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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

DIY Mexican Blanket Cushion Cover

Tomorrow is the first day of June (what?!) and soon Summer will be in full swing. So I thought this would be a good time to share a simple project idea that would be the perfect addition to your patio or home and add a pop of colour for the warm days ahead. And what better to do this with than a vibrant Mexican print? I keep seeing beautiful Mexican- inspired rugs and decor on Instagram and Pinterest, and this DIY is a fun way to incorporate it into your home just in time for Summer. 

Basic cushion covers are quick and easy to make even if you don't sew a heck of a lot and are a great beginner sewing project. My Mum recently gave me her old sewing machine and I've been enjoying trying it out for some simple sewing projects like this one. I found the fabric I used at one of my favourite thrift stores but you really aren't limited with the fabric you use, just consider how much wear and tear it will receive and choose a fabric accordingly. While I had my patio in mind while making this, it's ended up being a fun addition to Liam's room (see photos at the end of the post). It's a quick and easy project, and perfect for adding a fun pop of colour. See below for the how- to. 

- fabric*
- measuring tape
- fabric chalk
- pinking shears
- pins
- seam tape (if you want to make your seams a little more durable and/ or you use fabric that frays easily like the one I used)
- buttons/ zipper 

* you will need enough to cover your cushion with 1" seam allowances on all sides, (my cushion was 15"*15" so I needed 2 pieces that were 17"*17" with seam allowances). 

1. Measure the cushion you want to cover to make sure you get enough fabric (remember to add 1" for seam allowances on all sides- increase this if your cushion is really full/ firm).

2. Decide on how you want the pattern on each side (do you want the pattern centred, going in a certain direction, etc) and measure/ mark your fabric accordingly. 

3. Snip snip snip! Use pinking shears to cut the fabric.

4. Place the fabric right sides together and pin along the  edges. Allowing for 1/4" seam allowances, sew around each side, reinforcing the corners by backstitching once or twice. Leave a 3- 4" space un- sewn so you can turn the cushion cover right side out.

5. Flip the cushion cover right side out.

6. And voila! Pop in your cushion and sew up the hole by hand to finish it off.

I love how the cushion cover turned out and think it'll be a cute addition to Liam's bed when he's older. For now it's hanging out with his favourite stuffies in his room. PS- yay for easy distractions (sunglasses) to snap some photos!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

TPB Fitness Series: 4 Simple Ways to Make Cardio Your Friend

Cardio. That is such a loaded word, full of expectations, anxiety, and pressure. At least it is for me. I always set myself such lofty goals in this department and beat myself up for it when I fall short. But cardio isn't actually as intimidating as so many of us think and thanks to our kids, we're already a step in the right direction for what it takes to get this aspect of fitness in check: we're up and moving about! Part 2 of this fitness series with Tone Every Zone is dedicated to this topic and I love how Irina has suggestions that you can easily fit into your daily routine- even with the kids around- that take 15 minutes or less to help you work towards your fitness goals. You don't need a gym or even a workout space for her suggestions (think hills, stairs, a step stool, and even your own body) and let's face it: 15 minutes isn't such a challenge to squeeze in, is it? See below for her great tips and click here to view Part 1 in this fitness series.

Oh! And I almost forgot- there's a GIVEAWAY  announcement at the end of this post! See how you can enter to win 1 of 5 fitness assessment sessions with Irina and for a chance to win a pair of LNBF Suri leggings (like the ones I'm wearing) at the end of today's post. :D

Hey everyone it's Irina again! Cardiovascular health is a very important aspect of general wellness. We spend too much time being sedentary and we don't  move around as much as we should. This can lead to heart disease and all sorts of other problems! Now, if you're a mom - you're already ahead of the game: chances are your kids force you to be more active than the general population because we all know kids don't sit still unless they're sleeping.

Cardio is a bit misunderstood: it doesn't necessarily mean going for a run or doing a crazy HIIT class. But it is great fat burning exercise and should not be overlooked. Here are some simple ideas you can start incorporating once or twice a week into your schedule.

If you have any hills around your house, you're in luck! Start modifying your usual route when you take your baby/ kids for a walk and opt for the hill instead! An incline is a great way to get your heart rate up while at the same time eliminating the high impact that comes with running or jumping around (which can be really uncomfortable if you're a breastfeeding mom for example). When the hill starts getting easier, increase your walking speed.

