Top 5 Reasons You Should Eat Like a Mediterranean

Since I am headed to the Mediterranean in 6 days, I figured this post would be appropriate. Even better, I actually took a course on the Mediterranean diet while in University…in Italy! I know, I live a hard life.

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What is the Mediterranean Diet?

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As you can see the Mediterranean diet emphasizes whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes & nuts. The main source of fat is olive oil. Fish is eaten weekly. Red meat and sweets are eaten in limited quantities.

The Mediterranean diet has been studied a lot due to the fact that those who eat it have lower incidence of heart disease. It also has some associations with lowered risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. But for me the reason I love the diet is its delicious!! Which leads me to….

My Top 5 Reasons For Eating The Mediterranean Diet:

1. Pizza

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If you ever get the chance to have pizza in Italy you will never see pizza the same way again. It’s nothing like what we serve here. The thin crust topped with fresh tomatoes and just a small amount of cheese all in a wood burning oven. It’s reason enough to buy a ticket to Italy! A huge part of the Mediterranean diet too is enjoyment of food. And believe me, I ENJOY this pizza!

2. Wine

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Of course many regions of the Mediterranean, especially Italy, are known for their wine making. Additionally, red wine is good for your heart too because of the anti-oxidants…in moderation of course.

3. Herbs & Spices

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In the Mediterranean diet very little salt is used. Instead an array of herbs and spices are used to give dishes flavour. My favourite is definitely basil, or garlic, or oregano. Okay, I love them all which is why I love the Mediterranean diet so much! Using herbs & spices in food rather than salt can help reduce blood pressure.

4. Fruit

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Of course in the Mediterranean the fruit is amazing because it is grown fresh there. But even here, choose fruit that is in season. With summer coming up the fruits in the grocery stores and farmers markets are getting better and better. Take advantage of this time of year and enjoy some fresh fruit as a dessert, snack or anytime!

5. Gelato

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Just like in every diet, the Mediterranean diet incorporates sweets in moderation. My favourite sweet treat from the Mediterranean is definitely gelato. I know I will probably be eating my fair share of gelato on my upcoming trip.

On a side note, while writing this post I spelled Mediterranean wrong almost every single time! Apparently I didn’t quite learn all there was to learn in my course. Better go back…

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This was directly outside the door of our classroom. Told you I live a hard life.

What’s your favourite part of the Mediterranean diet? Have you ever been to any part of the Mediterranean?

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Beauty Fails

Sometimes beauty isn’t pretty. Sometimes it’s just a big ol’ fail…

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How many times did you watch that gif? I watched that loop 10 times in a row and it’s funny every single time. I just love that the male model behind her doesn’t even flinch! I’m not sure if he’s a total a-hole for not helping her or a total pro that he could keep going without busting out laughing.

But what I really mean by beauty fails is when you spend money on a beauty product and it turns out to be terrible. It sucks but it’s bound to happen.

My Beauty Fails:

1. Loreal Voluminous Mascara – Waterproof

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I was SOOO disappointed by this one. I LOVE the Loreal Voluminous mascara. I have used it for years and think it’s the best drugstore mascara on the market. However, I often like to use waterproof mascara because it holds curl better in my stick straight lashes. Of course, I turned to the waterproof version of my favourite mascara. But it’s just bad, bad, bad. Not only does it not help with holding a curl at all, I would barely call it waterproof. If I’ve been at the gym with this stuff on my whole lid is covered in mascara that’s transferred and that’s even without being crazy sweaty. I also find it smudges during the day all underneath my eyes. No one wants to look like a racoon!

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2. MAC Coral Bliss Lipstick

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I just bought this lipstick in my most recent beauty haul. Now when I call this one a fail, I’ll say it’s a fail for ME. I bought this off the recommendation of a lot of beauty bloggers who love it. And I think a lot of people would love this lipstick. It’s a really pretty sheer coral colour. The reason it’s a fail for me is I didn’t get a good enough colour pay off. When I wear lipstick, I want to be able to see it. So I returned this lipstick for a much more vibrant coral shade, Vegas Volt.

3. Not Your Mother’s Kinky Moves Curl Defining Cream

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This cream is like a half-fail for me. I like the way the curl cream works. I have naturally wavy hair and this cream works well to give me some good definition without being frizzy. However, it’s awful after you shower. When I showered and then blow-dried my hair, my hair felt nasty like I forgot to rinse out my conditioner.

4. Bobbi Brown Brightening Lip Gloss

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This lip gloss is horrible. It is seriously the stickiest lip gloss ever. If a drugstore lipgloss that cost me $5 is sticky, I’m okay with that. But this lip gloss is $29 so stickiness is not okay! And there is nothing special about this lip gloss otherwise that would make it worth the stickiness. An utter fail by a company that usually has such great products.

