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Year: 2018

Improve Your Health Today-Play

As the air gets cooler and fall sets in, I decided to circle back and review some of the goals I set earlier in the year. One of the goals that stood out to me the most was the challenge to myself to PLAY more. Yes, like kids do. P.L.A.Y. This may seem like a silly or pointless goal, but I think we need to be reminded what play does for us!

Here’s what we daily check off our to do list: Grocery shop, go to work, take care of the kids, try to fit the workout in, run kids to activities, find time to eat, hopefully sleep, and then repeat.

When did we stop playing? We are currently one of the most stressed out generations, and when you look at our lives, one of the major things we have removed is adult play.

Finding time to play is one of the most beneficial things we could do for our mind, body and spirit. I’m all for the new fall workout program, or taking on a cleanse to clean up my body (I’m actually starting one next week), but I think for many of us our body is craving for us to slow down and set aside time to play.

 

Have you laughed today?

Did you know a good chuckle can lower stress levels?! Studies show that when people watch comedy or even walking with a friend and having a good laugh improves your memory! This also lowers your levels of cortisol, the hormone connected to stress. Stress damages the body by causing issues like headaches, anxiety and sleep problems. On the other hand, laughter makes the heart light and is apparently the secret to vitality too. When we play and generate laughter we give our body a much needed immune system boost. The laughter we produce in our bodies trigger happy hormones to the brain, organs, and produces a refreshing oxygen-action to the heart. This not only benefits our health but also gives our skin and eyes a healthy glow. The increased healthy hormones help with things like digestion, better sleep patterns and over all feeling of peace. So making space for things like activities with friends or play time with kids might just be what your body needs!

Solve your problems with play.

Studies now show allowing employees to take small breaks from work for workouts, a quick activity, or even personal creative time, increases their productivity. As a Mom and business owner, I often find this to be one the most difficult things for me to stay accountable to. I’m constantly switching hats from one role to the next, cleaning up after someone else, organizing snacks, or working on client programming. Recently I started to actually schedule white noise into my day. Whether its time just sitting in the sun, reading, or trying a new activity, I need to make space for myself to slow down, dream and get creative. The reality is when I skip this step I’m ¼ of the person I could be, a less enthusiastic wife, and stressed out Mother. This leaves me forgetting to laugh off the small stuff and just roll with the constant changes in behaviour and emotions of my children. As employees, bosses, and caretakers, we need to remind ourselves to step back, breath and allow space for our mind and body to play. Our health is depending on it!

You’re only as young as you feel.

As we get older, it’s easier for us to get stuck in our way of doing things, also known as a rut! As a trainer I have seen this many times with clients. What I love to see are my clients making space for fun activities like painting, a new sport, or some sort of hobby that keeps them learning through play. These clients tend to be my most calm, well balanced and healthy! Coupled with play, they also thoughtfully make wise food choices, exercise not just for aesthetics but for longevity, and are visibly appreciative for their health.

This season, instead of adding another to-do task to your list, make a commitment to open up some space to get outside, play with your kids, paint with some friends, or take that cooking class you have been putting off.

Photography by: Megan Bustard

One of the most beneficial things we can do for our body is to take care of the whole package-

Mind, Body and Soul.

 

It’s time to play!

Seeing Clearly

I’ve worn glasses on and off for a couple of years…and by on and off I mean that I go through seasons of straining my eyes, getting headaches and frustration when I don’t wear my glasses.

A couple months back I decided to make an appointment to have my prescription checked with Iris. Along with updating my prescription, I learned that I have a stigmatism which causes my eyes to strain when trying to read things like road signs, as well as causes tension headaches after trying to do things like read, work on my laptop, or concentrate on anything for long periods of time. After figuring out the important details like which style of glasses to get (obviously), Iris helped me navigate which lenses to get as well as recommended a blue light filter for my glasses due to the hours I spend looking at screen for work. This specific coating helps to prevent strain, improves sleep patterns, and prevents long term eye damage.

 

If you currently wear prescription eye glasses or are interested in a blue light filter for your glasses, you need to go check out the solutions that Iris has!

Making Space To Dream~~*

As much as I loved our slow summer mornings complete with sleeping in, no schedules, and PJ’s for hours…fall has arrived and with it comes schedules, alarm clocks and clothes on before 8:30 am.

Scheduling is not one of my greatest strengths, but I’ve learned that a little pre-planning really helps me stay on top of my Mom-game and relieves a lot of my daily parenting stresses.