If you live in a house or townhouse, chances are you have some stairs. Here are some cardio exercises you can do with stairs:
  • 1min step ups
  • 1min sprints
  • 1min jumps (jump from step to step)
  • 1min step and squat: go up a step, do a squat. Do the same on the way back

*Repeat 3x for a quick 12min cardio workout!*

Any elevated surface

If you don't have hills in your neighbourhood or stairs in your house, maybe you have a step stool! A step stool can be awesome cardio! Really, any elevated surface will do, just make sure it's sturdy! Here's a quick cardio routine using a step stool:
  • 1min step-ups
  • 1min step up and jump down
  • 1min step up and lunge back
  • 1min jump up and jump down

* Repeat 3x for a quick 12min cardio workout!*

Your body!

As it turns out, equipment is only optional when it comes to fitness training. Your body and gravity can do an awesome job getting your heart rate up. Here's an awesome 5min sequence that requires no equipment. These exercises are simple but very effective!

  • 1min jumping jacks
  • 1min high knees (or marching, for the lower impact option)
  • 1min jump squats
  • 1min mountain climbers
  • 1min walking planks

*Repeat 3x for a fast 15min cardio workout!*

As always, the thing to keep in mind is that it's ok to start small. 12-15min can be a quick burst of energy and a great workout if the time is used to its full potential.

What are your thoughts about cardio? How do you incorporate it into your busy schedule? What are you finding works really well? What are you struggling with? I'd love to hear from you!

...And now about that giveaway I mentioned!
As part of this fitness series, Irina and LNBF (who kindly contributed fitness apparel for this post series) are offering up some great incentive to help you with your fitness goals! Some lucky ladies will win one (or both!) of the following prizes as part of this fitness post series. Enter in the forms below. Good luck!

What's Up for Grabs:

5 Initial Training packages with Irina*
Each Package Includes:

  • 1hr session with a certified personal trainer who will travel to your location
  • Fitness assessment to determine your starting point
  • Stretching sheet designed to improve posture and flexibility
  • Sample workout
  • Training package that you get to keep
*Please make sure to read the terms and conditions to ensure you are eligible to win a session with Irina. Click here to view the terms & conditions of this part of the giveaway.
***Fill in the Lifestyle Questionnaire for 5 bonus entries and to help Irina get to know you before the initial training session.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 pair of Suri Leggings from LNBF
LNBF's best- selling leggings made from amazingly soft bamboo fabric that's lightweight and comfortable. The breathable fabric is thermo- regulating and wicks away moisture- perfect for staying comfortable during a workout. This portion of the giveaway is open Canada- wide.

About Irina

To get in touch with Irina about her personal training services, send her an email at irina@toneeveryzone.ca, or get in touch through her website. She would love to hear from you!
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 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)

Monday, May 23, 2016

Fashionable Four Eyes Part 2

A little while back I had fun hosting a giveaway with Firmoo Optical (see that post here) and having the chance to pick out a new pair of specs for myself. After having my previous pair for 6 years, I felt like they'd served me well and it was time for a change. Time for some fun! This was my first experience buying glasses online and being picky about how they look, I was curious to see how well Firmoo could deliver. I decided on a tortoise- shell pair so they'd look good with whatever I'm wearing and am loving them (check 'em out below!). 

Ordering was simple- you can take a photo of yourself with a webcam or upload one to 'try on' the frames on the Firmoo website and get an idea of how they'll look. All you'll need is info like your prescription details and distance between pupils to order. You can also choose between several lens options to suit your needs and budget. After ordering, they arrived pretty quick- in about a week- and came with a sturdy case to protect them from getting damaged while bouncing around my purse. Not only are the frames really pretty, they're an affordable option for getting fashion- forward styles, with many costing under $50 (plus shipping). Definitely check them out if you're on the hunt for a new pair of specs or sunnies!

To see all of the great frames (and sunglasses!) available, visit the Firmoo website

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Lifestyle Meets Comfort: Gallery Wall How- To

I'm excited to share that I've contributed a guest blog post over on the La- Z Boy Comfort Meets Lifestyle website! If you're looking for some design inspo, it's a great resource to check out with articles on a variety of topics including trends, tips, and DIYs. 

My post is a simple how- to for creating a gallery wall, with some tips and tricks to help make the process a little simpler (I always find it takes me way longer to hang photos, etc than I think it will). A gallery wall is a stylish way to display photos, art, and other pieces while adding a personal touch to your home. See below for a little sneak peak and head over the Lifestyle Meets Comfort website for the full post!

