)

On blogging:

” I believe that, overall, are three positions for it to have a blog. As the first, “What is the purpose and why should some bother looking images of what she has for breakfast?” The other, “Blogs are so inspiring and you get so many tips, tricks and I love reading blogs.” The third reason relates a part of those who read my blog through postings on Facebook because they know me,  “The fact that blogging is a waste of time and you do not get the right picture to the blogger”.  I think in some cases that many bloggers do those things. –  makes two breakfasts, one to the blog and you actually eat. Shows that you’ve got something sponsored whatever it is, tampons, just because you have got it for free. When you have a blog, you have 100% control over how you want to present themselves and how the blog should be. You can make up his own little world. In some cases, an blogger a very misleading picture of themselves – whether it is because you want to be someone else or you want attention, is so different. Some time ago my mother asked me: “Why do you never photos of your messy room? So it does not seem so perfect all the time and your readers might real with a little more to you? “. I could take a picture of you when my apartment fiddling very most and I could easily take a picture for you right when I’m just waking up and looks like something you’d think would never get to see normally again. I can see that it will give you a picture of that I am down to earth and I do not distort my life into something it is not, but what would the purpose just so be it? There is certainly no one wants to see pictures of an apartment cluttering and even fewer than none at all, who wants to see me tomorrow really ugly? It may be it gives a few good laughs, but it gives when absolutely no inspiration. The purpose of my blog is to give good tips, recipes and outfits that can inspire others. Not to make myself as something I’m not; without sounding too self-centered, I am happy for who I am, what I have and as I look. The bottom line is that I hope you see me as an honest blogger and I enjoy reading my blog. “

SHARE YOUR FAVORITE BLOGS IN THE COMMENTS & streamline your blog reading :

download google chrome
this fast free web browser can translate almost  anything, i love that i can read blogs from across the world, even if the translation isn’t perfectly accurate.
sign up for bloglovin
a super easy way to scroll through your favourite blogs and websites like you scroll through your facebook news feed.

xo, a

SOS- save our skin

this winter SAVE YOUR SKIN with these moisturizers!

People often comment on my complexion, here are my tips for soft, clear skin.  Remember most images are linked to content, so click them for more info!

The most important rule of great skin – hydration.

Its simple, the body is made out of about 70% water, are you getting enough? There is no substitute for water, so make sure you are drinking it often. Its widely debated how much you -should- have, though 8 glasses a day seems to be the standard recommendation. I try to drink at least 2 liters, water flushes out toxins and excess salt, and can help to reduce bloat and appetite. If you are a big pop or juice drinker, try replacing it with water and water the pounds melt off. Buy a reusable water bottle and take it everywhere with you. I have this super rad bottle by threadless+thermos that I found at Dollarama for $2!

Shower, then moisturize!

I moisturize my entire body every time I have a shower or bath. Being submerged in water breaks down the skins natural oils and sucks the moisture right out of you. Lock them back in by immediately putting on a body lotion afterwards. In the morning I like this light option from Garnier- it sinks in fast and smells fresh, great for getting ready to go! I love the mango option!!!

Invest in a great face lotion

This will vary depending on your skin type, but I personally swear by Clinique skin care products, particularly the dramatically different face lotion. Its part of a 3-step skin care program, although I skip the first two steps and go straight for the good stuff! The closest drugstore product I’ve found is Neutrogena oil-free facial moisturizer. Similar feeling and hydration, but a much more inexpensive option that I highly recommend.

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Add Vitamin E to your routine

To supercharge any lotion add some vitamin E oil. I don’t like super heavy, greasy creams, rather than buy a “day” moisturizer and a heavy “night” one, I buy the two above (both nice light formulas) and add a drop of vitamin e oil before I apply them. Just squeeze a nickel sized amount of lotion onto clean palms, drop some vitamin e oil in, mix with your finger and apply. Vitamin E helps soothe rashes or sensitivity (try it post waxing!) and improves the look for wrinkles, scars and stretch marks. Apply directly to problem areas, and mix in to lotion for added moisture all over. Works great on dry hands and cuticles.

vitamin e oil

Stash bottles of lotion all around the house

My favourite ever basic body lotions are the Vaseline Total Moisture line. They are inexpensive, widely available, work really well, and come in big enough bottles to meet my lotion demand! The cocoa radiant line in particular is amazing. Cocoa and shea butters mix together to make skin super soft, smooth and glowing. Keep bottles where ever you might need them; beside the kitchen sink, in each bathroom, on your bedside table, beside the couch. Apply any time skin feels tight, starts looking dull or flaky, or feels itchy.