One of my greatest successes so far this fall has been planning out our family’s weekly meal schedule and preparing parts of it the day before. Having the yams cooked ahead of time, muffins baked for snacks, and breakfast prepped in advance, gives me just the right amount of breathing room to get myself together for the day. It also gives me a chance to sit down and really connect with the kids after school or even just enjoy the silence during quite time instead of running around trying to figure what we are going to eat. Easier said than done, right? I agree. This has taken me years to start putting into practice.

The truth is that I have many times allowed Motherhood stress, daily distractions, and social media water down the goals and dreams I have for myself as a mother and woman. Being a Mother, wife and business owner can often times leave me with this feeling of “THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO” that I end up doing nothing at all. I let dreams fade, opportunities pass me by and find myself saying “When life is less crazy I will be more organized, get back to my goals, and dream again.” But reality is life is not slowing down for us Moms, and chaos will continue unless you take control of your life and start scheduling your freedom while leaving space to breath, dream and work on your goals.

Where to start? Start small.

This week just work on writing all your appointments, to do’s and free time down. Try cutting your social media time down. I’m so guilty of not doing this! Because when the babies nap it’s the perfect time to scroll, but you are also throwing away valuable time for your personal development and missing an opportunity to focus on some of your goals. Don’t go cold turkey on Insta 😉 Just schedule your social media time for the day and when your time is up, get back to YOU!

Make a vision board.

Often times we can even forget what we really want or what we are working towards, so keeping visuals in front of you to remind yourself of where you are going and what is at of the end of the rainbow. This is also a great project to do with your kids to get them involved with your goals, but also encourages them in their dreams.

I’m so excited for you to get started! Dream big dreams and find more breathing room for yourself!

Here’s a delicious over-night oats recipe that I love because it helps get some solid nutrition into the kids before school.

Enjoy~~*

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Rolled oats
  • 1 tsp Chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup Earths Own Almond Milk
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • Fresh fruit, nuts and seeds to top your oatmeal

Directions:

  • Mix all ingredients together  (except items to top)
  • Separate mixture into 3 small mason jars (for kids) or into one large one if it’s just for you.
  • Place a lid on your jars and store in fridge overnight.
  • Add a little extra milk in the morning to loosen up the oats and top with your favourite fruit or nuts.

 

 

Don’t Miss A Moment

It comes as no surprise to anyone that I love to be active. Outdoor activities have always been a big part of my life, starting way back while growing up on a farm in Mesopotamia, Ohio. I loved fishing and hunting with my brothers, I showed cattle professionally (yup!), and spent most of my growing up life outside.  As I started to venture out and try different sports, one thing that held me back was my eyesight. My eyes weren’t horrible, but when it came to more precision sports like tennis for instance, not having good eyesight kept me from playing more often. Glasses were a pain, and I wore them when I had to, but having them bounce around on my face was annoying and the ended up on my bathroom counter more than on my face.

I turned 34 this past June, and I finally followed through and did what I’ve wanted to do for years…I got contact lenses! Goodbye to blurry trees flying at my face while snowboarding and goodbye to not seeing moments clearly while I play with my kids. One major factor that pushed me over the edge and got me prioritizing my eyes was the realization that my health is no longer just my own.

Since brining these 3 amazing babies into this world, I’ve been stretched to look beyond myself and follow through on decisions that are best for my family as well. Squinting while I played seemed fine while I was single, or even when it was just Troy and I, but while teaching and protecting the most important little people in my life, this had to change. I made an appointment with an IRIS Optometrist to get an updated prescription, get my eyes measured for contacts, and for the first time in my life, I can see clearly without my glasses! I’ve now hiked, played baseball and swam with my kids no longer worrying about what I’m missing!

I’m so thankful for the IRIS team who has surrounded me through this process and helped me understand the “WHY” behind my eye health, and helped me change the way I see my life (literally!)

 

“Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose!”

– Friday Night Lights

Photography By: Megan Bustard

Bodyweight Workouts And Time Under Tension

Whether it’s in your living room, on vacation, or part of your home workout routine, using your bodyweight requires little to no equipment and can produce serious results. When you think of building muscle and creating definition in your body, our minds might immediately start thinking about all those bootcamp classes that have been missed or the weights that are collecting cobwebs in the garage. You may just need to stop allowing space for excuses, get your body out of bed, and start moving!

