Fitness 2018: Almost 10 lbs Down

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Me running the Scotia Bank Half Marathon back in 2012

Hello all! I know it’s been a while since my last entry! I hope you all had a lovely Easter! A lot has happened since February and I have been working hard towards my goals! This whole blogging thing is new to me so in truth, it took me a while to figure out what to write for this next fitness update.

The human body is an amazing thing! It can store energy, it holds life, gives life and you can sculpt it however you like! Research in science have made so many break thru’s when it comes to human anatomy and how the body works. When undergoing some sort of change to my body, I like to refer to it as my own little science experiment…strange I know.

Rule number 1 to self-care: Never let anyone tell you it’s selfish to put yourself first once in a while, especially when it involves your health. I fully acknowledge that gaining weight like I did was entirely my fault. I lost my motivation after the wedding and though I already made so much progress at that point, I stopped caring about myself. When you stop caring about yourself, it goes downhill from there. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

409503_10151332285210647_1246205432_nEveryone wants a quick fix but the reality is, it is going to be a slow, steady process. Knowing what my body is capable of if I put the work into it (running 20-40 km’s in one bout) and not being there physically right at this moment, is frustrating. I want to do so much but I am limited to what my body can do now. I have a life rule I like to tell myself often and I like to think I can incorporate it into my fitness journey : if you are unhappy about something, do something about it. Be patient and consistent with yourself! I know even I struggle with not beating myself up over small failures; this is something I battle with daily. If I have a day when I go over my calorie count or don’t make it to the gym when I know I had no excuse not to, I get guilty and it becomes a downward spiral of negative thoughts. If you have a bad eating day, or a day when you can’t make it to the gym, pick yourself back up and move on. Fitness journeys are equally about the mental as they are about the physical.

I have managed to lose about an average of a pound a week since February, but not without a bit of resistance (no eating plan, no personal trainer, and no diet gimmicks). Some may view this as very little progress, but as I have learned from my schooling, a small bit of progress is still progress. Also, the faster one loses the weight, it’s typically harder to maintain the weight afterwords.  Maintenance can prove to be a harder challenge than burning off the weight, I remember this from my weight loss journey over 6 years ago…

In my current journey, another one of my biggest struggles have been recovering from days of overeating or overindulgence. I’m not sure about any of you, but when I eat certain foods I bloat up like a balloon, experience water retention, and overall I feel terrible for days after. It usually takes me a few days to recover. I have found that on days like this, to get rid of the bloating it helps to drink lots of water (hot herbal teas throughout the day can help too), avoid trigger foods to give your gut a rest (for me its staying away from dairy, and heavy carbs), make sure you are taking your fish or omega supplements to help with inflammation, and exercise.

Back when Thierry and I were living out-of-town for Thierry’s schooling, one of his teachers recommended something called intermittent fasting. I know what you’re thinking, fasting can’t be healthy ; you’re essentially starving yourself! Actually, when done properly this can be pretty beneficial as it gives your gut a rest and acts almost like a reset button to your digestion tract. Thierry actually lost close to 40 lbs by doing this method a while back. I may make a post about this in future days.

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Believe it or not, this was 16 year old me

Since my last post, I joined back up with my old soccer team as motivation and a way to get out of the house. When I was a kid, I played soccer and it was all I ever wanted to do. Eventually, I ended up playing competitively for a number of years. I had to give it up to concentrate on University and my studies. Despite rejoining a team afterword’s, I had to give it up again when Thierry and I moved – my work schedule always ended up getting in the way.  Athletically, I’m nowhere near where I was in my prime years, but I still look forward to getting back into it. I have been training to be successful  and my fit bit has kept me active (best investment by the way) and tracking calories on My Fitness Pal has kept me accountable.

The thing I like about my Fit bit is it also tracks activity done during the day when I am not necessarily at the gym doing an intense workout. Most people don’t realize their bodies actually burn calories when they are not doing anything.  The challenges for the Fit Bit are pretty awesome and fuels my competitive side. I have been able to sync it up with the My Fitness Pal application to keep track of my food and exercise/sleep and water habits. Despite the Fit Bit app already having an option to track food directly on it, I have found the My Fitness Pal app to have a larger database for foods for scanning bar codes.

One goal I made with myself was for example, to stop buying my lunches and to eat more whole and natural foods. People don’t realize how many preservatives and extra ingredients that are put in foods you get from eating out. Staying wholesome, at least I know what is going in my body and that it will be nutrient rich foods.

