Busy little bumble bee

15 11 2010

Yikes, it’s been awhile! I can’t believe how quickly time is flying by. Crazy, crazy!

As you may recall from an earlier post, I got into teacher’s college in the spring and started the program in September. It’s just been go, go, go since.The hours have been a huge adjustment for a night owl like me.

For the last 6 years, I’ve always tried to schedule my classes to be in the afternoon or evening. When I had classes before noon, I would eventually stop attending them because I just couldn’t wake up for them after going to bed at 4 a.m.

Now, my classes start at 8:30 a.m. and I have no choice but to attend. They do attendance! And it’s hard to be inconspicuously absent when there are only 30 other people in your class…

So that’s how my September and October went, adjusting to the early days and working on assignment after assignment. The important thing is that I’m absolutely loving my program!!

I finally found the career path I was meant to be in. When I started, it was like a light switch went off. Literally. I never really believed anyone who said that until I experienced it for myself. So have hope!

November is when we’re placed in an actual school to practice what we’ve learned and teach real classes for ourselves. I got really lucky and was placed at a school nearby my house and teaching my specialty–marketing. It’s like for the first time in my life things are lining up perfectly 🙂 It’s exhilarating. And exhausting.

Although I’m ecstatic that my school/work life is finally on track, my health is not doing so well.

In the summer I developed some strange foot and ankle pains that flared up during and after running. A trip to a sports doctor diagnosed the foot pain as plantar fasciitis. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to diagnose the ankle pain except chalk it up to tight muscles.

He told me to take it easy with the running depending on the pain level, so I did, but the ankle pain (a sharp pain that felt like a muscle or ligament in my ankle had twisted suddenly) would flare up mid-stride every time I went out.  I, of course, took the lazy route and stopped running altogether.

In fact, I completely fell off the wagon (again) for the last few months. I haven’t been swimming either. Every once in awhile I’ll do an exercise video. I just got a bunch of Core Fusion dvds and I’m loving them.  But the lack of cardio and the not-so-great eating has meant I’m at an impasse with my weight loss and it’s been more maintenance or weight gain than anything.

I was suddenly struck with some inspiration today, though, which led me back to the blog world. I hope I can take some of that enthusiasm for work and carry it into healthy eating and exercise.

I’ll try to check back in with my progress, and some of the food pics I’ve taken over the last few months, soon!


Shopangles – Total Cleanse

30 08 2010

I love getting e-mail updates from Canadian website the Sweetspot. They have great columns about the latest trends, all sorts of reviews (products, restaurants, shops, etc.), reminders of the cool events that are happening in your city for the weekend and have a feature called Sweet Deals that compiles contests, giveaways and discounts.

After my spring/graduation vacay, I’m all about embracing thriftiness. I’ve become a bit of a contest-oholic (no luck yet 😦 ) and I’ve been using coupons at the grocery store wherever I can.

While browsing the Sweet Deals section of the Sweetspot website, I came across a 10% discount for a 3-day juice cleanse delivery program by a Toronto-based company, Total Cleanse.

Total Cleanse creates organic, preservative-free fresh juice blends (6 a day for 3 days) and delivers them straight to your door.

Personally, I like the idea of cleanses, as long as they are only for a short period of time. I once attempted to do a 5-day elderberry cleanse that consisted of consuming only water and elderberry juice for the 5 days, but that was too difficult for me to do. I hardly had any energy to do anything after the first day of that cleanse and didn’t have the will power to continue on.

That’s why when I found this 3-day cleanse, I thought I’d give it a try. After eating so poorly these last few months, I thought I’d start the summer off right.

So I ordered the 3-day Total Cleanse which came out to be $110 with the discount.

My juices arrived early Monday morning the week I began my full-time summer job as a camp counselor. This was a big mistake.

I was so eager to try the cleanse and I hoped it would help me shed a little weight before a friend’s wedding I had coming up. I did it, but I should have waited at least a week to allow my body to adjust to a 9-5 work schedule where I’m active all day.

