Favorites: Kitchen

Favorites: Kitchen

I don’t know about you but the kitchen is one of my favorite rooms in my house. Here are a few of my kitchen MUST HAVES. I use each one of these items just about everyday. Although some of them are a bit of an investment, they are worth every penny!

KitchenAid Artisan Mini Stand Mixer – 3.5 Quart

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This is the exact one we have (the color is Ice Blue). I love to use mine for baking cookies, breads and muffins. Did you know that KitchenAid sells a number of attachments. These attachments including: spiralizer, pasta roller, meat grinder and lots of other options.

You can find this KitchenAid Mixer at Costco, Target, Walmart or Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Ninja Mega Kitchen System

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We LOVE our Ninja. This product is a blender and a food processor, and comes with two personal size cups. Using this, I can make a protein shake in seconds 🙂

You can find the Ninja at Costco, Target, Walmart or Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Glass Nesting Bowl 10-Piece Set

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This glass bowl set is amazing. First of all, it’s 10 bowls in all different sizes that all fit together. I use this set to bake and store items in the refrigerator. You can also use this set as serving bowls. Does it get much better than this? These bowl are from Crate & Barrel. I am sure that other companies have similar products.

Calphalon Contemporary, Non-Stick 2-Piece Fry Pan Set with Lids

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I love this set. It is a bit of an investment but worth it. These pans are super durable and come with lids. Ah! Let me tell you how using the lids eliminates clean-up time 🙂

These can be found at Crate & Barrel, Amazon or Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Cutco Homemaker + 8 Set with Block w/ Petite Chef

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I will start by saying these knives are AMAZING. Then I will tell you they are expensive, BUT, you will never need to buy knives again. Cutco will sharpen your knives so they stay good as new!

These can be found at Cutco.com or sold by individual sales reps! Also, Jeremie and I saw them on sale at Costco once – so be on the lookout 🙂

Favorites: Podcasts

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My husband, Jeremie, has been listening to Podcasts for a few years now. In the last year I’ve come across a number of Podcasts that I really enjoy. Here are a few of my favorites:

1. Girls Night with Stephanie May Wilson

Each week, Stephanie has a girlfriend over, and they talk through the biggest questions we have about our lives as women. They talk about friendships, and faith, and relationships, and self-confidence, about our calling in life and how to live every bit of our lives to the absolute full. Stephanie says “I am convinced that life is better, and easier, and absolutely more fun when we navigate it together as girlfriends, and that’s exactly what we’ll be doing each week in the podcast.”

2. The Model Health Show with Shawn Stevenson

Shawn has the number one podcast in health and fitness. I’ve really enjoyed listening to his interviews with fellow entrepreneurs. Shawn’s mission is to help you become the strongest, healthiest, happiest version of yourself. Shawn says “I believe that we all are AMAZING people being exactly the way we are right now. But I also believe that there is a “greater” version of us that can be accessed through the right nutrition, exercise, and transformational mindset.”

3. The Ed Mylett Show

Ed Mylett is an American entrepreneur and peak performance expert. Ed is the Agency Chairman at World Financial Group. He is also the Founder of ED MYLETT SHOW, a management consulting firm based Laguna Beach, California. Ed is the fastest-growing business personality in the history of social media. If you are looking to expand your vision and push yourself to reach greatness you will really enjoy Ed’s show!

4. School of Greatness Podcast with Lewis Howes

“Since its launch in January 2013, the School of Greatness podcast has grown rapidly to be one of the top-ranked Business and Self-Development podcasts on iTunes. Episodes range from interviews with incredible world-class game changers in entrepreneurship, health, athletics, mindset, and relationships, to solo rounds with the host, Lewis Howes, and the once a week listener-favorite, the 5 Minute Friday format.

Past guests on the show have included powerhouses like Tony Robbins, Alanis Morissette, Scooter Braun, Julianne Hough, Jack Canfield, Arianna Huffington, and so many more.”

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What is your favorite Podcast? Comment Below 🙂

How to find and make new friends

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I am in a very new season of life. I am newly married (YAY!) and living in a new city in a new country (where my husband grew up). There are days when I really miss my girlfriends who are all over the U.S. and my sister who currently lives in Spain. There are days when I want to just text one of them to see if they want to come over, but I can’t do that. So, I’ve been getting out of my comfort zone and being very intentional about making new friends. I wanted to share a little encouragement and tips that might help you too!