Visit the Lifestyle Meets Comfort website for this and other decorating and organizing ideas.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Something for the Fellas: A Good Shave with Schick's Hydro 5 Razor

Father's Day is coming up next month and since it's all about the special fellas in our lives, the timing for this post couldn't be much better. I've teamed up with Schick to offer 25 gents the new Schick Hydro 5 Razor system and a chance to win a $100 CAD gift card to splurge on themselves (get all the details below). All they have to do is sign up to try it out and leave a review on Amazon.ca.

If your hubby likes a good shave, this is a great way for him to try out this new razor and see the results for himself!

Schick Hydro 5 features:
- Hydrating Gel Reservoir made with aloe and vitamin E helps to reduce friction while shaving and lasts up to 2x longer than regular lubrication strips
- improved gel delivery to hydrate skin during and for up to 1 hour after shaving
- 5 Ultra Glide Blades with built- in skin guards to help control skin flow and reduce friction and irritation
- Flip Trim for precise trimming in areas that are hard to reach (all five blades help to trim vs the single edging blades found on some other razors)
- ergonomic design so razor rests and maneuvers comfortably in your hand

Will was a good sport about being included in this post and I got some shots as he tried it out. We had some fun with his facial hair (you can see what he did if you scroll down) testing out the flip trim option for some contouring. He has sensitive skin and is prone to razor burn so he was a good person to try it out and provide feedback. You can see his thoughts on it below.

And the end result...! (Told you he had some fun with this... where's the Harley?) ;)

 What Will liked about the new Schick Hydro 5:
- it was comfortable to hold and easy to maneuver
- it didn't irritate his skin
- the contour flip is a great option and works well for hard- to- reach areas and for definition (ie sideburns, etc)
- the lubrication strip made it a smooth shave without irritation or hairs getting caught in the blades (I asked him about an hour after he tried it how his skin felt, and he said it felt fine, with no razor burn or irritation- something that's never happened before after he's shaved)
- if you're prone to razor burn and/ or have sensitive skin, this razor is worth a try

Want to try out the Schick Hydro 5 for yourself and have the chance to WIN A $100 GIFT CARD? Here's how it works:

1. Contact me at kpetrunia@hotmail.com with your name, address, phone number, and preferred email address with SCHICK RAZOR REVIEW in the subject line
2. If you are within the first 25 readers to contact me, you will be sent the new Schick Hydro 5 system to try for yourself
3. To be entered into the giveaway for the $100 gift card, post a review on Amazon.ca including #gotitfree and #contest at the beginning of the post*
4. Once you have posted your review on Amazon.ca, email me the link to be entered for a 1 in 25 chance to win the $100 gift card

That's it! 

*In order to post a review on Amazon.ca, you must have an account and have made a purchase within the last 6 months using that account. Click here for the Schick Hydro 5 product page

Contest disclaimer:
This program is only open to age of majority residents of Canada (excluding Quebec). To participate, you must have purchased an item on Amazon.ca within the last six months; otherwise, you will be unable to leave a review. All participants will receive a Schick Hydro® 5 system as featured in this post. See full Rules here. Winner will have to answer a skill testing question in order to claim prize.

To learn more about the Schick Hydro 5 razor system, visit the Schick Canada website.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

#KEWEBirthdayBash: Kewe Clothing Turns 1

Last week one of my favourite local kid's clothing brands turned 1, and to celebrate founder/ lady boss Angela threw one heck of a bash. There was shopping, treats (delish coffee served up by Jack Coffee, and popcorn from The Popcorn Bar to name a few) epic swag bags, a raffle benefitting The Joy Smith Foundation, and so much more. In the invite she called it a 'Shop + Celebrate' event, and I'd say she knocked it out of the park on both counts.

In case you're not familiar, KEWE Clothing offers up locally made organic and bamboo clothing for kids that are as comfortable as they are adorable (I really wish the ombre leggings came in my size!). The fabrics are printed in small batches using water based inks so they're safe and gentle against littles' skin and eco- friendly without comprising on quality. The prints are fun and the quality of the fabric means they can handle whatever their little customers put them through.