Surprisingly, I followed through with it!

Having to drink 6 juices a day really helped curb any hunger. I think the mental part was most difficult.

My meals and snacks for a day

So each day you have to drink 3 Green Energy juices (made of Romaine lettuce, cucumbers, celery, parsley, kale and spinach). Basically it’s like a green monster but in juice form and it tastes more like cucumber juice.  I loved the juice consistency because the one thing I hate about green monsters is how thick they are. Plus I’ve been using our magic bullet to make my smoothies and it does a bad job of blending the banana in. I hate having to chew on chunks of banana when I’m trying to chug down breakfast before rushing out the door.

Then there are 2 Lemonades (lemons, cayenne pepper, ginger & maple syrup) that are really tasty and the cayenne pepper adds a nice kick (reminiscent of the Master Cleanse). And finally 1 Very Berry (blueberries, apples, pineapples & wheatgrass) juice. It’s like a regular fruit smoothie, sweet and delicious. The “dessert” juice. A perfect way to end the day.

Since the juices are pre-prepared and packaged in a ready-to-travel bottle, it was very convenient for me in the mornings. I just chugged it down before leaving the house and took my “snack,” the lemonade, with me to work.

(I took the labels off the bottles I took to work so co-workers wouldn’t ask me about it or offer their opinions on cleanses because I didn’t want to explain or hear what they had to say on the subject. I was doing this for myself so I didn’t tell anyone about it aside from my parents, sister and two close friends.)

The first day went well. I was so exhausted from work, I finished my last juice and went straight to bed.

The second day was a bit more difficult. Knowing you shouldn’t or can’t eat something really tries your will power. And just being on liquids, I started to get really strong cravings for solid food in general. Again, it really helped that I was so exhausted from work, because I would just go to bed really early and therefore wasn’t tempted to eat anything.

The third day was the most difficult but I really brought it upon myself. It was my sister’s birthday and I couldn’t not go out with her, but I also couldn’t eat or drink anything, so it was really hard just drinking water while everyone else was eating.

I did manage to finish the cleanse and not cheat, but they recommend that you ease your body into the cleanse by adjusting your diet to smaller meals of plain foods and ease your body out of the cleanse on a similar diet. Unfortunately, I thrust my body back into my normal diet.

Overall, I lost mostly about 5-7 lbs, and though it was water weight, it was nice feeling lighter after all the pounds I packed on from exam time stress eating. I think I’m going to try the cleanse again in September before school starts.

For interested Canadians, Total Cleanse delivers throughout the GTA, Montreal and Vancouver and the price for a 3-day cleanse ranges (depending on city) from $144-240. (5-7 day cleanses are also available in certain cities.) Also, their customer service is great. They e-mail out a cleanse preparation guide and were really prompt with their replies back to my questions.

*Obligatory Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with this company whatsoever. I just randomly decided to try their product and liked it so I wanted to share my experience.*

In the spirit of thriftiness, I’ve also become prone to checking other deal-finding sites for exclusive promotions and just scored 20 hot yoga classes for $20 at the Bikram Yoga Centre! You know what that means, right? There’s a yoga post to come (and it is a LONG time coming!).

Check out these sites for daily deals for activities, travel, pampering, food, etc. :

Fab Find – Deals available for Canadian cities.
Groupon – Deals available for cities around the world!
Living Social – Deals available for Canadian, U.S. and a few Europeans cities.

These are the only ones I know of now and check on the regular.

If you know of any other cool websites that specialize in finding deals, let me know!

Recipangles – Summer of Pizza returns

3 08 2010

Pizza is most definitely my favourite food.

I’m a strange Indian girl who is not a huge fan of traditional Indian food. I’ve always been a picky eater and I know it sounds crazy, but I’ve always preferred bland food over intense flavours, the very thing Indian food is known for. Of course, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more adventurous with food, but pizza is still my all-time fave.

