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Thursday, August 25, 2016

DIY Boho Shoulder Bag


Have you ever had a bag that you love so much that it gets worn out from all the use? Bags and purses are one of those things that when you find one you like, it's hard to make a switch. I've always been someone who uses the same bag everyday and even though it's one more thing to lug around with kids, I can't give up my purse for a cute little clutch. I just can't. I'm guilty of always having way too much stuff in mine and having it weigh as much as a mini suitcase (and I know I'm not alone on this ladies!). But sometimes I do like to switch it up- like if I'm going out, or want something for a specific outfit- and I'll transfer my wallet and other essentials to a different bag.

And that's kind of what inspired this DIY. I've been looking for a shoulder bag for a little while to throw on with casual outfits, and I've seen so may cute ones with leather tassels and fringe. But instead of splurging on an expensive one, I thought I'd try and make one myself. Why not, could be fun, right? So I found an inexpensive bag at one of my favourite thrift stores and cut up some scrap leather left over from another project. Considering this project didn't even cost me $10 I'm pretty happy with the result! See below for the super simple how- to.


Materials

- leather or leather- look bag (the simpler the style, the easier to attach the leather fringe)
- leather in the colour of your choice
- scissors
- hot glue gun (as hot as you can find)


Directions

1. Begin by measuring the area you want to cover. Depending on how long you want your fringe to be you may need more or less leather to get the coverage you want.


2. Measure the pieces of leather for the fringe. Again the length can vary depending on the look you want, just make sure it's wide enough for the area you want to cover.


3. Using really sharp scissors, cut the leather pieces to size and then begin making cuts approx 1/8" apart, cutting to about 1/4" from the top edge. This can be a little tedious, but take your time to keep your cuts as straight as possible so your fringe is even.


4. When you've cut all of your fringe strips, start gluing them on. You can use a leather or strong fabric glue if that works, I just had this glue gun and it worked fine- but hotter is definitely better.



5. Trim any little pieces of leather away if necessary and voila! (You can also make a little tassel out of leftover leather as a cute embellishment). How easy was that? Now just to pick an outfit to wear... ;)



Styled photos- Miriam Elizabeth Photography

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

TPB Fitness Series: The 5 Habits of Healthy Eaters


We've all heard the saying 'an apple a day...' but it can be tough trying to actually eat the way we should. My general attitude is everything in moderation- I try to eat healthy the majority of the time but I don't deny myself treats as a reward (especially after the kids are in bed for the night!). I know this isn't a perfect philosophy but for the most part it works. Irina's post this month is loaded with some great tips to help us improve our eating habits and overall health and I love how she always includes some simple ways to incorporate her advice into your day- to- day life without it seeming too overwhelming. What little tricks do you have up your sleeve to help eat healthier?

From Irina:

Healthy eating is a priority for most people and yet such a large number of us struggle in this respect! If you fall in this category, not all is lost!

Over the years I've seen healthy eaters consistently demonstrate several habits which are a dramatic differentiator between them and the general population. In this article, I will go over what 5 of these are.

Healthy eaters understand macronutrients

Our bodies need protein, carbohydrates and fats and all three are extremely important! These are called macronutrients, and our bodies were designed to utilize all three, as well as water and a tiny amount of essential minerals and vitamins that our bodies can’t make themselves. Carbs should contribute ~50% of our daily food intake, proteins ~30% and fats ~20%. This is necessary for your body to function properly regardless of whether you’re a vegetarian, vegan or what have you.

Now I want to bust a myth for you: Carbs, proteins and fats are not bad for you, it’s the type you eat that is bad for you, and also the amount.

For example, fruits and veggies are carbs. And so is chocolate. Which one is better for you?

Butter and olive oil are both fats. Which one is healthier?

Finally, our bodies will store anything that’s in excess: it doesn’t care if we give it excess carbs, proteins or fats. If it’s in excess, it will store it!

Healthy eaters understand that carbs, proteins and fats are all important and make sure their diet includes all three!




Healthy eaters understand their own eating habits!

An excellent way to truly understand your eating habits is to hold a food journal over the course of a couple of weeks and see if you roughly fall under the percentages I outlined above. Sometimes it becomes super apparent right away that you are heavy on one of the macronutrients and lacking in another (remember what your body does with excess stuff??). Other times you will realize that you have a habit of eating something sugary after lunch, etc.