5. Joico Sulfate Free Shampoo

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A little while ago I needed new shampoo. I decided to venture out and try this new sulfate free shampoo from Joico. I have no idea what sulfate does to your hair but I figured sulfate-free sounded like a good idea. It was not. After using this shampoo I dried my hair and it felt disgusting and it looked greasy. So greasy that I would have to put dry shampoo in and put it in a ponytail. Right after showering! Of course, I tried it a couple times to see if maybe it was something else but the same thing every single time. And when I went to my hairdresser, he found a bunch of build up on my hair. Of course I bought the huge mega size bottle when I got this shampoo, because it’s cheaper in bulk! Huge waste.

So there ya have it a few of my most recent beauty fails. The funny thing about beauty though is that it’s in the eye of the beholder. So while one product might be a total fail for me, it might be a holy grail product for you. We’re all different and have different needs so if I post something that you love, don’t worry, it just didn’t work out for me.

What are some beauty fails you have had recently? How many times did you watch that gif?

The Final Countdown

Good morning and happy Monday everyone. Hope you had a fabulous weekend.

For me, the weekend was pretty busy. Friday I spent a full day doing makeup for a photo shoot. It was a hectic day but a lot of fun. The great part is that the work is going to be published in a magazine! The bad news is that means I can’t share any pictures at all from that day. And the magazine doesn’t come out until December! It will be a long wait but at least it’s something to look forward to.

Saturday, Tom and I drove up to our hometown. I took off shopping with a friend while Tom spent some quality family time. Shopping was great. Most of the time I shop alone so it was fun to have a friend to shop with. The only unfortunate part is that we have very similar taste. Luckily we live in different cities so it won’t be too often that this happens.

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That night a group of us girls who all went to high school together got together for a little reunion. We recreated the delicious blueberry mojitos that I had last weekend at the duelling piano bar, but I drank considerably less of them this time. Hurray for moderation!

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However, there were still some shots involved. My friend made jello shots in lemon rinds. They were unreal!

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Sunday I spent the day with some of Tom’s family. We are missing our nephew’s birthday while we are away in Europe but luckily we got a chance to see him and give him his gift. Tom came up with an incredible gift idea. Since he loved Calvin & Hobbes cartoons when he was young he wanted to pass that along to his nephew. Then he got a graphic designer to create a picture in Calvin & Hobbes style of our nephew and his stuffed moose that he takes with him everywhere. It was such a joy to watch him open the gift and watch his eyes get wide with excitement.

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Now I’ve got a busy week ahead of me, it is exactly one week until we leave for Europe so it’s the final countdown.

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Any arrested development fans get my reference?

This week will be full of packing, last-minute preparations and recovering! I’m still sick and unfortunately now Tom is too. Hopefully by Monday we will both be healthy and ready to take on an adventure.

How was your weekend? Who do you think wore the outfit best – me or my friend?

FYI Friday – When Good Foods Go Bad

Trying to eat healthy is a tricky, tricky thing. And this isn’t helped by the fact that there are many imposters in the grocery stores parading as healthy food.

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Frozen Yogurt:

This seems like a great swap to make in your diet. You can satisfy your sweet tooth but with fewer calories and fat. While this can be true of some frozen yogurt, check ingredient lists and nutrition facts before you make the swap. Because there are some imposters among us.

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Ben & Jerry’s Greek Frozen Yogurt. Seems like a great idea until I looked at the ingredient list:

Skim Milk, Greek Yogurt (Cultured Skim Milk, Natural Flavor, Carrageenan), Liquid Sugar (Sugar, Water), Cream, Water, Corn Syrup Solids, Sugar, Blueberry Puree Concentrate, Soybean Oil, Corn Starch, Egg Yolks, Wheat Flour, Graham Flour, Nonfat Yogurt Powder (Cultured Nonfat Milk), Salt, Butteroil, Canola Oil, Locust Bean Gum, Vanilla Extract, Soy Lecithin, Honey, Molasses, Sodium Bicarbonate.
Notice that while it’s advertised as greek yogurt it still contains cream as the fourth ingredient (after sugar of course). It also contains soybean oil, butteroil and canola oil. That’s a whole lot of added fat for a product you think you are choosing as a lower fat alternative.
The nutrition facts on this one:
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Not exactly the healthy treat you were looking for. In fact, it’s only 70 calories less than Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. For 70 calories difference, I am definitely choosing the ice cream.

Low Calorie Snacks

Next one is a product I’ve been seeing a lot of commercials for lately. They claim you can satisfy your sweet craving for only 100 calories. Guilt free snack with these Special K pastry crisps.