  1. Say YES. If someone asks you to get together for coffee or lunch, say YES. You might find that she isn’t “your person” and hey, that is totally ok, but you might have a lot in common and really enjoy your time together. You never know until you try.
  2. Join a group or club! I came across a group on Instagram of women who get together every few months and work out. I love to work out so I figured that I should go and connect with other women who enjoy the same things. I also sent a message to the girl who was running the group. As it turns out, she is a fellow American living in Calgary! What are the odds? We met for coffee a few weeks ago and had so much to talk about (such as living in a new country with no Trader Joe’s or Target)!!
  3. If you’re married, ask your husband to connect you with women he knows. My husband, Jeremie, connected me with a woman he knew in Middle School. I LOVE HER. She is so fun to hang out with. We laugh and laugh about all sorts of things. You never know who your husband or boyfriend might know that you would really click with!
  4. Ask other women to grab coffee. I have done this a few times recently. I met the sweetest woman who works at Nordstrom (who was helping me to buy my now favorite booties). Our conversation flowed, she seemed to be around the same age, and she was really friendly. So I just said, “would you want to get together sometime?” And do you know what? She said YES! It’s that easy. Here’s another example. I went to Home Sense one afternoon to look for a few items for our new place. As I was checking out, I starting talking to the girl who was helping me. She was really friendly and our conversation flowed so I asked, “Would you want to get together sometime?” Again, a YES! I called Jeremie right away to tell him I meet another possible friend. I’ve gotten together with both of them and had a great time! Just to be clear, I don’t invite everyone who helps me at a store to get together.  But if you feel an easy connection with someone and you feel like you’d like to explore whether it could turn into a friendship, be brave and take the first step.
  5. Attend local events. The young adults group at the church we started to attend was having a game night. Jeremie wasn’t able to come with me so I decided that I would just go alone. On the way over, I was a little nervous about being by myself. Who was I going to talk to? Thankfully, there was a greeter at the door. I walked in and said “Hi, I am new and don’t know anyone. Who should I talk with?” The man immediately went over to a woman who I then chatted with for a little bit. At the end that conversation, I grabbed a tea from the coffee bar, saw two girls that looked like they would be nice, took a breath, and went over and introduced myself. Well, we totally hit it off. We talked for close to two hours and the time just flew by. At the end of the night, we exchanged numbers and planned a brunch for that weekend.

I know it can be hard to approach people that you don’t know. I always feel really awkward and slightly uncomfortable at first. But every single time I’ve asked someone to get together, she’s said YES! And in the course of living in Calgary for two months, I’ve made close to 10 new friends. If I can do it, you can do it 🙂

How to Shop at Costco for 2

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I love Costco. You may think that Costco is only for large families, people with extra pantry space, or for when you are having lots of people over. I’m here to dispel that myth! Even when I was single, I would often stop by my local Costco once a week. Who doesn’t love the fantastic prices, the quality of the products and the friendly people? My parents love Costco too. We often joke that it is impossible to leave without spending at least $100, even if you thought you were only running in to buy a rotisserie chicken for dinner (“Well, we are running low on chocolate chips. We may not need 4-½ pounds of chocolate chips right now, but, hey, for that price you would only get a small bag at the grocery store! Toss that into the cart too. How are we on paper towels?”).

I love the satisfaction of using our food budget wisely. Costco makes that even easier. Here’s my strategy for making Costco work for a family of two:

What I buy weekly (or every other week):

(Please note: the prices below are in Canadian Dollar; prices at Costco in the U.S. will be less. Lucky Ducks!)

Meat: I typically buy two types of meat. I always buy a package of chicken breasts (they come with 7 breasts). Then I will choose between lean ground beef (I divide this up into 6 sections; I will use 2 sections within a day and the other 4 go into a baggie and I freeze them for later in the week) and ground turkey (4 packages of ground turkey for $20). I typically spend about $40 on meat each week. Sometimes it carries over into the next week.

Bananas:  A package of bananas only costs $1.99 and typically contains around 8 bananas. We use bananas in our protein shakes so I typically leave a few on the counter for the week, and peel and freeze the rest.

Apples: Costco carries at least 6 different types of apples. I almost always buy Gala apples for us. This bag is around $6 and contains close to 15 apples. We each eat about an apple a day.

