Winter Ontario Hiking: Balls Falls

We found a waterfall that we haven’t visited within travelling distance in Ontario. Its called Balls Falls in Lincoln Ontario. It’s our first official hike of the year. I joined a challenge called “January Hiking Challenge” to get out at least five times in January for an Ontario Hike.

I normally pick my best photo from the bunch, or my most beloved, and post to instagram. But I always think all the photos are so pretty, so instead I’ll be writing a blog post about each of these hiking trails with lots of beautiful imagery.

I love the framing of this shot.

Balls Falls is actually a pretty easy hike. There are multiple trails with the longest at a max of 1.7km.

The trails were pretty mucky… so very slippery, especially without proper shoe attire. But I wanted there to be at least a light snow fall for our first hike of the year. Even if it followed days on rain.

The conservatory was so pretty with a lot of historical buildings. We definitely want to come back when the park has all facilities open. As you can see below, we took a sneak peak inside the buildings!

Solitude.
I loved the patches of green under the trees. The contrast 🥰
So cute
We were unintentionally matching!
There’s a spinning wheel in the corner there!

There are actually two waterfalls at this location. A lower one that is a short walk from parking….near all the historical buildings. Another is at the end of the loop of the longest trail.

Lower waterfall

I didn’t capture the upper waterfall unfortunately! My phone died right as we got to the lookout point. I normally plug in my phone in the car since the navigation kills my phone. Ah! Lessons learned.

I hope you enjoyed coming along with me on this hike. Let me know you enjoyed this type of blog post by liking or commenting below!!

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What I’m bringing from 2020 with me into the New Year

Most people agree that 2020 has been a sh*t show of a year. Like most, my goals for 2020 were wildly thrown off track; but there are three things I’ve learned in 2020 that I want to bring with me into the New Year.

I had so many goals for 2020. I had my beautiful new agenda (that went to waste) to keep track of my progress and everything I wanted to get done. My goals were mostly towards getting sh*t done that I have been sitting on for awhile and health goals. Consistently 2020 threw me for a loop in terms of what I had planned for myself.

1. Ability to fail with grace and forgiveness

I have always picked myself up after my failures… its just a minor set back until I succeed. I am a very goal oriented person, and I will always pick myself up after a failure and try again. BUT, I can be very hard on myself.

2020 gave me a reason to fail with grace and forgiveness. No one was expecting that everyone keep succeeding at the same pace they were before, we were all stressed out by the current world we live in.

So when I consistently fell off, tried again, fell off, decided to make baby (I mean BABY) steps… until i saw progress in ONE thing at a time. I always fell back to forgiving myself and trying again. I want to keep this grace moving into the New Year. Leave obsession behind and lead with grace.

2. Early Morning Intentions

A major factor that helped me keep trying last year was waking up early (I mean 5am, and I don’t have to log into work at home until 9am). Each morning I would wake up when my little family was still sleeping, make myself a coffee, reflect, listen to the news, and workout.

This had an amazing effect on my moods. I have never been a morning person. In fact, I would be the coworker that would ask why you were smiling in the morning (obviously only to people that “got me” and would just laugh like “oh, tash.”) Until I had my coffee, work and pleasantries had to wait.

When I had a morning to reflect and workout prior to speaking with anyone or starting work. I was smiling, I was extremely up beat and a ‘Morning Person’.

This took a tremendous amount of effort on my part, as it goes against my natural rhythm. If I went to bed when my body told me… I would go to bed around 2 and wake up at 10am.

But as a early riser, I was happier and more productive as I already got my workout in as the sun came up.

3. Reading

I started reading again. I found books on our book shelf that didn’t have a cracked spine, and blew threw them. I purchased a number of indigenous novels about the Indian Act and feminism. With all the racial tension that happened throughout 2020, I had a awakening inside to connect with my heritage. And I did this through reading, learned alot of history and had lots of discussions with my man on our shared experiences.

Since I started reading, a member of my team at work offered up a meditation novel to borrow. Previously, I might have passed but so many people of suggested that I would love meditation… so I gave it a shot. Although the language (based in love and religion) doesn’t suit me, I learned to read underneath the language to the principles of what was being taught. I realized that alot of the meditation techniques, I practiced myself in keeping up with my mental health.. naturally. I took what I hadn’t been practicing and added to my repertoire.

My reading this year definitely lead to an enlightenment of my spirit and mind and I want to continue this growth into the new year.

Thanks for reading, I hope that what 2020 has taught you will stay with you into the New Year!

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Get off the scale: it’s pure fuckery.