The #KEWEBirthdayBash took place at Montrose + George General Store, with all sorts of goodies and a raffle for a gift basket loaded with items from local artisans curated by Pacific Basket Company, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting The Joy Smith Foundation, an organization dedicated to ending human trafficking (it's sadly one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises globally and a very worthy cause- kudos Angela for helping bring more attention to this great organization). There's a lot of hard work and heart that goes into running a business, and Angela makes it look easy. Congrats to Angela on all of her well- deserved success and to everyone who helped her make her celebration so special (see the end of the post for all the locals who were involved).

Sidenote: As Codi (aka Creative Wife and Joyful Worker/ co- host of the event) snapped this shot, she happened to mention potty- related activities and the look on my face is the result. Sometimes I think the candid shots are the best and I just might have to print this one. ;)

So let's take a quick sec and talk about those swag bags! They're a fun bonus from an event like this, and I appreciate the treats inside contributed by the amazing sponsors. By far one of the best bags of goodies I've been treated to, with some of my favourite local businesses like Bebe De Luxe and From the Seeds (see the full list of sponsors below). Let's just say that popcorn from The Popcorn Bar and gourmet marshmallows by Marsh & Mallow were devoured as soon as I took this photo...

If you're on the hunt for some new threads for your kids or need to pick up something as a gift,  check out all that KEWE has to offer on their website and find them on social media: Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest

The #KEWEBirthDayBash sponsors:

Monday, May 9, 2016

Mediterranean Pasta {Gluten Free}

If you follow the blog on Instagram you may have seen this pasta dish I posted last Friday night as part of Catelli's #GlutenFreeFridays. Easy, healthy & delicious, check, check, and check- YEEHAW! May is Celiac Awareness Month, and even though no- one in our family is Celiac, having strong gluten intolerances pretty much means we eat as though we do. That means we seek out gluten- free options for everything from bread and sauces to pasta. Thankfully this has been one staple of our diet we have been able to continue enjoying without much change (thank goodness because we're all pasta fiends!). With the warmer weather I like to shake things up a bit and cook lighter meals, but that are still full of flavour and satisfying (for another yummy gluten free pasta recipe, check out this one by my friend Andria over on The Cheerio Diaries). Mediterranean- inspired dishes are perfect for this and I love a good vegetarian meal every now and then. I've made a few different versions of this dish and each time have been really happy with how it's turned out, so I thought it was time to share it. Gluten free or not, it's delicious and if you can, top it off with a little butter and fresh parmesan. 

Makes 4 servings
- gluten free pasta of your choice (for this I used Catelli's gluten free spaghetti)
- 1/2 each of a red and yellow bell pepper, cut into slices
- 1/2 medium red onion, sliced thin
- 1 tomato, diced
- 1/2 zucchini, chopped
- 1/2 cup artichoke hearts (I've also made a version with sun dried tomatoes that's delicious)
- 1 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
- 1 tsp fresh parsley to garnish
- olive oil (and/ or a tbsp butter)
- salt & pepper to taste
- fresh parmesan (optional)


1. Set your oven to broil and bring a pot of water to boil while you wait
2. In a baking dish, toss the veggies (minus the artichoke hearts and herbs) in a little olive oil and salt and pepper; put under the broiler for approx 10 minutes, or until the veggies begin to char (also great to pop them in a foil pouch on the bbq)
3. Pop the pasta in the boiling water and while it cooks, heat up a tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Once the veggies have been broiled, toss them along with the artichoke hearts, herbs and a little more oil/ butter if desired. Reduce to low/ medium heat.
4. When pasta is cooked, drain and toss in with the veggies. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley (and parmesan if you love some cheese on your pasta!)
5. Serve & enjoy!

For more information about Catelli gluten free pasta and more recipe ideas, visit the Catelli website.

Friday, May 6, 2016

On Finding Balance (If It Exists)

Lately I've been reflecting a lot on my mix- the daily things that make up my life- and how I've been spending my time. I feel like it's a puzzle with the pieces always moving around, sometimes fitting together, but most of the time having to be shifted multiple times before something fits. And to be honest, it's exhausting. Life is dynamic and doesn't stand still, but I don't think it should feel the way it has been. Speaking to other women I know this isn't uncommon, but it leaves me more unsettled to think that this crazy mix is the norm. I just don't think it's healthy and there have been many days lately that I feel like I've put in a good day, but feel restless and tired after the kids go to bed rather than satisfied and fulfilled. Something just hasn't been right. The puzzle pieces were never fitting together.