Last summer I discovered the deliciousness of Amy’s Kitchen organic pizza and went on a spending spree to indulge my taste buds.

This summer, my bank account can’t support my Amy’s Kitchen or fast food pizza joint pizza habit, so I’ve gotten thrifty and healthy.

Instead I’ve been over indulging on veggie-overloaded naan pizzas.

Red onions, mushrooms, broccoli, spinach and zucchini topped with marble cheese on a whole wheat naan

It’s such a quick and delicious meal. I’ve made pita pizzas in the past using thin whole wheat pitas to cut down on the carbs, but they weren’t as satisfying as these pizzas are. I do enjoy thin crust pizzas, which this is in comparison to traditional store bought or restaurant crusts, but naan bread is a bit more doughy and dense (but in a fluffy way) than pita bread.

Here’s my quick, cheap and easy way of making them:

Saute your veggies for a few minutes to cook and soften first (I used red onions, mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini and spinach and cooked them for about 5 mins on medium)

For convenience sake, I bought canned pizza sauce (Unico is my favourite brand with Primo coming in a close second). You need a special tandoori oven to make a proper naan, so that also has to be store bought from either the grocery store or from a restaurant.

Top your naan with pizza sauce and your cooked veggies

My other time-saving trick was to use sliced cheese from the deli section of the grocery store.

1 slice of havarti (this one had jalapeno peppers in it for some added zing) ripped apart to cover the toppings

It obviously doesn’t take long to shred cheese or use already shredded cheese, but the slices pull double duty for sandwiches. (Oftentimes blocks of cheese get moldy in my fridge from infrequent use, so deli slices are a better choice for me.)

Into the toaster oven it goes...

I use the toast function on the toaster oven and set it to between medium and dark. Approximately 3-5 mins.

And out comes the finished product!

Oops, I forgot to mention I added some leftover chicken breast to the above pizza.

Here’s a breakfast pizza I made with turkey bacon, scrambled eggs, spinach, red onions and mushrooms:

Breakfast pizza

As you can tell, red onions and mushrooms are my pizza staples. I can’t eat pizza without them! (Well I can, but it’s never as good!)

What are your favourite pizza toppings?

Entertangles – Strut for a Cure 2010

26 07 2010

This post is long overdue, but I thought I’d do a little pictorial review of a charity fashion show I went to back in May.

Strut for a Cure is an annual charity fashion show supporting the Coast-to-Coast Against Cancer foundation, an organization that helps childhood cancer charities. Supermodel Coco Rocha helped start up the Strut for a Cure event and headlines the fashion show.

Coco Rocha being interviewed...yes, I was that close! (the guy in the back in the red and white t-shirt is her hubby)

My friend, Caley convinced me to skip class and seize this rare opportunity to dress up, drink up and eat up while mingling with the glitterati, taking in a fashion show featuring the designs of Todd Lynn and watching Dragonette perform live. For $95, I thought the perks and the cause were totally worth it. And it was!

Unfortunately, we arrived fashionably late:

(As you can see, I wore my sexy silver shoes 🙂 )

Which meant we weren’t able to get into the overcrowded room where the fashion show was taking place. Instead, they projected the show onto a wall.

That gave us the chance to hit the open wine and beer bar and eat some fancy schmancy (and delish) hor d’oeuvres. But we also kept trying to get into the room to see the fashion show and ended up missing the whole thing. The security people were being very strict since the room was over capacity and it was a fire hazard and a liability, yada yada…

However, our persistence paid off.

People started leaving the room after the fashion show since it wasn’t air conditioned and hot as hell in there. We were able to see Dragonette up close and personal!

There was a cool dance performance after Dragonette:

Then I took in some street style:

I love the purple checks! Hot! (shirt from Mexx)

A crazy Beyonce-esque fingerless 'glove' (from an Indian occult shop somewhere in Toronto).