In my last post I introduced my workout playlist – I have over a hundred motivational songs on my iPod at the moment which I have added a few to the YouTube link (I will link to it here again). I will be adding more over the next while as I get a chance. I find it hard to workout without a good playlist – when I am at the gym and I get into that zone, everything around me just fades away and it’s just me and that moment.  I hope you all enjoy the songs on the playlist and that it helps you as much as it has helped me.

Until next time,

– Ashley ❤

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The Gift That Keeps on Giving: Mother of the Bride {Groom}

It’s been crazy the last few weeks!  After months of preparation, we launched the store (Mystic Moon Emporium) in early January, only to have it crash 3 weeks ago. Neither Ashley nor I could figure out what happened, so we got help to get it up and running again.  We apologize for the inconvenience and hope you will come take a look at all the lovely products that have been added. All sales and promotions have been extended indefinitely.  In the meantime, I would like to highlight several bracelets I have that will be available in the store soon………

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I’m very lucky to have such a talented daughter….and one who is open to suggestions.

When Ashley got married, she asked me what kind of corsage I wanted.  Since I was doing the flowers, I didn’t see the point in making myself a corsage. From past experience, I didn’t want anything that I had to pin on my dress because that would be uncomfortable and likely ruin the delicate material, and I didn’t want a wrist corsage as they get in the way and the elastic is generally too tight. Don’t get me wrong, corsages are lovely and a beautiful idea, but not practical…..and they don’t last beyond the day!

So for Ashley’s wedding, I asked her to make me a bracelet that would compliment my dress and be something I could have as a keepsake of her wedding. That’s what she did and the result is something I will forever cherish!  This bracelet was designed specifically for the wedding so I am calling it the “Mother of the Bride” bracelet.

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“Mother of the Bride” (Mystic Moon Emporium)

I absolutely love this bracelet!! Not only is it aesthetically beautiful, it’s perfect as a corsage substitute and actually has an added longevity beyond the wedding itself. The stones in the bracelet were chosen specifically with the wedding in mind and the crystal spacers added an extra touch of elegance for the occasion.

The main attraction in the “Mother of the Bride” bracelet are the black onyx stones.  Black Onyx is said to absorb and deflect negative energy and help prevent the drain of personal energy.  It also can be used to aid in the development of emotional and physical strength and stamina during times of stress. Another property I really like is that it can stimulate the power of wise decision-making. For anyone who has ever been part of pulling off a wedding, you will appreciate these particular properties.

In keeping with the wedding colour theme, Ashley also chose to use amethyst in the bracelet.  Amethyst is not just another pretty stone. I’ve always loved the purple hues in amethyst and was quite happy to learn it is mostly considered a protective stone in that it helps to purify the mind and clear it of negative thoughts including the negativity of stress and anxiety. Again, these healing properties are very helpful in a wedding setting.

The last stone in the middle of the bracelet is  clear quartz. This is another of my favourite stones.  Clear quartz is an amplifying stone, meaning that if you pair it with another stone, it amplifies its properties. That is something I consider an added bonus!

So there you have it…….a perfect mother of the bride or groom gift and guaranteed to be appreciated and treasured for years to come.  I know that mine will always be a special reminder of my daughter’s special day!

If this is something you think would work for you, contact us to let us know.  We are developing a line of bracelets for mother of the bride and groom as well as the wedding party that will be in the store in coming weeks. In the meantime, there are some lovely bracelets in the store just waiting for you!!  You can find them here.

Here are some other posts you might enjoy….

DIY Cupcakes Your Guests Will Love!

Shower Ideas That Will Leave Everyone Smiling!

Wedding Planning 101 – How to Choose the Best Wedding Venue

3 Best Shower Games Your Guests Will Love

Journey to the Center of the Earth: So you want to be a rock hound?

 

 

 

 

 

Journey to the Center of the Earth: So you want to be a rock hound?

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My crystal journey began almost 6 years ago in college after some strange paranormal encounters. I have always been rather sensitive and somewhat spiritual, but also skeptic. As children, we believe in magic and things thought to be simple to adults, are amazing miracles to a child. Somewhere along the road we stop believing in magic and are then taught to feel embarrassed.  As we grow, we are taught to ask more questions, doubt everything; ask for proof and leave little to blind faith. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but it can cause problems. Spirituality and believing in the unknown goes against this and asks us for blind faith in something you cannot see or touch. After experiencing things you cannot explain, your sense of truth tends to be shaken.