So I’ve been sitting on this blog post for awhile. I have been noticing changes to my body composition, as I was putting on muscle but the scale wasn’t moving. Let’s talk about that!

Since I have been sharing my fitness journey online, mostly instagram stories, people started to mention that they are noticing changes to my body as well. That told me that people may be ready for this post.

This is my second fitness journey, the first was quite awhile ago and my goal was to lose weight. I broke down weight loss to its bare basics that caloric deficit = weight loss… no matter the nutrition or the loss of muscle along the way. I just wanted to see the scale shrink.

I didn’t want to land in that obsessive behavior again this time on my fitness journey, so I did a lot more research on nutrition and started incorporating small healthy changes to my diet [more on this later]. My goal this time was to be toned, and gain muscle mass.

I started this journey midst the pandemic, because like I alot of people I gained a pandemic 15 pounds. The road wasn’t easy, and I fell off a lot of times. I am an emotional eatter and being stuck at home during a tumultuous time just meant that I was a couch potatoe and ate a bunch of junk . So instead of getting upset that I couldn’t get that under control, I decided to make my goal consistent workouts. So the first few months, I just focused on getting my workout in and working on bettering my form and getting stronger. I would celebrate every day I got up and moved even if I ate bad.

My nutrition was maybe like 50/50 for eating healthy and then days of Mcdonalds/pizza/chips etc. But I built myself consistently to become quite active, even working out twice a day. The extra calories actually became effective for building muscle.

Once I started seeing changes in my body and abilities in my workouts, I stepped on the scale. Absolutely no change….nothing. that was very disheartening but I was perplexed and decided to check my measurements. There it was…my body was changing, inches were being lost but the scale wasn’t moving. I was turning my fat to muscle, and muscle weighs more than fat.

Weight comparison: left 162 and right 171

Just take a peak at these two photos. The left is 162 at the beginning of the year pre-pandemic weight gain. The right is 171 after turning fat into muscle. This was absolutely shocking to me, my measurements were close to before my weight gain but I was ten pounds heavier!! If I just focused on the scale, I would have took a deep dive into depression because I wasn’t seeing results.

But my experience with tracking my weight via scale only and tracking without has taught me the scale is pure fuckery… for the following reasons.

1. Muscle Mass – muscle weighs more than fat. And just because the scale isn’t moving, doesn’t mean you are not showing results as per the photo above.

2. Natural fluctuations – your body naturally varies weight during the day and month. This would throw me for a loop when I was obsessively tracking it daily. You weigh more at night. After a salty or bad meal you’ll see weight gain that will be gone in a day or two. And for women, we gain during our time of the month. I gain two pounds and two inches of bloat around my waist. If I didn’t know this, I could see it being very disheartening for someone tracking their weight only by scale.

3. Mental Health- as I have been demonstrating above…the scale can have negative effects on your mental health and it can become an obsession or even throw your whole day off. Don’t step on the scale. Keep moving towards your goals daily. Its much better to track your results once you start to notice change, as a mood booster that your hard work is paying off. If you dont see results on the scale – check some things i mentioned: are your clothes fitting better? Your measurements better? Have you had a bad meal? Are you carrying bloat? This ALL matters and factors into how you should respond to that number.

With all that being said, some of you have come for the result comparison photos. So here they are!!

Weight loss: 178 to 171 [7 pounds]

Arms: from 13 inches to 12

Chest: no change

Waist: 35 inches to 34

Hips: 44.5 inches to 45 [gained some booty muscle]

Thighs: 26 inches to 24

I’m so proud of how far I’ve come..especially since I didn’t take it all on at once. I just focused on being active even if I couldn’t get my eating under control during a stressful time. The workouts helped with my moods as well. Win win!!

Now that I have my workouts down, I have decided to start my “cut.” Meaning that I will be shedding off the fat around the muscle I have built. This means that my next two months will be focusing on my nutrition. Nutritious meals at least 5/7 days of week. And I will be changing up my workouts as well. No more two a days with weights and cardio, instead it will be a single HIT insanity workout.

Check back in a couple months with me. See if I have been able to stick to nutritious meals, which admittedly will be hard for me. See if I am able to stick to the Insanity Workout program, because historically I haven’t been able to. This will be a true test for me…these next few months.

I would really appreciate any support and encouragement!

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Style Adventure: Elora

This has got to be the cutest town that me and the man have ever traveled to. We have been here before, but we have never explored the town itself just the conservatories within. But at the centre of the town is a historic district off the water and I must have said “omg this place is so cute” more than 10 times.