Matching tuxes - adorable! (the guys from Pook toques)

Lovely lace - I love the intricate detailing of lace. I'm really liking the black lace overlay trend.

More intricate details (a Forever 21 necklace. Now that's a classy steal.)

Interesting shoes...can't decide if I love 'em or hate 'em...

Can you tell I'm a little obsessed with edgy footwear?!

After much chatting with random people, drinking, and dancing, we were ready to leave the party in a happy drunken fog with our crazy amazing (cramazing?) SWAG bags.

I had been attempting to get a picture with Coco Rocha all night with no luck. Finally before she left the party early, I snagged this shot. Though, not with her, at least it’s focused (few of my pics that night were 🙂 )…

Although I had my reservations at first, particularly with the uncertainty of what to expect at the event, I’m so glad I went.

It was just an overall fun night on the town, where I got to get dressed up, have an almost-sorta celebrity encounter, drink free wine and snack on fancy appetizers. I’ll definitely be doing it again next year!

Shopangles – Silver Shoe Porn

26 07 2010

I had a wedding reception to go to awhile ago. I found a gorgeous dress on Bluefly (see it here):

Ali Ro blue silk ruffle dress (The back is really pretty too)

When I got the dress in the mail, I found I’d bought it a size too large and it needed some shape in the waist. So I solved that problem by borrowing this sparkly belt from my sister:

definition and pizazz...what more could you want in an accessory?

However, I was left with a big dilemma–SHOES! In my mind I could picture exactly what kind of shoes I wanted to wear with this dress. A delicate dress like that needed a sexy pair of silver cage heels to edge it out a little and match my personal style. A quick Google search for silver cage heels brought me to the perfect pair…

Luichiny silver Starbound cage heels

*Sigh* But those gorgeous shoes and I were not meant to be. They were available from a variety of outlets (just Google the name and you’ll find a bunch of sources) including the all-powerful Amazon but none of the places shipped to Canada! 😦 I spent a whole night looking for a replacement before I finally gave up without any luck.  I figured I’d go to the mall and see if I could find a close substitute.

Shopping day #1 @ Sherway Gardens. I was really disappointed with the shoe selection at the shops there. Luckily, old faithful Aldo brought these lovelies into my life:

Aldo Macnamara in Medium Silver

Unfortunately, they really clashed with the belt (I forgot to take it with me when shopping = big mistake). I kept them as a back-up, but due to my many splurges on bathing suits for Cuba and what not, I eventually returned them.

Shopping day #2 @ Vaughn Mills. Success! After A LOT of walking around that gigantic mall, I found a pair of shoes that fit my purposes at Le Chateau.

*imagine heavenly chorus harmonizing in background*

Walking (or hobbling...) on the street late at night? Never fear, these ice pick heels will do some serious damage!

What I love about these cage heel-type shoes is the ankle support. Definitely a useful attribute of 4-inch heels.

The shoes were actually pretty comfortable and easy to walk-in. By the end of the wedding reception my feet were a bit sore from the height and because they’re not used to wearing heels regularly.  Then again, I wasn’t on my feet for very long that night.

After having worn the shoes on another occasion for a long night of dancing and standing for at least 2 hrs straight, I was impressed that I was still able to walk!

My feet were definitely in pain, but the shoes have never given me any blisters or anything. Only a faint numbness in my toes that was a bit worrisome because it lasted for a few days, but it eventually went away.

The things girls endure in the name of fashion!

Numbness aside, I can’t wait to wear them again. A sure sign I made the right decision.

Have you made any great shoe finds recently? (Share, share, share! I’m a sucker for HOT shoes 🙂 )

Inspirangles – One year older, one year wiser…?

3 07 2010

So, yesterday was my 24th birthday! I’m celebrating tonight by having some friends over for a BBQ.