My love of stones has since grown into a lifestyle and way of life. I run into skeptics all the time and that’s okay. We all have our own beliefs – its not my place to tell someone what they should believe in. Just to put it out there, stones are by no means a way of replacing medicine – but a tool that can  be used as an addition.

For me, stones are alive. They provide a number of great benefits and have been used for hundreds –  even thousands of years, all around the world. It wasn’t until I started on this journey that I realized how prevalent crystals were. Did you know amber – a stone that most parents give to their teething children to wear- is made from fossilized tree sap? Due to its connection with the throat chakra, Lapis Lazuli was used by ancient Egyptians for religious ceremonies to communicate with the afterlife. Jade has been used by many Asian countries as a symbol of prosperity and good fortune. If you’ve ever had heartburn, you’ve likely had Pepto Bismol – a mineral known as Bismuth is in this to give it its healing properties.

Since starting on this journey, my tastes have evolved and I crave more rare stones. For anyone starting out, there are some things to keep in mind when collecting gems.

  1. It can get very expensive. This is one of the biggest things I want to point out because people are often surprised when I tell them how much I have paid for some of my stones. To put it in perspective, gemstones are made in particular conditions. Some of these stones have been developing over hundreds/thousands of years – that sort of time can’t be synthesized. Like our fossil fuels, these stones are in limited supply and sometimes only found in few locations. So of course, they are rare and therefore expensive!  As another example, Moldavite is a very rare stone that was created when a meteorite crashed into earth a long time ago; the bed of sand created from this event was heated to create glass and mixed with the meteorite resulting in Moldavite. This stone is said to cleanse the Pineal Gland and is most commonly found in the Czech Republic. Stones are commonly priced based on weight so for even small amounts of this stone it can be fairly expensive. It is important to do your research and make sure you are aware of where you are getting your stones from and shop the market to get the best deals. There have been a few vendors that Thierry and I have run into that didn’t know the value of what they were selling and as a result we scored on some great finds. This ties into my next point…
  2. Know your sources, be weary of scamming vendors selling fake products. This point again emphasizes the point of knowing where stones are coming from. There are some out there that are selling great quality products but not knowing it, and then there are others that know the value of gems but are selling fake products. I have first hand experience with this which has made me increasingly weary. A lot of reliable sources will have some sort of relationship with a third party or some sources will get their stones from a mine directly. A great example of this is that there are some sellers out there that advertise quartz pieces that are actually glass – knowing the difference through observation is key. As another example, I have found sources advertising aura quartz- aura quartz is a stone that is heat treated with gold causing its unique shimmer and can get very expensive. Some sellers will claim they are selling these unique stones but they are actually synthesized quartz or dyed quartz.
  3. Treat your stones with respect and know how to store/use without ruining them. It is common knowledge in the stone community that if you don’t take care of your stones, you won’t get much use of them. If you take care of them then they will last you a long time. Knowing how to store them based on their unique qualities can help protect them against damage. For example, stones like citrine and amethyst, when stored in the sun can fade in colour – the colour fade doesn’t effect their properties but if you have a AAA quality stone, it could make a huge difference in appearance. In the crystal world, there are those that believe that putting stones in water and drinking the water will allow you to benefit from the metaphysical properties of the stone. This brings up a couple questions in terms of the stone maintenance : 1. Will the stone be ruined in water? and 2. is the stone toxic if I ingest the water its been soaking in? Both are important to know! For example, Selenite (a form of gypsum) when submerged in water will dissolve. Malachite, when ingested is toxic. It is important to do your research and be aware when ingesting stone water.
  4. Cleansing is important. There are many ways to cleanse stones- many of which go based on the four elements of Fire, Earth, Water, and Air. Some stones absorb negative energy where others do not. Air- through intent or aura ; water- setting your stones out in the light of a full moon or soaking in salt water (be careful with this one!) ;Earth – burying your stone int he ground by a tree ; fire- most commonly used, smudging – using white sage and burning the sage allowing the smoke to cleanse the stone. Smudging can be generally used to cleanse a space but that’s for another post.

In the last while, I have learned so much about stones and collecting them yet there is still so much I feel I do not know. I’ve been pretty fortunate to have a husband that shares in my interest of gems. Its been pretty awesome to be able to teach my mom everything I know and even the rest of my family!

Now that you have been prepared for what you are getting into, its time to get into actually learning about gems. There are so many types of stones out there but for first time collectors, I have prepared a list that every rock hound should have when starting.