Time Under Tension

When your goal reduce your body mass index and create more muscle, the urge can be to move at a quick pace through exercises. Let me introduce to you the concept of Time Under Tension.  The traditional time under tension concept is based on four seconds lowering your weight, 1 second pause, and 2 seconds to raise your weight. Most personal trainers will instruct their clients that sets of 8-12 reps will create muscle hypertrophy and strength in the body. If you rush through the first 8 reps, what happens to your form in the last 4? By slowing down your reps and focusing on time under tension, you are able to focus on what’s really happening in your workout. For your next bodyweight workout, try and hold true to the time under tension principle. 4-1-2. When you are integral with your body movements, you will no doubt complete more efficient workouts and will see start breaking through possible plateaus you have been facing…

Eliminate Plateau With Bodyweight Workouts

If you have done the same weightlifting workout routines for months on end, you have probably experienced a plateau at some point. Taking a break from your weights and gym equipment only doing something as simple as slowing down not only gives your joints a break, it switches things up for your muscles resulting in beneficial muscle confusion. Prior to every photo shoot that I do, I take a 10-14 day break from lifting weights and focus on bodyweight exercises. I do this not only to switch things up but to challenge my muscles in a way that lifting weights often times can’t. So next time you are staring at the wall of dumbbells and feel completely unmotivated, try busting out a high intensity bodyweight workout and bring the fun back to your fitness routine.


These simple bodyweight workouts are a great way to get the body moving and keep things simple.

Bodyweight Workout

Set your timer for 45 seconds for each exercise. Repeat each circuit 3 x. Focus on short rest periods between these sets to keep your heart rate elevated.

Circuit 1

Push Ups
Bench Dips
Wall Squat

Jump Lunges

Circuit 2

Bodyweight Squat
Lunges
Tricep Push Up

Plank on the toes (or knees if you need a modification)

Circuit 3

Shadow Boxing
Burpees
Mountain Climbers
Crunch

How Four Walls Changed My Heart

Not all seasons of life end up looking like what we hoped for or dreamed of.

11 years ago I married Troy and we started to build a life together with very little money.

I moved to Canada from the US 5 weeks before we got married, with no work permit, and Troy was a drummer in a band.

Although Troy owned a small condo, we were unable to live in it due to our lack of funds and decided it would be best to live with his parents as we got on our feet in the early stages of marriage. Looking back at those days I can’t help but reflect on the grace, patience, and love of his parents. We were 22 & 24, immature, and doing the first season of marriage in front of his family…literally everything. (cringe)

Let’s just say when we were finally able to move out on our own a year and a half into marriage, I was beyond thankful for that 600sqft condo that allowed us to have our own space. Having the Canadian dream of a white picket fence and security was actually never a dream of mine (or so I thought) hence why I married a touring musician, but somewhere along the way I developed this mindset that homes, cars and things represented security, happiness and a stamp on my life that said “we had made it.”

Maybe it was because we didn’t have a lot of money, maybe it was because I grew up in a home that was always financially stretched, I’m not sure. But what I do know is these things held a bigger place in my heart then I ever intended.

Fast forward 9 years into marriage….

We built two beautiful homes, Troy had a very successful job, we had three children and we were very secure where we are at.

And then we feel a call to the lower mainland to help plant a church. That’s a whole other blog post, but what I want to focus on in this post is the beauty that comes out of our discomfort and the growth that happens when we allow God to take the plans and dreams we had for our lives and build something far greater then we could have ever imagined.

As I write this I’m gazing around the 1200sqft condo that 2 years ago I would have never imagined our family could live in. When we moved from Kelowna we came from a 2800 sqft dream house with a big beautiful yard that we thought we would be in forever. But the reality is our lives were small. It’s so humbling when I look back at that big house and think of the countless ways we could have used it to bless people, to fill its spaces with friends and how we could have lived with so much less. It’s been 2 years since we have moved to the coast to answer a call to serve and love a city of people we did not know.

In this process there have been countless situations and experiences that have challenged and pressed us. One of them being letting go of what we felt we needed in order for our capacity to grow. Maybe 1200sqft for you represents a whole lot of space and in this very moment you could be thinking #firstworldproblems, and I get that. But I think one of the most amazing things about God is that He meets “us” at a personal level. God knew what a challenge it would be for me to let go of my beautiful home, the security of owning, and all the love I had put into those 4 walls. But He also knew the beauty and learning that would come out of a pressing season that included selling my beautiful furniture, downsizing our lives, and learning that four walls do not determine our success nor the capacity of our heart.

 

Over these past 2 years of letting go what has physically taken up space in my life, I have seen the walls of my heart explode for people, my capacity expand and my world get larger than I could have ever imagined.

Don’t ever despise your small seasons. Although my heart still at times longs for a home that can hold huge parties and host friends from out of town, I do believe God is going to make a way for us to have that one day. But for now, learning to live in a small space has really taught me to get creative with less, that the walls of my home do seem larger when they are filled with more love, and life doesn’t need to be perfect for you to make space for others. This condo has really taught me in countless ways that God always knows what’s best for us and sometimes he needs to make our physical spaces smaller and less cluttered in order for us to grow.