And then a month ago, my Grandfather passed away, and it was a wake up call. Kind of like having a bucket of ice water dumped over my head. It shocked me and hurt me and left me looking very critically at how I've been spending my time. It reminded me that there is a cutoff, we don't have forever. And how I spend my moments really matters. I took a few days to look back on my time with him, to mourn him, and be very present with my emotions. There were so many tears, but it was cleansing and I knew I was saying goodbye in my own way. It left me reflecting on how I spend my time and this precious entity that is life. I'd been feeling good about some things, but not fulfilled. Was I choosing to spend my time in ways that really added value to my life and enrich it, or just make it look that way on the surface (I'm busy so I must be fulfilled)? 

Most of my work takes place on a screen: I write and freelance in marketing, I run this blog, and I manage all the tasks involved, including the social media and emails. And there's a satisfaction I get from a job well done, but a restlessness of spending many hours looking at what is essentially a very expensive combination of plastic and metal. It's left me (ironically) feeling disconnected and questioning if I've been focusing on the quantity of life (How much can I fit into one day?) rather the quality of life (Am I really enjoying the moment? Or am I getting hung up on the wrong things?). I really think we can have it all, just not all at the same time. 

I like being busy, I thrive on always having something on the go. But lately I've been stepping back and examining what it is I've been busy with. Rethinking if where and how I spend my time is enriching my life or sucking it dry. It's amazing the difference I feel when I force myself to stop and just be present in the moment, whatever it is. Even if it's something as simple as putting aside a few extra minutes to spend with the kids throughout the day instead of checking my phone or cleaning another mess. I've caught myself many times over the years, and especially in the time since my Pop's passing, telling myself 'You're missing out right now. Stop what you're doing and just be in the moment'. The chores, the messes, the to- do lists, the emails, will always be there, but life continues forward and these moments pass; either we soak them in and allow them to enrich our lives, or we let them pass by us, aware but not totally present. I want to spend my life living and being, doing what makes me and my family happy, not trying to add more because that's what I think I should do. If I'm at home, I want my focus to be my kids and husband, when I'm working I want that to be my focus. 

And that's where balance comes in. I'm really not sure it exists. At least not by accident, not naturally. We have to create it, it's about our choices and accepting that doing one thing will come at the expense of another, and weighing the options against each other. I've been trying to do this more lately and it's tough: in the past I've tried to do everything on my list and ended up frustrated, drained, and cranky. And then nobody's happy, nobody wins. So, even though I've lowered my standards since having kids (my house used to stay clean after I cleaned it), I'm lowering them again, but in a different way. Instead of trying to do 10 things at once (and probably burning myself out trying), I'm trying to only tackle 1 or 2 things at time. No matter what, multitasking is a part of life, but if I don't spread myself so thin, I really feel like I will find what I am doing more fulfilling.

As a way of slowing down, I'm also trying to seek out the simple things that make me happy- being out in nature, digging in the dirt with Ari, reading, cooking- and choosing to make time for them, to enjoy them more, rather than just have them be lost in the mix of a too- busy day. The laundry can wait. I'm not going to sit here and preach that I have it all figured out- I don't- but accepting that balance exists in it's own way through my choices- how I choose to spend my time and prioritize things- is what it comes down to. Accepting that there really is no 'perfect', just what works for me. And that may not be the same as what works for others, but that's ok, we're each on our own journey. 

As adults, we have responsibilities that require us to give up a certain amount of our time to earn an income and provide for our families, but how we spend our free time seems to be getting chiseled away and eroded, taken up by things that can become toxic and really not adding to the quality of our lives. We can get caught up in things that may seem important, but are really just eating away at our time and energy, leaving us feeling hollow and out of balance. It's not always about being happier (I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to always be or seem happy), but about really being present in the moment, to reconnect with ourselves and those that matter in our lives. In the past few months, I've spoken to Will about a lot of things, this being a major topic; we've fought, disagreed, hurt each other's feelings, but we've come together to communicate and make time for each other. That's been one puzzle piece that's been put in place in my life and I'm so grateful for it. It's not always pretty and simple and neat, but it's been real and that's what I want from life. It can hurt but it can be so many other things, and I know that nothing that's ever really mattered in my life has come easy. 