Clear quartz – One of the most common stones, this is an amplifier and will amplify the effects of any other stone it accompanies.

Rose Quartz – Another member of the Quartz family, associated with the heart chakra this attracts love to the owner

Tigers eye – Associated most commonly with the root and Sacral chakras and is a good grounding stone

Amethyst- Another very common stone in the Quartz family- associated with the brow chakra and is great for meditation.

Selenite – Great energy stone that attracts positive energy to the owner.

Citrine – Known as the stone of success, also part of the quartz family and is essentially heat treated amethyst. Great for if you are working towards a goal or for students.

A Grounding stone – Whether its Tourmaline, obsidian, onyx or smokey quartz, these stones are great for grounding/protection against psychic attack. Great for people who are sensitive or prone to more intense emotion.

Through my travels, I have always made it a top priority to find crystal stores nearby. I have been able to pick out great ones and some that are not so great. Overall, this is just the beginning of what I have learned in my 6+ years as a rock hound. Thanks for joining me on this journey.

-Ashley ❤

 

 

My Fitness Journey: 2018 Edition.

fitness blog Prior to mine and Thierry’s wedding, like any newly engaged bride-to-be I decided that I didn’t want to look at our wedding photos and hate looking at myself because of my weight.  I decided to get my butt in gear and make it a priority to lose weight.

Since as long as I can remember, I have struggled with my weight and body image. Fast forward to university, as most college students living on residence do, I gained a bunch of weight from a combination of bad eating, not exercising, stress, bad sleeping patterns, and outside influence. In second year university, after gaining almost 20 lbs I was at a low. My older sisters challenged me to enter a half marathon that summer as motivation to lose the weight I had gained. At that time I could barely run 5 km let alone 21.

That summer I had a lot of time to myself as my two best friends were gone to British Columbia for the summer. I was training for the race and when I wasn’t training, I was working. Over the span of a few months, I lost close to 20 lbs and felt fantastic! I did another couple races that year but it was hard to train properly while at school so I stepped back. In my last year of university, I was working while at school and the pressures began to return – those 20 lbs I lost, I gained back and then some.

Fast forward to before Thierry and my wedding, I tried to conjure up the same motivation I had during those months of training almost 6 years ago.

Prior to going wedding dress shopping, I knew exactly the type of dress I wanted to wear. When my mom and I were able to finally go shopping, I was worried I wouldn’t find one I liked because my options were limited being a size 18 with a big chest to boot. I was luckily able to find my dream dress. From when I first tried it on leading up to the final days before the wedding, I managed to go down two dress sizes and lose about 17 lbs. For the first time in a long time, I weighed below 200 lbs.

After the wedding, I admit that since the pressure was off I slacked with continuing the weight loss so most of that weight I lost, well I gained it back again. *sigh* Currently, the pressures of fitting into an expensive wedding dress are gone but I am still left with the feeling of wanting to feel healthy again. Thierry and I want to start a family at some point within the next year or so and I want to be at a healthy weight when that happens- that is my current motivation. Throughout this whole process, I have learned having a reason to work out is what gives you the motivation you need every day.

I’ve started back up at the gym and am watching what I eat – also back at working on my sleeping patterns.  My background in Kinesiology and fitness and health promotion has given me the resources to be smart and realistic about my fitness goals so this time I can loose the weight and keep it off. It’s important to know results are not going to be instant, but a slow and steady process.

Nike-You get it by WORKING FOR IT

Back when I lost those 20 lbs from racing, the big thing that helped me was motivational quotes, motivational music, and positive thinking. Getting your butt off to the gym on the days when all you want to do is sleep, is all about your mental state. I have found even now good music really has made a huge difference in my mentality and how hard I am able to push myself in my workouts. Click here  for a (rather long) list of songs I have on my playlist with the artists. I have close to 180 songs just on my Ipod dedicated to working out!

Other than good music, I have found keeping track of calories and recording my food has helped me with portion control and accountability. A lot of the time people eat when they are bored, or mix up being hungry with being thirsty. The MyfitnessPal app and the Fitbit I recently purchased have helped me with this – its a bonus that my Fitbit also tracks my sleep patterns. I have included the link for these below!

My Fitness Pal for Android!

My Fitness Pal App for Apple

Fitbit

For those of you sticking to your New Years resolution even now at the end of January, all I have to say to you is – keep going and stick with it! Think of how amazing you will feel when you reach your goal and even afterword. Your body and health are worth the short term struggle! You are amazing!

Stay tuned for future weight loss journey posts!