A little perspective

team in training TRILast night after swim practice our Banff Suburu Triathlon group met to put together a plan for  race weekend, when our Team in Training coach casually says there are only 7 weeks until race day.  Panic sunk in and I silently screamed, what the heck, 7 weeks!

After nearly 2 weeks off, I am behind in my fundraising and swimming. The swim hiatus was evident last night. I was disappointed that the progress I seen prior to vacation had dissipated. Our coach however, is so positive, and ensured I’d be where I needed to be in time for the race. The optimism in me wants to believe this, but the realist in me tells me it won’t come easy.

After practice the other girls were talking about a fellow Team in Training athlete, who joined Team in Training after losing her father to cancer.  She herself has just recently been diagnosed with lymphoma and has just completed her first round of chemo. Despite all of this this, the women is determined to complete the Nike San Francisco Half in October. Wow. Talk about perspective. It dawned on me later last night that as competitive as I am, this race is more than a personal accomplishment or a check off my bucket list; it’s supporting those diagnosed with leukemia and lymphoma, it’s raising money to hopefully one day find a cure.

Armed with a healthy dose of reality, and a robust training/fundraising plan it’s full steam ahead for the next 7 weeks.

XoXo

AmysSignature

Want to donate to my Team in Training fundraising effort and support The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada visit my page:

https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/FundraisingPage.aspx?registrationID=2282711&langPref=en-CA

 

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For the love of: Podcasts

I rack up about 2500km’s a month driving, which is a lot of time spent in my ‘mango tango’ vehicle.  I know most of you don’t have the same type of mileage, but summer usually brings a few roadtrips.  Whether you are with friends or had to do the drive alone, a podcast is an amazing way to pass the time.  I will admit it isn’t for everyone. However, I thought I’d share my top podcasts I listen to every week and you can give them a try the next time you want to kill some time!

1) This American Life – 60 mins

TAL This is one of the most popular podcasts on iTunes and for good reason. Every week the host Ira Glass presents a different theme of the week and brings stories on that theme (quoting from his tagline). That’s why I love it! I have been brought to tears, laughed, and said “this is a dumb episode”, but it’s always a podcast I like sharing with friends on long trips!

2) Freakonomics Radio – 30-45 mins

freakonomics If you have heard of Freakonomics the book or read any in their series, you know you will love this!  I find it so fascinating to learn about the “hidden side of everything” and have my perspective on things challenged. This is the type of podcast I can listen to over and over again and get something new out of every time.

3) Planet Money – 15-20 mins

 Want to feel smart? Want to pretend you have an opinion on random world issues? This one’s for you! I hesitated to post this one because I feel like I’m letting people in on my secret. For example, when the euro was tanking and causing huge issues in Europe, I became obsessed with episodes talking about countries like Greece and how crazy things were getting. I swear they present these issues in a very interesting and humorous way. Just check it out, like the episode titled “Why LeBron James is Underpaid”.

Enjoy!

xo

 

Green Goddess Dressing

Ahhh…Summer is upon us and life is filled with BBQs and sangria nights. For me, there is nothing better than a fresh summer salad on a hot summer day. I am a huge fan of creamy (ish) dressings, but without all of the calories. I wanted to share with you one of my favourite light, healthy and DELICIOUS salad dressings (taken from the amazing Gwyneth Paltrow). Hope you enjoy!

Green Goddess Dressing
Makes 1 1/2 cups

2/3 cup sheep’s milk yogurt
¼ cup cilantro
2 scallions, roughly chopped
¼ cup lime juice (2-3 limes)
½ jalapeno, roughly chopped, or a drizzle of hot sauce
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar

Combine all the ingredients in a blender. Blend until completely smooth. The dressing can be kept in a jar in the fridge for up to a week.

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Pair your salad with a delicious white wine and enjoy with some friends! Cheers 🙂

xo Erin

 

Vacation in PEI

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Confederation Bridge

I came home last Wednesday for one of my best friends wedding and to visit family. I love coming home for a visit… especially in the summer. PEI is a must see this time of year. My summer growing up was filled with trips to the beach, playing soccer, lots of biking and meeting my friends at the local bridge for some good ol’ bridge jumping. I thought I’d put together a list of must do’s if you ever head this way for vacation.

1. Eat to your hearts delight
Let’s be real, being an Island we have amazing seafood! And I take full advantage of it when I am home. Lobster, oysters, and mussels are my favourite, and believe nothing tastes better than fresh from the water.

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West Point Beach

2. Get your beach on
The beaches here are lined with red sand that seem to go on for miles. Build a sand castle, look for sea glass, jump into the ocean and cool down in the salt water. To me there isn’t much better than relaxing on the beach.

3. Tee time
It’s no secret that.. PEI has amazing golf courses. It’s home to over 25 golf courses all located within 45 min of each other. “ScoreGolf Magazine rated Prince Edward Island as Canada’s top golf destination for the second straight year, but Travel+Leisure magazine rated PEI the top island destination in North America, and one of the Top 10 in the world.” Pretty cool for a little island nestled on the East Coast.
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4. Anne of Green Gables
We’ve all read the books, you can visit Cavendish and see where L.M Montgomery got her inspiration. While you’re in the Cavendish area there is plenty to take in so be prepared to spend the day in the area.