Balance isn't about making life look easy, it's about deciding what's important to us and making the time. Making the puzzle pieces fit together. When things change, we re- evaluate, as I'm doing now. I'm not going to be an A+ Mom/ wife/ worker all at once, but if I strip away some of the clutter, I think I'll thrive in a way I haven't been. I know I'll have to make some tough choices, but if I can look back and know that I made my choice with the best intentions, I won't mind the sacrifices so much. Somedays it might be tough to put something aside that I want to get done, but I'll be able to look back and know I was there for the moments I'll never get back, the opportunities that come once in a lifetime. I won't remember the things I was trying to do that fell down the list, but I know I'll remember what I chose to do instead. The pieces will fit together and things will work out the way they're meant to. So to everyone reading this who's struggling with finding balance, I hope you find it, in whatever form it may take.

Monday, May 2, 2016

TPB Fitness Series: 4 Steps to Help a New Mom Start a Fitness Training Program

Exercise is one of those things that is so important for our health but often gets pushed off to the side. Having kids isn't the excuse or reason for this, but it definitely makes our daily mix more dynamic. When your day revolves around others it's easy to see why many women find it hard to make time for themselves. And I'm one of them. I am totally guilty of talking the talk- vouching for how we need to take care of ourselves and make time to do so- but then neglecting to follow through. This isn't anyone's fault but my own, and I have to be accountable for that. And I know I'm not alone. How many women like the idea of running a marathon, hiking the Grouse Grind, or even just conquering a few kms in the pool but just don't feel like they have the time to fit in exercise to achieve these goals? If you love the idea of making fitness a part of your routine, this series will be perfect for you. I've teamed up with Irina, personal trainer and founder of Tone Every Zone, a mobile personal training service, to show you how making time for exercise isn't as time consuming/ annoying/ frustrating, etc as you might think. I'm excited for this 6- part series that we'll be bringing to the blog every month, and hope you'll pick up some tips to help you with your fitness goals (if you need some workout wear to get started, make sure to check out Underables & Leave Nothing But Footprints, who provided our workout wear for this series). And now, I'll hand it off to Irina for our first post in the series so you can get to know here a little better...

4 Steps to Help a New Mom Start a Fitness Training Program
Guest blog post by Irina Almasan

First, some introductions are in order! My name is Irina and first and foremost, I am mom to an adorable but very feisty 3yr old girl. Secondly, I am a lover of all things fitness - but you should know that this wasn’t always the case! I didn’t discover my passion for fitness until I had my daughter, and brought fitness into my life at a time that was incredibly hectic and busy (just like surely all of your schedules are as well)! Soon after doing so, people started to ask me questions about how I was able to squeeze it all in my day and how I was able to look so good after having a baby. I genuinely wanted to help other busy moms get active - but doing so required some special training. So I decided to become a personal trainer. I also realized that busy people don’t often have time to go to the gym, and that it’s hard for them to stick to a particular schedule. And so I thought I would turn the whole concept upside down, and bring fitness to the people instead! This is how Tone Every Zone was born, a mobile personal training service.

Part of my mission with Tone Every Zone is to teach people how to exercise safely and at the right intensity, and this is where I feel the value of hiring a personal trainer truly lies. So for the next 6 months, I will be bringing fitness related blog posts to The Pampered Baby - but I want to make it interactive - so I'm looking for your questions/comments and any topics you want to learn more about.

Now, with intros out of the way, let’s start learning about fitness! In this first post, you will learn a few easy ways you can start moving and grooving towards lifelong fitness.

So you want to start getting into shape…

Getting into shape is often the #1 thing a mom wants to achieve after having her baby. And it makes sense because we so desperately want our bodies back. The first thing you should know is that it is never too late to start! There is no rule that says you need to start exercising right after you've had your baby. And there’s no rule that says that if you haven’t done anything for a year then don’t bother trying. In fact, after having my daughter, I did nothing for the first 11 months and I was still able to get some awesome results!

So don’t beat yourself down, be kind to yourself and allow your body and your mind to recover. More importantly, remember to speak to your doctor before you become more active just to make sure you're all good to go and there are no underlying issues.

Step 1: Start small and work your way up

The single biggest mistake I see people do when they think about getting into shape is that they attempt to do too many things at once. They become super excited and eager to get going but they start doing workouts that are too intense for their fitness level, get on a diet that deprives them of too many things and it all lasts about one week before they revert back to their old habits. They feel miserable because they failed and feel like it's no use to even try.