Save your lips with vaseline

When all else fails, add vaseline. It is so versatile (click the photo for a list of uses) and works so well. No lip chap will soothe the way vaseline does, so apply it at the first signs of dryness- before your lips start to crack. Vaseline can be applied to any problem areas and it will help restore the body’s natural moisture balance. If your lips are already cracked, try blistex to help soothe and heal.

Most importantly, remember that as with everything else, what you put in is what you get out.

 You cannot expect clear skin if you eat greasy, unhealthy food, don’t drink water, and wear lots of makeup.  Great skin starts from the inside! A diet high in healthy fats and oils (like the kinds from nuts and fish) will make skin healthier and more radiant. Avocado, salmon, eggs, spinach and broccoli are all great options- more here.

 Give your skin time to breathe,  take off makeup nightly and get yourself into a good skin care routine now.  If you wear concealer daily, consider taking some time off (days, not hours) from that heavy makeup, to let your skin breathe, moisturize it (did you know that oily skin is often producing excess oil to make up for a lack of moisture?) and use an cleanser. I personally never wear foundation, I feel like I’m suffocating under it and then I always break out after if I do wear it. 

Remember, I say it again, to drink lots of water.. add cucumber, lemon, mint, berries or whatever you fancy to make it taste better if you don’t like it plain. I like to try to stick with natural flavoring options (like fresh fruit) over processed ones (like crystal lite or vitamin water).

Hopefully you are now on your way to softer skin, I use every product on this list religiously, are there any amazing products you use that I missed? Let me know in the comments!

xo, a

western heritage

back to country roots, and warmer days..

It snowed last night in Calgary. That made me upset, also Ronald the goldfish died, so I am le sad. Today I stayed indoors all day long, ignoring the outside world. It was nice… I got caught up reminiscing about summer and missing my horses. My best friend, Michelle, (above) and I shot these photos in early July, at that time I was looking forward to an entire summer of riding, but only a few days later another horse (not pictured) decided that my pelvis was better off in more than one piece. That was the end of that. So I’m already looking forward to next summer (please, come quickly..) when I can be back out with my girls! I kinda love them.

wearing: DENIM + TANK – le chateau  //  shoes -ardenes  // lace top – F21

xo, a

workout, eat cake, repeat

It was an absolutely beautiful day in the city yesterday, by Calgary in the  middle of November standards anyways.. something like 6 degrees! It might as well be a sauna. I spent the day relaxing, reading on the deck, catching up on my laundry and getting organized for my first day of school *tear* and job interviews afterwards. But first, I worked out using this routine in my fancy yoga room! It was so lovely I finished with some light yoga outside to cool down.

 Then onto a healthy *cough* breakfast of mini Christmas oranges, earl grey tea and Skor red velvet cake. Yeah, I’m going to let that sink in. SKOR RED VELVET CAKE. This is why I work out you guys, because I legitimately have the biggest sweet-tooth of all time. My friends make fun of me because I always have candy in my purse, and cake in my fridge, but I believe in the little indulgences. Dieting has never been my thing, restricting myself from comfort food makes me sad. Chocolate makes me happy. So everything in moderation, I say!

xo, a

beat winter blues

Hello my lovelies,

Remember how I was all STAY POSITIVE, ITS FALL.. last month? Well I live in Alberta, and despite the fact that winter isn’t supposed to arrive until December 21st ITS WINTER NOW and I am super unimpressed. In fact I legitimately believe I have seasonal affective disorder.

There are a multitude of reasons why I hate winter but its mostly because every time it gets too cold, I get sick.  The snow and the cold combined make me hide in bed under the blankets. Then I sit on my computer and  I click though all these beautiful fashion blogs, and you know what, most of the time- ITS SUNNY AND DRY. ihatechu. Meanwhile I am inside, sick, stuffed up and hating the world through frosty windows.

The other problem is fashion takes the back burner when there are 2 foot snow drifts to wade through, cars to scrape and a high chance of getting stuck and having to dig yourself out in the freezing cold. Oh the joys of winter! So many cute clothes to wear, but its too cold to wear most of them! How I wish I lived in California, my style would be so much different if I wasn’t hindered by practicality.

I feel like winter just puts me into a funk. I feel angrier about every single thing, because suddenly the simplest tasks (like say, going to water my horses) are no longer enjoyable, but rather an unpleasant grueling battle against the elements. Alberta winters are mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting, and if you disagree, you are wrong. End of story.