Sweet Potatoes;  I love sweet potatoes. These come in a package of 4 or 5, depending on the size, and costs  less than $5. Sometimes these carry into another week.

Potatoes:  I have been buying the mini potatoes. They are super easy to chop up and throw into the oven for lunch or dinner. This bag lasts me 2 weeks.

Asparagus: We eat a lot of asparagus! I’ve found that the asparagus prices change. The cheapest I’ve seen was $4.99 (AMAZING; I bought two  packages that week) and the highest I’ve seen is $7. This is a very large package of asparagus and I will freeze what we haven’t used toward the end of the week.

Spinach: We use spinach in our morning protein shakes. This bag only costs $3.25 and typically lasts me 2 weeks.

Avocado: I typically buy a bag of avocados each week. The bag contains 5 or 6 large avocados and is usually priced at $8.99 (but so worth it).

What I buy monthly:

Kodiak Cakes: I love Kodiak Cakes. It is a pancake/waffle mix with protein. Not only does it make a healthy breakfast choice, I typically use Kodiak Cakes when I bake cookies or banana bread in place of the flour. This item can go quickly in our house as I tend to bake a lot! The box contains 3 packages of mix for $14.

Chocolate Chips: I use chocolate chips daily 🙂 I’ll add it in trail mix, cookies and banana bread or use it to create other desserts. Depending on which brand you buy, the bag can range from $12-$14.

Avocado Oil: I’ve recently swapped avocado oil for extra virgin olive oil when I cook. One liter of avocado oil is priced at $12.99. This bottle will last me over a month.

Coconut Oil: I use coconut oil in everything — baking and cooking. I can go through this way too quickly. Thankfully, this container is HUGE and only $20. Amazing!!

Protein Powder:  I’ve recently been buying LeanFit: Complete Green Protein. This is a plant-based protein and is priced at $30. This will last me about a month and a half.

Nuts: We have been buying mixed nut from Costco. The container is priced at $20 and typically lasts us a month. Sometimes I’ll add chocolate chips in with the mixed nuts.

Peanut Butter: I like to buy the Kirkland brand natural peanut butter. It comes with two containers for $9.99. Depending on how much I’m baking, this can last me 2 weeks or close to a month.

A “go to” item for my parents is the Kirkland brand Organic Tortilla Chips.

Costco is more than just a smart place to pick up groceries. We’ve found great deals on sets of luggage, books, socks, printer ink, tires, laundry detergent, toiletries, flowers — all sorts of things. For us, the yearly membership fee is well worth it.

What is the Fab 4 Lifestyle?

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I stumbled upon Kelly LeVeque on The Influencer Podcast. Host Julie Solomon interviewed Kelly about “Healthy Habits to a Well Being” (podcast 049). The topic sparked my interest and it was such an interesting interview that I downloaded Kelly’s book on Audible. I was so intrigued and curious to find out what Kelly’s “Fab  Four” meant. Well, I listened to the entire book in just a few days. I’d like to share with you what I learned from Kelly in her book, Body Love: Live in Balance, Weigh What You Want, and Free Yourself from Food Drama Forever.

Spoiler alert: The Fab Four stands for protein, fat, fiber and greens. Here’s how Kelly explains the “why” behind that combination and the benefits:

WHY THE FAB FOUR? Fab Four meals turn off hunger hormones, squelch inflammation, and provide the body with the perfect complete meal of essential nutrients. The Fab Four is the light structure for eating healthy without “eat” and “do not eat” lists. Simply look at your plate and ask yourself do I have all four components? Protein ups collagen, muscle tone, and metabolism; fat benefits hormones, skin, and cellular health, fiber promotes gut microbiome proliferation and detoxification; and greens (or veggies deep in color) provide cancer and inflammation fighting phytonutrients. This combination is a fail-safe to turn off over 8 hunger hormones in the body so you stop fighting not to eat and instead easily go 4-6 hours without thinking of food or snacking on processed foods.

I’ve been testing out the Fab Four at breakfast for the last week and I can tell you from personal experience that the Fab Four works. Having a Fab Four smoothie is a great way to start your day. It sets you up for success in eating. When you eat a complete meal that includes protein, fat, fiber and greens, you will be less likely to reach for a snack during the day. I typically snack in the afternoon and evening. Do I still occasionally have a snack, yes, but I snack way less than I did before. I was already making a morning smoothie that had protein, fat and greens so the only difference was adding fiber. I was surprised that adding chia seeds to my smoothie has made a big impact in my eating.