 

It was never about four walls. All along it was about learning to be content, thankful, and at peace in whatever state I’m in. This 1200sqft has hosted some of the richest conversations with friends, become a resting spot of our kids as we invest in their life, and along the way God taught us to take our eyes off ourselves and shifts them to a city that doesn’t need you to have large space for you to do life with them.

God shows up in our small beginnings, and sometimes he needs to make the process very physical in order for us to see that.

 

I want to say a special thank you to Urban Walls and their creative team. Our landlords had asked that we keep our walls white (which I love) but our kids needed some life, fun and creativity added to their rooms. Danielle and her team did a fantastic job of helping us select the perfect style for our home, installing them and creating the perfect to add something special but also respect your landlord;)

Also a huge thank you to Curated Tribe. You brought the perfect vintage-bohemian flare into our home with your beautiful rattan furniture pieces. We are such a huge fan of yours and will forever be stocking your Instagram page for new inspiration.

This condo has become one of my favourite projects to decorate and has become the perfect home for our family in this season.

Enjoy these beautiful photos by the incredible Brit Gill

Staying Active And Summer Styles With Iris

Vancouver is blowing us away this summer with glorious temperatures and blue skies. If you have ever been to Vancouver in the summer, you’ll know there is nothing like it! And when the weather is good, this city turns into a fitness junky’s dream!

Breath taking hiking, beautiful beaches, and some of the greatest fitness studios you will find in North America. Finding an activity will never be a problem in Vancouver, but choosing which one probably will be;)

This summer’s activities have looked a little different from most years for me.

In the past I would have stuck with my normal fitness routine of Pilates, weight-lifting, and hitting up as many classes as possible. Since transitioning to a rainier city fall through spring, I have learned to really appreciate the drier summer months. These days I find myself picking up my long board, throwing on some running shoes and getting creative with my outdoor workouts.

These countless hours in the sun have been amazing and have added a sunny glow to my skin, but I am also becoming more and more aware of the amount of time my eyes are now in the sun. Last week after my eye exam at Iris, I spent some time with the optometrist going over a few ways to protect my eyes from the loss of pigmentation.  In the past, I viewed sunglasses as an accessory that I’d only wear if it matched my outfit, or felt necessary if I was at the beach all day. It’s amazing how a little bit of education can completely change your perspective, especially when it’s dealing with something as important as being able to see!

After trying on a few new styles of sunglasses from the Iris summer collection, I was even more bought in. Whether you’re biking around the city, hitting the hiking trails or spending hours on a beach volleyball court, Iris has a ton of options that will fit your summer pastimes. 

Here a list of some of my favourite styles from the Iris summer collection

Enjoy!

Maui Jim-Mavericks 
Ray Ban 3536
Coach HC 7078
Michael Kors 6003
Photography By: Megan Bustard 

Vegan Chocolate Protein Brownies

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These brownies are one of our current go to breakfast options. They are simple, delicious and also add a little bit of extra protein into your day. Recently I started doubling the recipe and using them as dessert served with Earnest Ice Creams vegan “strawberry toasted coconut ice cream”. Earnest Ice Cream has some of the most delicious flavours of vegan ice cream and has become one of our favourite spots for date night with the kids.

I hope you guys enjoy this delicious and healthier treat;)

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Vegan Protein Brownies:

  • 1 TBSP Flax meal
  • 3 TBSP water
  • 1 Cup Gluten free perfect blend baking mix from Natures Fare Market
  • 1 TSP baking soda
  • 3 Very ripe bananas (mashed)
  • 1/3 Cup coconut oil melted
  • 3/4 Cup coconut sugar
  • 1 TSP Vanilla extract
  • 3/4 Cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 2-3 (Depending on how much protein you want to add)
  • Scoops Genuine health chocolate protein powder

Directions:

Mix flax seed & water together and allow to sit for 2-3 minutes to form a egg like substance.

Once the flax seed has set, mix all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.

Spray a 8×11 pan with coconut oil and pour mixture into pan.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Enjoy with vegan ice cream or yogurt for a breakfast option.

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Elsa Parties And Making Memories

I wish these warm summer days and endless hours at the beach would last forever!

I’m trying my best to savour these moments with the kids and really use the extra hours I get with them this summer to connect with their hearts. I’m going to try do my best to journal and document the little memories as we make our way through another epic summer together.

One of my favourite memories this summer was Adelaide’s Elsa birthday party! For months this little lady had planned and dreamed of her perfect day. We were asked countless times if the real Elsa was going to come and spend the day with her, so we enlisted the help of Crowned Princess Entertainment to help us make her dreams come to life. And Elsa did not disappoint!!