When I find myself stuck in this mental quagmire of anger and irritation, I try to remember this:

work out and feel better

Make this your mantra then put on some tunes and get moving!
Music and endorphin’s are a killer combination to boost your mood! 
*

This last year I’ve been focusing a lot more on my fitness, and I’ve been much happier for it! Not just because the pounds have been coming off, but because I have more energy, feel better, and my body is under my control. I recently read a post that really resonated with me, I strongly encourage you to read Emma’s top five fitness tips here! I swear if she hadn’t put it down first, I would have written the exact same advice!

For me I try to work out at least 4 x a week. Often I do less, occasionally I do more, it just depends on what’s going on around me. One of my favorite ways to get active was doing yoga outside, if you live somewhere where this is possible then get out there and try it! Yoga and Pilates have been my go-to’s forever, there are lots of great online resources to use (blogilates is my favourite!) so you can get fit at home for free! I could go on for days about the benefits of yoga but it seems like everyone already knows about them! So the only question is, why isn’t everyone doing it?!

My other love is swimming, which is proven to be one of the best exercises for you and is an excellent skill to have just in case! For me personally, I saw the tremendous benefits this summer while I was recovering from my broken pelvis. I healed weeks faster than the doctors anticipated and I believe it had a great deal to do with the swimming I had been doing prior to my injury and as rehab afterwards. The first thing I asked my doctor was how soon I could be in the pool- as soon as it was clear I was hobbling to the pool on my walker four times a week!  Check out your local pool for lane swimming times, or lessons if you don’t know how- its never too late to learn!

Finally, one of the biggest things for my fitness motivation is having a buddy, my brother and I work out together at least twice a week! Make fitness a priority in your family to be healthy for life! Having someone there to push you, remind you of your goals, and just have fun with makes working out that much easier. My other main source of motivation is Pinterest where there are TONS of workout ideas and motivational quotes! I also follow some great fitness blogs like Joy Fitness and Style.

So even though I sometimes have to literally FORCE myself out of my warm blankies and into my workout gear, as soon as I get going I enjoy it, and as soon as I’m done I feel like a whole different person! If you haven’t found that motivation up until now, then make today the day!

xo, a

zucchini pizza bites

If you or anyone you know has a garden its quite likely that you are about to have more zucchini than you know what to do with!

Its  not  a  big  favourite  for  most  but  this  easy  recipe  makes  it  palatable  for  even  the  most  picky  eaters  by  turning  icky  zucchini  into  yummy (and cute!)  mini  pizzas!  Make this  easy,  gluten-free  and  low-cal  option  for  a  BBQ  or  dinner  with  the  family  and  watch  it  disappear  right  before  your  eyes.

To make it super easy use a pre-cooked roast chicken (available at most grocery chains) and sandwich ham. Slice your ingredients first and then fry the zucchini and add toppings quickly. Use low-cal cheese if you want, although I am part Danish and we are all about the whole dairy fats so I used Mozzarella and Havarti.. mmm, cheese. Salsa makes a great and super easy pizza sauce. Over cooked zucchini is awful, and will get soggy, so keep a close eye. Total cook and prep time is under 15 minutes.

lazy spaghetti

I’m not anything super special in the kitchen, and this is not a food blog.. However what I am is lazy, and hungry. I usually end up putting off eating in favor of the internet and only get off the computer when I’m starving.

Enter lazy spaghetti. Its a quick, healthy and (somewhat) eco-friendly meal.

Most people cook spaghetti in a big pot with lots of extra water, and then dump it all down the drain after. Forget that! Get a frying pan, wide and deep works best (mine is from ikea $20) and fill the bottom with about an inch of water (or about half full). Then crank the stove to max, and add spaghetti, I used that “smart pasta” because the boyfriend doesn’t like whole wheat, so I sneak it in. (Heh heh heh) once the water is boiling and the pasta is on start chopping up your carrots. (I used 2 small ones- 1/person) By the time your finished chopping the carrots the pasta should just be starting to get soft, then you can add your carrots. Let that boil together while you chop up the spinach and get the corn, you can really subsitute any vegetables in that you want, I just used what I had in the fridge.

Keep the stove on max, to boil off the water and to make it cook faster because I’m very impatient. I added “italian herbs blend” to the water while the carrots and spaghetti were simmering. One they are nearly cooked and the water is getting closer to boiling off, add the corn and the chopped spinach, stirring constantly to avoid sticking and/or burning.

Once the spinach looks cooked (it won’t take long) then add a tablespoon of basil pesto and some salt and pepper.

Total prep and cook time was just under 15 minutes. I served mine over some fresh spinach and it was mmmDelish!