Once you understand where you are at, you can start to tweak things. Add some protein if you’re carb heavy, brainstorm an alternative for your sugary snack, etc.

And speaking of snacks...
Healthy eaters pay attention to their snacks and drinks

When you’re thinking about your eating habits, don’t forget snacks and drinks! Those count too! In fact, sugary drinks are incredibly high in calories - and that includes things like your morning coffee.

Alcohol is another big one - here in BC we don’t even know what’s in our drinks, or how many calories they have. But make no mistake, drinks have calories too. And they contribute nothing healthy to your body (although I do agree that they can contribute to keeping your soul happy - I too indulge in the occasional Friday evening drink)

That being said, healthy eaters consistently prep healthy snacks and make water their beverage of choice!




Healthy eaters do meal prep

Meal prep can be daunting but there are some tips and tricks to make it easier. Grocery shopping over the weekend and designating one or two meal prep days can go a long way.

Healthy eaters understand that eating at home and prepping meals ahead of time to avoid eating out is crucial to maintaining a good body weight!


Healthy eaters treat themselves -  but don't do it often!

Healthy eating doesn't mean you never get to eat anything delicious or indulge in life's small pleasures. After all, if you can't let go once in awhile and enjoy the wonderful food we have available to us, what's the point? Me? I LOVE pastries and popcorn! Throw a croissant my way and I’ll stuff my face immediately with zero regrets. I just don’t do it all the time.That’s the secret!

When people attempt to become healthier, they restrict themselves too much. Treat yourself sometimes - just admit that it's a treat and understand that there is nothing wrong with that.

Healthy eaters allow for treats - they just limit how often it happens.

Healthy eaters start small

Too many people fail at healthy eating because they do it all at once. I like to teach my clients to just focus on one goal at a time. Maybe it's reducing the sugar in your coffee, or adding more veggies to your meals. Whatever that one thing is that's most important to you, start there. Once you've achieved your first goal, move on to the next one.

Summary
Healthy eating is about understanding macronutrients, your eating habits and minimizing eating out. It allows for treats once in awhile and encourages people to take it one step at a time. How about you? How many of these healthy eating habits do you follow?

Don't miss the other posts by Irina in this fitness series!




About Irina

Irina discovered fitness by accident after having her daughter and started Tone Every Zone out of an overwhelming desire to help other busy individuals such as moms juggle a hectic lifestyle while staying active. Irina loves teaching people about fitness and working with them as a team to make long lasting lifestyle changes.

To get in touch with Irina about her personal training services please email her at irina@toneeveryzone.ca, or get in touch through her website. You can also follow Irina on social media for more great fitness education tips:


About Tone Every Zone

Tone Every Zone is a mobile personal training company servicing New Westminster, as well as parts of Burnaby, Coquitlam, Port Moody and Surrey. Tone Every Zone comes to you, saving you the cost of gym memberships, and eliminating the need to adhere to a schedule set by a commercial gym. To learn more, please visit: www.toneeveryzone.ca

Thank you to these partners for collaborating on this post series:



Photographer: Catherine Hilcove Photography Facebook | Instagram

Workout Apparel:
Underables Shown in this post: GROCERIES workout tee & leggings (worn by Irina)

LNBF Shown in this post: Melissa Light Active Hoodie & Suri Leggings (worn by Katherine)



Friday, August 19, 2016

5 Reasons to go on a Girl's Getaway


OK ladies, confession time: when was the last time you got away with the girls? For me it was about 5 years ago (!!!) and so much life has happened since then. It can be tough to get away when you've got kids, but even a few hours can make such a difference and remind you why you've got the tribe that you do. Last week I shared about some struggles I recently faced (see that post here) and the experience has made me love & appreciate my friends even more. I'm lucky and they're amazing. Friends are the people you choose to include in your life and they can sometimes be just what you need to refresh & unwind. I'm looking forward to spending a few days away with friends this weekend for the first time since becoming a Mom and I'm beyond excited. I know I'll have mixed emotions and miss my 3 blondes, but the timing couldn't be better with how I've been feeling. Who else can relate? I'm sharing my 5 reasons to go on a girl's getaway and I'm curious to see if/ what I'd change on this list after this weekend. See below for my 5, what would yours be?