In her book, Kelly shares client testimonials. One client switched to a Fab Four smoothie for breakfast and she lost 12 pounds over the course of two weeks. You never know what could change for you! Test it out, for a minimum of one week, and let me know what difference you see.

If you’re building your own Fab Four breakfast smoothie, here are options for each category:
Protein: organic pea protein or collagen protein
Fat: avocado, almond butter (or other nut butter)  medium-chain triglycerides (MCT oil) or coconut oil
Fiber: chia, flax, fiber powders or acacia
Greens: spinach, kale, Romaine lettuce, super greens, baby green blends, powdered greens
Liquid: water, unsweetened coconut milk, unsweetened almond milk, fruit-free green juice or coconut water (go fruit-free with coconut water)

Here is a Fab Four Smoothie recipe from Kelly’s website:
Peanut Butter Shake
1 serving vanilla protein powder
2 Tbsp peanut butter (or almond butter)
1-2 Tbsp chia
2 cups unsweetened nut milk
1 tsp cacao nibs

For more information on the Fab Four, check out http://bewellbykelly.com/ or pick up a copy of Body Love at your local bookstore!

 

Setting yourself up for Success

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I love tips and tricks. I love “easy 1, 2, 3 ways to do x, y, z.” My husband, Jeremie, is all about personal development. He is always working to be his best self. We put together our top five things to set yourself up for success!

    1. Read. There is so much value in reading books. Schedule time each day to read a few pages of a good book. A few of my favorites include The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst, The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale, The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson, Traveling Light by Max Lucado and The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.
    2. Get enough sleep. Studies show that getting between 7-8 hours of sleep each night is optimal for your body. Try this an hour before you go to bed: slow down, put your phone away, turn off the TV and relax.
    3. Drink water. It is so important to drink water throughout the day. Your body runs better when you’re hydrated and you’ll have a lot more energy. I always carry a water bottle with me as reminder to keep drinking water throughout the day. After awhile, it will start to become a habit and you won’t have to think about it anymore. I strive to drink 8 bottles a day (for a total of about 4 litres).
    4. Exercise. When we exercise, our bodies release endorphins and it gives us the energy we need to have a productive day. Even though I usually go to the gym in the afternoon, I still make it a habit to start my day with moving my body. Even if it’s only for 20 minutes, I find that doing something active early in the morning gives me the spark I need.
    5. Consider your associations. We are the average of the 5 people that we purposely spend the most time with. Are these people improving your life or harming it? Do you share the same goals and values? At the end of the day, we are either growing or dying. Your associations will ultimately have the most influence on your life so choose wisely!

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to find community in a new city

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My husband, Jeremie, and I got married just a few months ago (December 2017). We met during college. When he graduated, he headed back home to Calgary, Alberta, Canada and we did a few years of long distance dating. Let me just say that before dating Jeremie I had never been to Calgary, let alone Canada. Now it’s not just his home, but our home.

Of course, I knew all of his sweet family and a few of his friends before I made the move up north to join Jeremie. In the last few months I have been very intentional about trying to get connected in Calgary and meeting new people. Here are a few ways I have come to find community in a new city!

  1. Find a church. Churches are great ways to find community. With services on Sunday, small groups during the week, events around town, volunteer opportunities, and maybe even a young adult night, there should be different ways you can get to know other people of all different ages.
  2. Join a gym. If you like to exercise, you will find like-minded people around you. Say hi to someone who looks to be your age or try a class at your gym.
  3. Take a local workout class. Spin, yoga, pilates, kickboxing,  barre — there are so many different studios to choose from. Introduce yourself to the instructor and say hi to the person who’s working out next to you.
  4. Join your sorority’s alumni chapter. Most sororities have alumni chapters in major cities. I’m a Pi Phi so I went on our website and searched for alumni chapters in Canada. I’ve now connected with the local president and plan to attend their next event.
  5. Check out a local event or festival. Walk around, talk to the different vendors, and casually chat with other shoppers.
  6. Volunteer. Giving back in the community is another great way to get plugged in. Reach out to a soup kitchen or local Boy & Girls Club to see what the volunteer needs are, or join Big Brother/Big Sister and become a mentor.