5. Bike the Confed
Did you know, the Confederation Trail where there were once train tracks is now almost 300 kilometres of groomed trails, perfect for biking. Many cyclists consider PEI an untapped treasure. The trail takes you through many of the towns and villages, a perfect way to take in the island. Personally, this is on my bucket list and I’m very much looking forward to scratching it off.

That’s just a snap shot of some of the many things to do while visiting, check out Tourism PEI  or PEI 150 and other sites for some more ideas.

XoXo

Amy

Day At The Races

This Canada Day the Betties decided to try something a little different….steering away from the typical red & white outdoor festivities and fireworks, we attended an exclusive horse racing event at the Millarville Racetrack, and let me tell you – it was quite the scene.

Quoted as “the most sophisticated and playful event of the summer”, Packwood Grand is an event for Calgary’s socialite society to get dressed up the old fashioned way and take in some exciting thoroughbred horse racing. Think Kentucky Derby style, complete with big hats, mint julips and a cigar bar.

Although we did miss most of the actual horse racing, we did win a collective $2 on our bets and did some serious mix & mingling with some extremely well-dressed individuals.

The event had a hugeeee emphasis on fashion, partnering with Holt Renfrew and some of Calgary’s top fashion stylists, they took the term ‘fancy’ to a whole other level. And although I think I hit the mark with my red lipstick and pleated dress, I felt out of place without a gigantic hat or fascinator on my head… unlike my fellow betties, I definitely missed that memo!

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Packwood Grand was most definitely a distinct social experience, and although there were a few hiccups as there usually are with debut events, overall it did not disappoint. And next year I will NOT be forgetting a hat or fascinator… I might event make my own….

donuts

Too much?

Xox
Brenna

Ohhhh Canada!

As a proud Canadian, our nation’s birthday is one of my absolute favourite holidays! It is a time to kick summer off with family & friends, enjoy BBQs and cottage nights, and celebrate the true North strong and free! To top it off, red and white is an UNREAL colour combo…am I right?

However you will be spending this Canada Day, here are some of my fav red and white combos for any occasion:

Fancy Dress-Up:
Channel your inner Kate Middleton and wear a fancy white dress with red accessories!

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Cottage Chic:
Haven’t you heard that overalls are all the rage? Chill out on the lake in the cute outfit from Top Shop!

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Urban Patio Hopping:
Staying in the city? Patio hop wearing this super amazing dress from Club Monaco. Psssss…..it’s on sale!

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Happy Canada Day, my loves! Hope you celebrate in style!
Xo Erin

Oh what a morning… K-100 race recap

K-100This past Saturday I raced K-100, which has to be one of my favorite races. It is a 100-mile relay consisting of 10 legs between Longview and Kananaskis. I think one of the reasons I have so much fun is because the race allows support vehicles for many of legs and the energy they provide is infectious.

This year my leg got off to a rocky start to say the least, this was my second time racing Leg-1 so you think I would have a few things down for my 6 a.m. start (yes, you read correctly 6 a.m. start) but you’d be incorrect. I thought I was a rock star the night before, set not one but two alarms; went to bed early, and had my stuff relatively organized for the morning. What I failed to do however was ensure those two alarms were set for the correct time. The alarm went off at 4:45 a.m., and I was pumped and couldn’t wait to hit the road. I checked my phone, returned a couple text messages and then it hit me… Shit, it’s 4:45 a.m. NOT 3:45 a.m. and I needed to haul ass in order to make Longview in time for the start. I brushed my teeth, grabbed my pile of race gear and hit the road.

Realizing I didn’t eat breakfast but conscious of the time, I made a decision to stop at McDonald’s for an Egg McMuffin and a coffee, not the best race fuel but better than nothing right?

Finally we make Longview, 10 minutes after the race started, I literally hop out of the car run to the check-in point grab my bib and book it to try and catch the pack. About 1-2km’s in I catch the first person, and am relieved to see the line of support vehicles ahead. One car in particular was dressed up and had the music pumping. Every time we’d pass one another I couldn’t help but smile.

By the 11th km the McMuffin was not agreeing with me in the least. I had two options, take my chances in the woods and risk a run in with a bear or do my business in my Lulu’s… I decided not to risk my Lulu’s and headed to the woods. Not wanting to lose any more time I pick up the pace to finish strong. Just before the 14km hill one of the other teams support vehicle that had been leapfrogging me for the majority of race offered me some water and a hi-five, talk about sportsmanship! I happily took the water and kept on trucking.

Overall despite my sloppy start and self-imposed obstacles I am pleased with how I finished my leg. Our team ironically named “we’ve got the runs” finished 57/180.

Here are some basic race tips so you don’t find yourself in a similar situation:
• Double and triple check your alarm
• Eat a nutrition breakfast
• Print directions and ensure you arrive with plenty of time before the race
• Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

AmysSignature

The Red Lip

The red lip is perfect any time of the year. In summer, bold lips are the easiest way to take your daytime look into night. The problem is that they can be messy!! You don’t want to be checking your lipstick every five minutes, which is why I normally stay far away from it when going on a date, or out for a work event. Usually at those types of events no one is going to tell you you have red teeth or that your red lips match your now red chin.  I’ve also found lipstick on the top of my forehead? Who knows..