1. You deserve it. Let's just get the obvious answer out there first. You work hard everyday to be the best you that you can be to the people in your life and wear a variety of hats in a day. Even if it doesn't look like you've achieved much at the end of the day- the house is a total mess but the kids are alive!- you're working your booty off and it's rarely glamorous juggling all that we do. Also, you probably don't get a lot of time to yourself (anyone else have an audience when they go the bathroom?!), meaning you deserve a break even more! 

2. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Sound familiar? Stepping away from the daily routine and those in it can be what you need to recharge and actually miss those crazy little people (and big people- I can't forget about the hubbies!) and come back refreshed and ready to tackle everything head- on. It can be a chance to reflect on what you love and appreciate about your kids and husband, which you can draw upon during those times they're driving you crazy later. 

3. Friends are the family you choose. Are they ever! Getting married and having a family can have a big impact on your life, including the people you choose to spend time with. Just like any other relationship, friendships need nurturing too and enjoying a couple days- even a couple of hours!- spending time with friends and reconnecting is important. These are the people who are there for you on the bad days, have probably seen you at your worst, and love you anyways. Where else in life do you find people like that? And let's face it, if I'm going to let people in my house while I'm sleep- deprived, in need of coffee and sans makeup/ hair done, these people get me at some of my (ahem) finest moments, so it's nice to spend quality grown up time with them too (and without constant interruption!).

4. Feel like you again. I'm not sure when this happened, but I became a grown- up. I'm not sure that I'm a stellar example, but here we are with a house, 2 kids, and the stress and messes to go with it. It's a beautiful mess, but somedays you can get lost in the mix. I don't have a problem skipping my makeup and throwing my hair into a ponytail or topknot, but somedays I crave putting on a pair of heels and getting dressed up in clothes that aren't kid- friendly (!!!). Having the chance to sleep in, drink a hot cup of coffee and do whatever you want when you want becomes a novelty as a Mom and slowing right down so you can enjoy a day off or two can do wonders for your well being. Indulge in your hobbies, read a book, or do something a little crazy that you can't do with the kids around. Sometimes you don't realize how much you need a break until you get one, so go for it!

5. Make memories. Ok, so I'm ending this on a sentimental note, but really this is so true (see #3). Make sure that you make the time count, whatever that may look like. You might not know when you'll get the chance to get away again, so enjoy it. Organize an activity, open a few bottles of wine, go out for dinner... just have a blast! This is your chance to unwind and have some fun with people you care about, so make some good memories while you're at it. Take photos, have fun, and most importantly, enjoy yourself! Life's too short not to enjoy it, so just go have fun!

What would you add? I'd love to hear what your favourite things to do are on a girls getaway!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Recipe: Savoury French Toast


Hands up who loves French toast??? I don't know too many people who don't and really, how can you go wrong when there's so much good stuff on one plate? (And how about those nights when you make breakfast for dinner???- YUM!). But just when you thought you had breakfast all figured out I'm here to mix things up a little: have you ever tried savoury French toast? 

The idea came to me about a month ago when I picked up a loaf of artisan bread at the farmer's market and thought, well if eggs and toast are a good combo, why not try a twist on a classic? I'm sure some of you probably think I'm messing with perfection here, or maybe even think this sounds downright un- appetizing. But like bacon and maple syrup, this semi- sweet/ savoury combo works. This is kind of like an omelette/ French toast blend and there are endless ways to try this, so don't feel stuck just by my list of topping ideas. My suggestion is try for as savoury as you can go and work backwards from there, trying different topping combos each time until you find a favourite. If you try it & like it, I'd love to hear what you put on yours! 