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Again, while this may seem like a good idea to satisfy a craving I looked at the ingredient list and found this:

Ingredient List: Wheat flour, sugar, soybean, palm and palm kernel oil shortening, glycerin, maltodextrin, dextrose, cocoa, modified food starch (corn and tapioca), milk ingredients, natural flavour, salt, soy lecithin, colour, cellulose, cornstarch, baking powder, acetylated tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides, acacia gum, mono- and diglycerides, cocoa butter, calcium phosphate, bht.

First of all, how many ingredients do you recognize in that list? Generally, if you have no idea what it is you probably don’t want to put it in your body. Don’t you remember that old PSA – “Don’t you put it in your mouth”

Also note in that ingredient list is palm kernel oil shortening. When you see the word shortening in an ingredient list it means trans fats. Even though the label states 0g trans fats, labelling laws state you can label as zero if it contains 0.2g or less.

Overall, if you’re craving a sweet treat, you’d be much better off having a homemade cookie that you know the ingredients of.

Veggie Chips

When these chips came out, I thought to myself, that’s genius marketing. People see veggie chips and immediately think great they’re healthier. But wait a second, chips are made out of potatoes…which are vegetables. Therefore all chips are technically “veggie chips”. Did I just blow your mind? And in fact when I looked at the ingredient list the “veggies” are tomato paste & spinach powder.

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Now when taking a look at the nutrition facts, these chips are actually fewer calories than a regular bag of chips. But they are very comparable to a baked bag of chips. Therefore, bottom line, eat these chips as a treat if you like. But don’t consider them to be a healthy choice or a source of your daily vegetables.

I could probably go on and on, but I think you get the idea. Check out ingredient lists and nutrition facts before choosing products. I am not saying NEVER eat these products, all food fits, but you should know what you are eating and don’t be fooled by good marketing.

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What food imposters have you found? Have you ever been fooled by marketing?

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New Rules of Lifting for Women – Stage 4

I’m baaaccckkk! I still feel sick today but I think I’m on the mend. That means it’s time for another recap of my latest stage of the New Rules of Lifting for Women. If you have no idea what I’m talking about or missed my previous recaps check them out here:

Overview of the Program

Stage One Recap

Stage Two Recap

Stage Three Recap

Stage 4 took me FOREVER but it’s done! I started this stage at the end of February but at the beginning of March I went on vacation. Then when I got back I was focusing hard on the last of my half marathon training so I took about 2 weeks off the program. Since I took such a long hiatus I decided to start the stage all over again.

As I started reading about what exercises I had to do for stage 4, I was like I’ve done that exercise before, I’ve done that exercise before. And then it dawned on me, I’ve done all of these before because Stage 4 is a exact repeat of stage 2. This did not make me happy because if you remember, I was not a fan of Stage 2. Too many lunges!

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The only change between Stage 2 and Stage 4 was the number of reps and sets. In Stage 2, I did 2 sets of 10 reps each. In stage 4 it calls for 2-3 sets of 8 reps. The 2-3 sets really confused me. I mean should I be doing 2 or 3? I felt like if I only did 2, I was being lazy but then again, maybe if I only did 2 I would be less fatigued and would be able to lift heavier. I wasn’t really sure and the book gave no explanation as to why they say 2-3, so I just did 3.

The Workouts:

Workout A:

Exercise Sets Reps Rest (seconds)
Front squat/push press 2-3 8 90
Step-Up 2-3 8 90
Dumbell one-point row 2-3 8 90
Static lunge, rear foot elevated 2-3 8 90
Push-up 2-3 8 90
Plank 2-3 120 seconds 90
Cable Horizontal wood chop 2-3 8 90

Workout B: 

Exercise Sets Reps Rest (seconds)
Wide-grip deadlift from box 2-3 8 90
Bulgarian split squat 2-3 8 90
Underhand-grip lat pulldown 2-3 8 90
Reverselunge from box with forward reach 2-3 8 90
Dumbell prone Cuban snatch 2-3 8 90
Swiss Ball Crunch 2-3 8 90
Reverse Crunch 2-3 8 90
Lateral Flexion 2-3 8 90
Prone Cobra 2-3 120 sec 90
Interval Training: 15 minutes – 1 minute hard/2 minute recovery

What I did differently:

  • I did 15 minute intervals for both workout A & B
  • I did sets of 10 for all pushup and ab exercises
  • I didn’t do deadlifts from a box, I just did regular deadlifts same as I did in stage 2
  • I didn’t hold the plank or prone cobra for 120 seconds, I only made it to 90

What I liked about this stage:

  • I like the squat push press and pushups

What I disliked about this stage:

  • I didn’t like that it was a repeat of stage 2, I would have liked some new moves
  • I said it before and I’ll say it again, too many lunges!