I researched a few places that I wanted to check out that were photograph worthy and we headed out a couple hours before dusk. I used to prefer shooting as the first thing to do during the day…but the sunlight is just not ideal at that time. I’m slowly learning…

Outfit Number 1 – Golden Romper Delight

This romper is thrifted. Block heels are call it spring.

I actually planned this location because of the stoned stairwell behind me in this photograph but they had it locked off. Oh well…they had pretty gardens surrounding and the beautiful Elora Gorge

My man picked out this backdrop for a portrait shot. It really turned out well. Perfect to show off the details of this outfit and my makeup!

Outfit 2 – Courthouse Belle

I have had this dress for so long. I continue to breathe new life into the dress with different styling and accessories. This ribbon belt and polka dot heels really make this dress pop!

By our second location, the Golden hour was starting and it was absolutely beautiful.

The third location was within the downtown core of Elora. The man Street was blocked off to vehicles and people on patios took over the streets. Everyone was unbelievably friendly and more than a few people stopped to say hello to our pup.

However we didn’t stop for anything to eat, we just took in the splendor of this quaint town. There was a location called seven doors that brought me there.

Outfit 3 – Bubblegum Cuteness

This is actually a dress layered under a polka dot baby doll skirt. My hips are much to thick now for the dress, so instead I wear it as a shirt! The skirt is thrifted and the heels were actually my grandmothers. She didn’t want them anymore…one of the benefits of having the same size feet!

Seven doors isn’t actually tagged or listed on Google so I wasnt sure how I was going to find it…but we were walking along taking everything in and I pointed out this cute building with flowers…that just so happened to be right beside the seven doors. Haha

The whole main area on Metcalf Street was adorable and cuteness overload.

What is your favourite outfit of the three?!

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Style Adventure: Princess Dress Up

I was reading a Narcity Canada article that recommended Ontario Locations if your a Disney Princess at heart, and I came across this Rapunzel looking tower and I knew I had to make a style adventure weekend out to kitchener.

I was imagining a flowing dress (I realized I have like NONE) but I had a dress that was a first purchase reject brides maid dress that was golden like Rapunzels hair and I knew it was PERFECT!

Ahhhh it came out exactly how I was picturing it. That hardly ever happens for me when planning style adventures. You never know what the locations are going to throw at you, or if your outfit/hair will come out exactly how you want, OR if me and the man will be vibing that day and can get on the same page to make ‘the shot!’

The dress has a super high slit which is very the brand I.e. my first Fashion Nova purchase. Since I have been rocking alot more curves lately…. I might start making more purchases there for sure!

I was planning to have my hair in a braid to the side…. with possibly some embedded flowers throughout, like the movie Tangled. I decided against it and instead only give a nod to Rapunzel and rock my own brown locks the way I would as a native princess.

Fun Fact: while shooting this look some guys stood outside their truck and just watched us do our photo shoot. This is probably the look I am giving in this photo. BUT I kinda liked it, “excuse me, this is my land, off with his head!”.

I was definitely feeling this look. For the heels I choose the colour that Rapunzel actually wears… purple. The heels actually have golden studs as well on them, but none of the photos can really see that (oh well! Haha).

I hope you enjoyed coming along while I played Disney princess dress up. I had a lot of fun creating this blog post!

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Style Adventure: old Town country road

I have always wanted to style a Canadian tuxedo. When we came across this old mill off an abandon railroad I knew now was the perfect time.

I couldn’t decide between two ways of styling. The first was a full buttoned, true to Canadian tuxedo, styled with heels and gold accents.

My hair is crimped from French braids worn over night and styled with a black ribbon. It gave it a very cutesy 60s vibe.

My hair was going crazy in the below shot was a loved how fun it made the photo.

My second styling was more relaxed with deep reddish boots and an unbuttoned jean shirt. I switched up the purse as well to a more everyday relaxed style with fringe.

We followed the abandoned railroad to the end of the line just for fun and I’m glad we did because it inspired the last styling.

This is the feel of the town that I grew up in.

I hope you enjoyed my little nostalgic style adventure.

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2020 Fitness Journal: Month 1

Last blog post we talked about the breaking point to starting back on a healthy lifestyle to lose weight. I stated that I would keep you updated so you can watch my progress, instead of just seeing my results at the end. So today’s post is journal-ling the ups and downs of the first month of 2020 and how it’s going!!