Ingredients per person/ serving:

For the French Toast
- 2 slices of bread (try a sourdough or jalapeno cheddar for added flavour)
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 tbsp water
- aged cheddar or other strong cheese, thinly sliced

And any/ all of these yummy toppings 
(think about your favourite omelette toppings and go from there- I tried sauteed onions & olives for this version)
- 1/2 medium white or yellow onion sliced & sautéed
- 2 tbsp sliced olives
- 1/4 cup sauerkraut
- 1 green onion, chopped
- diced bacon or ham
- sliced mushrooms, grilled
- Dijon mustard for dipping

Directions:

1. Heat a skillet or frying pan over medium heat while you get everything ready
2. In a bowl or dish large enough for the slices of bread, beat the egg and mix in the water (I skip adding milk because of Ari & Will, but by all means add milk if you like). Dip the bread in the egg wash until it's absorbed into the bread and there's no dry areas
3. Fry the first side of the French toast for a few minutes until just turning golden brown, then flip
4. Place the slices of cheese on the bread and allow to slightly melt (if using, add the ham or bacon if you'd like it warmed)
5. Scoop off the pan and plate the French toast. I layered mine alternating slices with toppings between the layers and on top).
6. Add the rest of your toppings & serve

For a sweet/ savoury version use a lighter cheese and top with bacon or ham and sautéed onions and dip in maple syrup. It might sound weird, but don't knock it 'til you try it!!!

What's your favourite way to eat French toast? Do you like it simple or load it up?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

On Feeling Broken


I'm not really sure how to start this post, so I'm just going to jump right in...

A few weeks ago, I hit a wall and things came crashing down. Hard. Painfully hard. I felt like an emotional mess, someone I didn't recognize. My usual outlook got pushed aside and replaced with a nagging feeling of anxiety, like I'd lost the ability to see all the good around me and could only see the flaws. I felt lost, overwhelmed, and broken. I wasn't myself. I'm usually someone who tries to look at the positive and focus on the good things, who likes to laugh at dirty jokes and be a little bit cheeky; generally I just like to try and make things as fun as possible, regardless of what else might be going on. We've got one life to live, and I want to live it to the fullest. And for whatever reason, a few weeks ago I suddenly lost that person and struggled to regain that outlook. I haven't felt like that since Ari was a newborn and it was a messy, emotional week, one with a lot of soul searching. I had lost me.

During that time I carried on, telling myself if I smiled, laughed, and continued on as if things felt normal, that they would once again feel that way inside. And to some extent, it worked. But I faltered. A lot. And I just couldn't pick myself up without help. So I did what I've done in the past to help work through such things: I talked about it. I looked to the tribe of people I'm lucky to have in this life and they helped me regain balance. I talked about things with Will, and my Mum, and I confided in some close friends who I knew I could talk to without fear of judgement. It's rarely easy to talk about the tough stuff, and speaking about it then and sharing about it now, it's still a little intimidating, but I think it's important that we are honest with ourselves and each other, and share about these experiences. We have to work through things, our emotions, not ignore them.

It was being able to do this and the love and encouragement I received that helped me push through the wave of emotions I'd been struggling with and come up for fresh air. I still feel like I'm working through things a little, but I've bounced back enough to feel like I can now share about it here and continue to move forward the best way I know how: smiling, and laughing, and savouring the good while moving past the bad. Life isn't perfect, it isn't tied up with a neat bow, there are curveballs and really, it's one helluva roller coaster ride. And I wouldn't expect any less. But sometimes things catch up with us and we have to fight a little harder to get through things. And as much as I don't enjoy feeling that way, I have to admit that I think it's healthy to explore those emotions. We can't be happy all the time, even if we want to. That's not to say we shouldn't try and make the best of things, but we have a range of emotions for a reason, and I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be happy when sometimes all we want and need is to let off steam, have a cry, or work through things. 

I like to think I'm a pretty honest person, who wears her heart on her sleeve and doesn't shy away from talking about the tough stuff. Sharing about this today, I hope it shows that it's ok to not always feel wonderful; to feel like you're struggling, or just simply going through a tough time. We're encouraged to talk about these things, but still all too often we don't in fear of judgement. While we're breaking it down, there is still a stigma about mental health and it will never go away if we don't have the courage to address it. So here I am, trying to do just that. 

I'm an advocate for taking care of yourself and yet I'm just as guilty of forgetting to do this. One of the things I've neglected for so long is exercise, despite knowing it's integral for a healthy life and a healthy mind. I'd been slowly making half- hearted efforts this year, but I hadn't really made it as much of a priority as I really wanted. This experience hit me across the face as a reminder that I have to make time for my own health, both mentally and physically. Out of all of this mess, I regained a focus and a drive to really start making time to exercise. I've been running and doing yoga, plus actually trying out the tips that have been shared by Irina in the blog's fitness series. It started out as a little test, to see if I could actually get my act together and get into a routine, and so far I'm 3 weeks in and I'm enjoying the little challenges I set for myself, but also the difference I feel and see. For the first time in years I swam 3k this morning. I don't know the last time I was able to do something like that and I credit these past few weeks for being able to achieve this goal. Out of all the negative, messy emotions I suffered through a few weeks ago, having something so positive come out of it has been a big part of the healing process, of finding myself again.