Results:

*Did not include body weight exercises

Workout A:

Exercise Starting Weight Ending Weight
Front Squat Push Press 55 66
Step-Up 30 40
Dumbell One Point Row 25 25
Static lunge, rear foot elevated 25 35
Cable Horizontal Wood Chop 55 55

Workout B:

Exercise Starting Weight Ending Weight
Deadlifts 85 100
Bulgarian Split Squat 25 35
Underhand-grip lat pulldown 85 85
Reverse lunge form box with forward reach 30 35
Swiss Ball Crunch 25 35

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I’m happy with the results that I’m getting. The results in my body aren’t drastic but I’m seeing overall strength gains. I think if I had kept up with the program more consistently and did it 3 times a week, I would likely see better results.

I was hoping to be able to finish Stage 5 before I left for Europe but unfortunately with me begin lazy last week for a few days and sick this week I won’t be able to get the workouts done unless I would do 5 a week which is not recommended by the book. Therefore, I’m going to leave the next stage until I return from vacation.

In the meantime, I’m kind of looking forward to the next week and a half of workouts. I won’t be focusing on any specific training so I can just do whatever workout that I want for the fun of it! While I love having goals to keep me on track for working out, it does often mean that I am more scheduled and regimented with my workouts. So I’m looking forward to this.

Do you have a suggestion of a new exercise I should try? Are lunges the bane of your existence?

A Sick Day

Good morning everyone and Happy Humpday!

I have to tell you something…I’m taking a sick day today. Well not from work, because I had some important meetings, but from the blog. I have been hit with a terrible cold and feel pretty much awful. Yesterday when I got home from work I immediately passed out on the couch and took a 2 hour nap.

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After my nap I thought about blogging. My plan was to write my recap of the New Rules of Lifting for Women. However, considering that would mean putting on my workout clothes and taking pictures of myself, I knew there was no way that was going to happen. 

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I had no energy to write any other blog post, my brain was just too cloudy. All I wanted to do was lay on my couch and continue to binge watch episodes of Suits.

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Tom wasn’t home so I didn’t even have someone to take care of me.

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Feeling sorry for me yet? Well hopefully by tonight I will feel decent enough to write a blog post for tomorrow. In the meantime, here are a few other funny sick gifs. Stay healthy everyone!

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What do you watch on TV when you’re sick? Vicks Vaporub yay or nay?

Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette Swatches and Tutorial

I talked about my recent purchase of the Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette in my beauty haul post. I am so in love with this palette! I mean chocolate…I’m all in!

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Too Faced isn’t a brand that I am terribly familiar with. I have one bronzer from the company that came in a sample pack but I have always just skipped over their section at Sephora. They have super adorable packaging which for some reason made me feel that perhaps the makeup wasn’t as high of quality. Well I’m so glad that I finally decided to give this brand a try because I was so wrong about the quality. These shadows are amazing. They are all super pigmented, creamy and long lasting. The palette itself I think is great because it has a great selection of colours and finishes. If you are looking for a versatile neutral palette, this could be a great option. The price in Canada is $59, if you are in the US it’s $49.

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Now this price may seem steep but considering you get 16 eyeshadows for that price, I think it’s a pretty good deal.

I had a request to show some swatches from the palette. So today I will show all the swatches and two makeup tutorials using the palette.

too faced palette

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(Left to Right: Gilded Ganache, White Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, Black Forest Truffle, Triple Fudge)

too faced chocolate bar swatches

(Left to Right: Salted Caramel, Marzipan, Semi-Sweet, Strawberry Bon Bon, Candied Violet, Amaretto)

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(Left to Right: Hazelnut, Creme Brûlée, Haute Chocolate, Cherry Cordial, Champagne Truffle)

 

Now I have two looks for you that I created with the palette. The first is a great easy day look. I wore this to work.

 

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Tutorial:

  1. Using salted caramel on a fluffy brush, swipe with windshield wiper motions across entire crease and blend slightly upwards toward the brow
  2. Using Semi-sweet on that same fluffy brush blend from the outer corner of the eye and slightly into the crease
  3. Using cherry cordial on a smaller fluffy brush shade the outer corner of the eye to deepen the look
  4. Pat on white chocolate onto the inner eyelid that has no shadow and along the brow bone for a highlight
  5. Top the white chocolate on the lid with marzipan
  6. Finish with eyeliner and mascara

The second look is a great evening look. I actually copied a tutorial from Tiffany D (You Tube Beauty Guru) because I loved the look so much! So I’ll let you check out her video:

And how it came out for me…

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There ya have it!

What’s your favourite type of chocolate? Do you change up your eyeshadow for day and night?