Surrounded by friends in their favourite princess dresses, this day could not have been more special for Adelaide or I. There is something so magical about seeing your little girl stunned by the presence of their real life hero. I felt like my heart was going to burst the entire party and then Elsa broke into “Let It Go” surrounded by little girls dancing to every movement and knowing every word. The tears flowed from this Mom and Adelaide officially dubbed this day the best day of her life.

Thank you Crowned Princess for making this day possible and making Adelaide’s dreams come true. Elsa, you were one of the sweetest people we have ever met! Thank you for sitting with the girls in your gorgeous dress painting snowflakes, reading stories, and belting out their favourite Frozen songs!

Also, a very special thank you to my friend Stacie at Sugar Love Cookie Design for creating the most beautiful Frozen-inspired cookies for our party favours. Stacie, you are incredibly talented, your cookies were delicious, and we are so thankful you were a part of Adelaide’s special day.

 

 

The Heart Behind Dailyroutinefitness

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In 2007 I married the man of my dreams, and with much excitement, started my journey as a wife. Quickly I realized in marriage it’s harder to hide the skeletons and dark secrets I kept hidden for so long. After a couple of months of marriage, Troy realized there were some deep issues in my relationship with food, and lots of damaged areas when it came to my self-worth. At the time we had no idea counselling was a good option, where to go for help, and where to even start. We prayed, spoke life into the dark places, cried, fought, and survived.


Fast forward 4 years into marriage and I give birth to our first-born McCarthy. I start the journey of motherhood, which included losing the baby weight, and facing some old demons. I was healthier at this point, but still fighting the up hill mental game. I was determined to some how find health and balance in my pain, because my love for Troy and McCarthy was so deep, I needed this for me and them.
Jump ahead, McCarthy is 20 months and I give birth to a perfect little dark-haired boy named Bennett. As soon as they handed him to me, I knew my heart has just grown in size.


After having both McCarthy and Bennett, I battled anxiety and depression, but did my best to hide it.  I would cry in the tub alone asking God to give me the strength to get through the day and do the amazing job of mothering I loved one minute and felt was choking me out the next. When Bennett was 4 months old, I still remember the exact moment I made a decision to launch DailyRoutineFitness. This story has many other details, and there are tons of little moments I want to include in this post, but will save for it for an IGTV story 😉 What I’m going to give you here is a snapshot of the heart behind what I do, and why I so passionately pursue what I feel I have been called to.


In the process of mothering 2 babies, trying to lose the baby weight, struggling with eating disorder demons, depression and anxiety, I was desperately looking for a fellow Mom who would inspire me to fight for my health, remind me how strong I was, and tell me I could love babies and still care for myself. One night I decided I needed to be my own voice of confidence, and as I found my voice I decided I wanted to some how, some way create a space online where Moms could get inspired, be vulnerable and find their strength again.


When I launched DRF,  I was still in the mindset that booty shorts, bra tops, and the perfect face is what would take the fitness Industry by storm. Then I started to actually work with Moms and woman who told me their stories, and over the course of 4 years, I have been broken and rebuilt…and I’m still in process. The investment made by my clients into my life by being honest with their struggles, stories, and victories, has changed me forever. My heart is softer, I see beauty I have never seen before, I love myself more, and daily I’m humbled and honoured to hold space for them.

When Adelaide was born, my world changed forever. My priorities changed, the love for my curves changed. I couldn’t believe that I had been blessed with a daughter. Empowering woman through short shorts, bra tops and the right angles suddenly felt so empty. I knew Adelaide would learn to find her confidence, feminine beauty, and worth by watching her mother love herself. So we did something that either makes or breaks a a company…we re-branded! We took down many of the images that I initially thought would connect with and inspire my audience. Instead, I replaced them with the real, raw moments the have shaped my body, my health and my soul as a woman and mother.


A fellow mom recently texted me saying “I haven’t eaten carbs in days! I desperately need to drop this baby weight.” This text is one of many that reminds me my work is far from done. Moms still need someone to teach them to be strong, to love themselves again, and inspire them to look deeper than the surface. When we focus on what’s happening behind the milk stained shirts, dark circles, forced smiles, and desperate eyes, we create something beautiful that pushes itself from the inside out. Launching a lifestyle/fitness blog and training clients was birthed out of a place of pain, brokenness and insecurity. When I realized that there was a world full of women who were waiting for someone to rise up and believe in them, I dug my heels in, got healthy, and started to speak words of life.

This is DailyRoutineFitness.