I don't know what kind of a reaction this post will get. But what I hope for is that it shows that it's ok to admit defeat, to ask for help, and to surround yourself with a tribe of people who enrich your life. We all have bad days, bad weeks, bad periods of time and it's important to acknowledge how you feel and do some soul searching and confide in those you trust. To those friends and family who helped me get through this and put a big, goofy smile back on my face, thank you. You will never know how much you helped. And to those of you who feel lost or sad or broken, you are not alone and I hope this proves that.

...

I started this blog hoping to share openly and honestly about life. I love that it allows me to do some amazing things and meet some amazing people. It has been a blessing in my life in a way I could have never imagined. It's an outlet, a hobby, a job, and so much more. But it's also a place where I hope to always share about real life. I enjoy the creative challenges I get to explore, and often this blog is a pick- me- up or a distraction when I'm having a bad day and I pour myself into it. On my bad days this blog and it's social networks are my outlet, where I can share things that have brought joy into my life and I hope will do the same for you. But in doing so, I hope to never appear fake or like someone I'm not; I post favourite moments in a day, experiences, (and wine!) etc in my attempts to focus on the good, the funny, the silly, and the WTF moments because that's the mix that makes me happy and hopefully brings readers something to enjoy as well. I hope today's post shows that happiness doesn't always just 'happen', that it can take effort, and sometimes you've just got to make your own. Thank you for your ongoing love and support, I'm blessed to do what I do here.

<3 KP



Saturday, August 6, 2016

SUP Essentials (just add a swimsuit!)

Last week I got to team up with my friend Piya from The Handpicked Home on a fun giveaway inspired by all things beach-y including SUP, aka stand up paddle boarding. One lucky winner is going to enjoy some sweet goodies from Feral Boardsports, Proof Eyewear, and All Twerk & No Pray and it got me thinking about what you should bring to the beach if you're going to enjoy a paddle boarding session. I'm sharing my top picks below- all you need to add is a swimsuit, a paddle & a board! There's still plenty of Summer left, so get out and enjoy it! Where's your fave place to SUP?


1. Tank ('cause sweating is a good thing!)- All Twerk & No Pray
2. Rosewood brim hat- Austra
3. Roundie towel- Rollo Towel Co
4. Backpack- Chapters Indigo
5. Portable Speaker (for some background music!)- Uncommon Goods
6. Sunnies- Proof Eyewear
7. Sunscreen (don't forget the SPF- we've been loving this sunscreeen this Summer!)- Banana Boat, available at Amazon.ca
8. Sandals- Sanuk
9. Shorts (these cuties are on sale!!!)- Billabong
10. Waterproof pouch (to protect your phone etc if you get wet)- Amazon.ca

What are your essentials for heading to the beach???

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Recipe: Mango Strawberry Salsa


When you get together with family & friends, is there always a dish that everyone loves? That just gets pounced on and devoured in minutes? You know what I'm talking about. This little recipe would be one of those. This salsa has been a favourite at family dinners this Summer (I wish I could take credit for it, but it's my SILs that I have to thank for this) and I thought it would be perfect to share as we head into August (seriously, where is this year going?!). It takes minutes to make and is just. plain. yummy. Whip up some guac to go with it and you've got the makings for a tasty experience. Now just to find a beer & a lime wedge to go with it...!

Ingredients:

1 cup strawberries, diced
2 medium mangos, pitted & diced
1/4 cup onion, diced
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
Juice of half a lime
1/2 tsp salt (more or less to taste)


Directions:

1. Dice the strawberries, mangos, and onion and stir together. 
2. Add the cilantro, lime juice, and salt, tasting as you go until you get the flavour you like
3. Enjoy right away or chill in the fridge for an hour (or a few) to let the flavours combine
4. Serve with your favourite chips & enjoy!