I have tried many different techniques in order to avoid such scenarios best I can and thought I’d share what I’ve learned.

For these lips, I am really into a matte finish and love this red hue on my olive skin type, I’m using Kate Moss Rimmel Matte lipstick in ‘111’ and the waterproof Sephora retractable lip liner in ‘Red’.

Find it here: http://www.walmart.com/ip/Rimmel-Lasting-Finish-by-Kate-Matte-Collection-Lipstick-111/23848212 and http://www.sephora.com/retractable-waterproof-lip-liner-P257801?skuId=1324920

Step 1: Lipliner is insanely important for bold lips! This particular one is waterproof and prevents the bleeding of the colour outside of your lips. I don’t have an obvious cupids bow, so I always draw an “x” to help a girl out.
Step 2: Outline your entire lip with the liner. It may look a bit funny, but try little strokes so you don’t completely draw it everywhere. Another thing you can do is take your liner outside your lip line a little bit to create a poutier pout (technical term…).
Step 3: Important step! Fill in most of your lips with the lip liner since this is a great base for your lipstick. Then put on your first coat of lipstick.
**TRICK TIME: take a tissue and blot your lips now. This will increase the wear of your red lips a lot longer!!

Step 4: Add your top coat and voila!

The other red I love:
MAC ‘Red’ Satin Finish
http://www.maccosmetics.com/product/shaded/168/310/Products/Lips/Lipstick/Lipstick/index.tmpl

Hope you enjoyed and since I’m now a Sephora “VIB” member I may start posting more reviews on products or tips on what products are worth putting into your collection.
LOVE
xox

Strength Series: Upper Body Workout

Hey everyone!

So I’m a big fan of strength training. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely think cardio is important. But if you really want to tone up your body and see some results – you’re going to have to pick up those weights!

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I think a lot of women are a little nervous about weight training because they are scared to bulk up – but trust me that’s not that case! It actually increases your fat burning ability and allows you to burn way more calories throughout the day, even continuing into the day after your workout!

I’ve decided to start posting some simple strength exercises that you can pretty much do anywhere with a set of medium to heavy dumbbells. This post is all about the upper body – because who doesn’t want sexy toned arms for the summer!?

I start off every workout with a half hour of cardio – this can either be the treadmill, elliptical or stationary bike and I usually like to throw in 10 minutes of the stairmaster (because it’s magic!).

There are a total of six exercises broken up into supersets of two. Complete each superset of two before moving onto the next superset.

-Dumbbell Shoulder Press -3 sets of 20
-Bench Dips – 3 sets of 15

-Dumbbell Chestpress – 3 sets of 15
-Dumbbell Lateral Raise – 3 sets of 15

-Barbell Curls (Can use dumbbells is a barbell isn’t available) – 3 sets of 15
-Cable Pull Down (Try a Dumbbell KickBack if you don’t have access to a machine) – 3 sets of 15

Challenge yourself with the amount of weight you use. I would recommend nothing less than 8lbs for everything but the lateral raise. Those you may need to use a bit less.

If you’re unsure what some of the above exercises are, look them up on BodyBuilding.com. They seriously have instructional videos for every exercise you can think of!! They also have some amazing fitness advice on there so definitely check it out.

Don’t be afraid of lifting some weights ladies – it’s all about feeling strong and confident….And feeling that burnnnnn the next day 🙂
Happy Lifting!

Xox
Brenna

Wanderlust

Wanderlust: A strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world; to discover one’s very existence.

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Those that know me know travel is one of the most important things in my life. Whether it is a weekend getaway or a backpacking adventure half way around the world – I live to plan trips! Beyond visiting other places, one of my life long dreams is to live abroad. AND.NOW.IT.IS.HAPPENING.

Yes, it’s true! I have recently been offered a job in la belle Paris and I moving there in September. Of course, I am delighted to live in the land of croissants, berets and macaroons, but as I get closer to the departure date…certain realities are starting to set in.

Will I make friends? Is this a mistake? Do I even like French people? Is this the right decision for me and my fiancé? WHAT IF I GET FAT FROM EATING TOO MUCH CHEESE? Anxiety attacks are happening left, right and centre.

Everyone tells me this is normal. However, the optimist in me wants to soak up every little bit of this adventure. So while I go through this experience, I have made a few promises to myself:

Remember that intuition is key: All of the best decisions in my life have not necessarily been rational. Follow your gut and everything will fall into place. Trust the process.
Remain grateful: Every experience I have, good or bad, makes me a stronger person. Love and cherish your support system – always, always, always.
YOLO: Yes, I know this term is cheesy and overused but I think the message is great. You owe it to yourself to respond to any call that excites your spirit. You. Only. Live. Once.

And, to conclude, I will share some of the best advice I received from my fellow shebetties: If it is both terrifying and amazing, then you should definitely pursue it. Indeed.

I will keep you posted on this adventure of mine. Stay inspired, my friends!

xo Erin