Sometimes, as a personal trainer, I find that my role is to help someone pace themselves and remind them that our goal is lifelong fitness. You cannot look for a 30 day fix and expect it to last longer than that. You also need to learn how to exercise properly. So often times people's expectations need to be toned down a bit - but this is such an important aspect because the reality is fitness transformations take time. And if you want to be active long term you need to learn how to make fitness as habitual as brushing your teeth.

I started my fitness journey by taking my daughter on longer and longer walks each time. I then started going grocery shopping and pushing back a stroller full of groceries. Eventually I started adding on yoga classes and home based workouts to build strength.

I also didn't bother with nutrition right away. I focused on getting my workouts in. I felt like the fact that I was now working out 45-1hr every day was enough of a start and enough of a caloric expenditure that I needed to focus on that. Once I started seeing results and felt like the workout part was pretty habitual, that's when I started thinking about what I put on my plate.

Step 2: Set realistic goals

Here's the deal. You're a real person. You don't have a chef cooking for you or a nutritionist building your perfectly balanced meal plan. And on top of that you're a mom, which means there's always at least one mini version of yourself tugging at your pants. You probably don't have any time to yourself until late at night, and when you do it's a constant battle between doing something for yourself or working away at the endless list of things that make a household liveable. Am I right?

Yup. I feel you.

When I hear phrases like “A 1hr workout is 1/24th out of your day” I always cringe because very few moms have 1 free hour every day. I know I often don't. So when you set a goal, make sure it's realistic and that you are setting yourself up for success, not failure. Here's an example of a goal one of my clients came up with:

This month I want to be active at least 30min every other day. I will achieve this through a combination of going for a walk with my kids, doing a short home based workout off the internet and a session with my personal trainer. Time permitting, I will go for a yoga class during the weekend while my husband babysits the kids.

Notice that the goal is not “I want to be more active this month”. That's super vague.
What's awesome about the goal this lady came up with is that it is:
Specific: 30min every other day and she even lists the options for exercise.
Measurable: She knows when she has achieved it.
Attainable: 30min every other day is a big change for this person but she's confident she can do it.
Realistic: She's setting herself up for success by committing to doing something every other day instead of every day because she knows she doesn't have the time every single day.
Time-based: She is committing to doing this pattern this month. At the end of the month, we evaluate.

SMART goals such as the one above set you up for success because they very clearly outline your path to getting there. So try it. What's your SMART goal for this month, using the framework above?

Step 3: Get help

One thing that I’ve found to hold true about people who are continue to stay active is that they are surrounded by individuals who are also either very active, or support them in their quest. When I started working out, my husband and I worked out together, helping each other along the way and sharing in the whole journey. Partner training, if your schedules allow it, is awesome. If not, even the support of a friend who is already active can work wonders.

As a personal trainer, I love to provide this kind of support because I think it’s so important, especially when things get tough. I love to hear how my clients are doing and I encourage them to reach out to me between sessions to share their success, but also their struggles with me. I am always there for them.

Step 4: Be patient. Things take time.

I want to leave you with some food for thought. Just as every single body and every single person in this world is different, everyone's fitness transformation will be different too. Genetics, metabolism, past diets and your time commitment all play a part. Some get in shape faster and some slower. Some see visible results right away. For others the results are not that obvious. But there is one thing you can be sure of: your body is absolutely changing when you become more active. Here are some of the things that happen when you become more active:

  • Your heart becomes more efficient and your resting heart rate goes down
  • Your lung capacity increases
  • You have more energy and feel more positive
  • You increase your strength and stamina
  • You learn wonderful things about how your body reacts to exercise
  • You find weak spots - things you can work on and improve

For all of the reasons above, becoming more active is an awesome thing to strive for! And it’s never too late to start!

For more great fitness tips, see the other posts in this series:
4 Simple Ways to Make Cardio Your Friend
Not Just For Guys- Why Women Need Strength Training
Be More Flexible- The 6 Secrets of Proper Stretching
The 5 Habits of Healthy Eaters

About Irina
Irina has a background in Science and Marketing, but above all, she is a MOM! She discovered her 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 on top of their fitness. Irina’s goal is to get her clients closer to THEIR goals! She 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, send her an email at irina@toneeveryzone.ca, or get in touch through her website. She would love to hear from you!
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 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)
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LNBF Shown in this post: Melissa Light Active Hoodie & Suri Leggings (worn by Katherine)
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