On the menu:

  • Lean beef burgers
  • Soy burgers (President’s Choice brand) – I’ve never had these before, so I’ll do a little product review for any interested Canadians
  • Veggie burgers (Amy’s Kitchen California Burger)LOVE these! One of the best veggie burgers I’ve ever had.
  • My homemade guacamole, store bought salsa + tortilla chips
  • Scallops
  • Veggie skewers with red pepper, red onions, mushrooms, and zucchini
  • Grilled asparagus
  • Salad of spring mix greens with a lemon/honey/garlic dressing
  • Chocolate covered strawberries and pineapple for dessert
  • Courtesy of friends: pasta salad and cupcakes

I’m very excited, but I’ve got a busy day of prepping ahead of me.

With another birthday, comes a new year.

It’s been a rocky year, but I definitely feel I’ve come a long way mentally, emotionally and physically. I’ve fallen off the wagon a bunch of times, but I keep getting back on enthusiastically (which I think is the key word here).

The last couple of months, working out and healthy eating have been sporadic efforts on my part. I’m feeling really inspired to get back into a steady routine.

The start of July brings not only my birthday, but I’ll be starting my summer job working as a camp counselor, which means full-time hours (waking up before 12 pm and potentially going to bed before 12 am–huge change for a night owl like me!), lots of physical activity during the day (no more sitting in front of the computer or reading boring textbooks all day), and MONEY!! 🙂

In the last month, I’ve started writing a bunch of posts, unfortunately they required pictures and I couldn’t find my camera in the mess that was my room. But after an obsessive declutteration, I found it and will subject you to a barrage of posts over the next couple of days. Expect: SHOES!, a celebrity sighting, and lots of food pics.

To all you Americans, Happy 4th of July!

How are you spending your long weekend? What dishes are in your BBQ repertoire?

Inspirangles – Hopping back on the 5K band wagon

9 06 2010

I just read such an inspiring half marathon recap post at Half of Jess, I had to share it. I’ve been following Jess’ blog for the last few months and have read about her slow and steady progress with running. In the last 3 months alone, she conquered a bunch of 5k races and ran her first half marathon the other day. 3 months! It’s awe-inspiring for me because Jess went from hating running to becoming a runner in a matter of months. It’s real proof of what determination, diligence and hard work can accomplish.

Now I want to finally run my first 5k. Actually run it non-stop. Even if my walk is faster than my jog.

Which reminds me, I should talk about the 5K I participated in back in May.

The start line

[Photo credit]

I had originally intended to run the Walk of Life 5k, but I went on vacation and just stopped training for it (or exercising altogether) when I got back. I had convinced a bunch of friends to join me, but none of them were runners and they were all going to walk the 5k. The race was also a laid back event, not so much a race as a charity fundraiser. There was no official finish time tracking or anything like that.

While were were walking, I managed to convince one of my friends to do some running intervals with me. The first opportunity we got to break away from the mob, we started running and ended up leading the walking pack.

I couldn't find any pictures with me in them, but randomly saw my friends in this shot (front far right in the black and grey)

[Photo credit]

We finished the 5k running and walking in about 44:28 according to the finish line clock. Unfortunately, I didn’t keep track of the time so I’m not entirely sure how accurate that time is since I don’t know what time we started after the runners.

If it was our real time, I’m not too happy with it since I’ve done 5k jogs on my own in 30-35 mins, but we also did get caught behind all the walkers for the first 1.5k and that probably slowed us down a great deal.

In the end, it was a good experience and I felt great that I had fundraised for a charity that means a lot to me personally.

But like I said, now I’m ready to fully run my first 5k!

I’m signing up for two 5Ks this summer:
Beaches Jazz Tune Up 5K on July 25, 2010 – not chip-timed so it’ll be more of a practice run for me
Toronto Women’s 5K on August 28, 2010 – this one’s chip-timed, so it’s the real deal!

Time to get serious and start training! (Go figure, I’m actually excited to run again 🙂 )