I have been keeping myself accountable with a two different methods:

  1. Tracking my workouts and my food within Samsung Health

This has helped tremendously to ensure I am getting enough nutrition at a caloric deficit. I do not adhere to any specific weight loss diets… I eat carbs, I eat fat, and I eat meat although I have definitely cut down on my consumption of specific types of meat.

It has also helped me to ensure I am burning enough calories throughout the day. I have a goal of an additional 750 calories a day to be burned by physical activity. I track my heart rate to ensure I am within my optimal calorie burning range for my age.

2. Tracking my daily and monthly goals within an agenda

Each morning and before bed I track what I need to get done tomorrow: which workouts, which errands etc. Then at the end of the day, I review again to see what I have accomplished. It helps to feel proud to cross off those daily small goals each day. To see your week fill up with goals made – it is definitely a continuous motivator for me.

I also set monthly goals for myself. In January my goals were: workout 6 days a week, cut back on alcohol consumption [non-nutritional calories that you just don’t need], blog/insta my fitness journey. Having monthly goals helps keep my eye set for the future, so if i have a bad day and I dont make my daily goals….it’s ok because I am still working towards a monthly goal. One day cannot break me.

So that begs the question: HOW IS IT GOING?!

I have hit 2 of the three goals. I have definitely cut back on my alcohol consumption. Switching a night cap to a wind down routine to help me get to sleep. I worked out 14/31 days – with an allotted 4 days of rest that means I made about 52% of my goal. Not exactly the greatest…. but what is funny is my mind set was SO MUCH better. I felt good, I felt I was making progress; hitting goals! That has ultimately stopped my inevitable falling off and giving up!

I will say that I got the flu in January and as I have asthma, I tend to go done down for a minimum of two weeks. There was a week where I couldn’t even get out of bed… the weakness and the fever had me faint as soon as I stood up. And because I didn’t have the energy to cook – I was also ordering in Junk Food [haha oops]. That being sad, when I started to feel better I craved healthy meals and gym time. GREAT news – my body was starting to ask for my healthy changes rather than craving for chips and an exhausted lay down on the couch.

Lastly, i have definitely been keeping accountable through my insta/blogging. Everyday I make sure to story my daily fitness journey on instagram, and it’s helped keep my daily routine fun!

My new goal for February is CONSISTENCY.

  • Workout more days than January [ I didn’t want to put a number on it… because I knew myself and I would over stress about not hitting it. SO what’s the next best thing, compete with yourself. Just do better than January]
  • Less alcohol consumption than January [Keeping with the same motif and competing with my previous self. I previously had goals to cut out alcohol consumption entirely, and as soon as a weekend came around or I had a hard day at work and fell off. I immediately failed. This time, I’m setting small goals that lead to a larger goal]
  • More Blog Posts I have more fitness presence on instagram as it’s a quick and easy method. But I want to be consistent here on the blog as well!

Overall thoughts? I haven’t fallen off my 2020 new years resolutions, to the contrary I feel MORE motivated then I did when I started. Working out is like a drug…honestly… it has such an addictive positive effect on your life. Next Month is going to be even better – LET’S GET IT!!!!

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Breaking Point: Weight loss

Not my first rodeo

They say you have to hit rock bottom before you change a behaviour or start a change in lifestyle. This isn’t the first time that I started a weight loss journey. The first time, I believe I was 21, and decided enough was enough.

My rock bottom at that point in my life was that I couldn’t wear the clothes I wanted to wear anymore. In addition, I stumbled upon some articles discussing BMI and its broad indication of whether you are at an unhealthy weight or not. Now i know that BMI is actually not very accurate, as it does not take into account the amount of muscle on the body but at that time when I received a BMI that was overweight – I knew I had to do something about it.

Breaking Point in my 30s

It’s very interesting in hind sight what was my breaking point in my thirties compared to my breaking point in my twenties. It really shows a different mind-set. I kept putting on the pounds specifically in my 30th year, and I was very self aware of this fact, but was “helpless” to do anything about it. I would just constantly complain to my man “I really need to lose weight,” “I need to start working out,” “we have to stop ordering junk food, if I ask for it – tell me no!”

I tried the previous breaking point mind sets to get myself motivated, you can’t fit any of your wardrobe! But I got super comfortable in just stretchy jeans and an over-sized sweater and was loving the fact that I didn’t have to care about my outfit. What about checking my BMI? Nope…that didn’t work either. I knew that my BMI said that I was overweight, but I could also see the outlines of the muscles that I have built over the years still peaking through the buildup of fat. This gave me false confidence that it wasn’t as bad as the numbers say… PLUS I had gotten alot more confident in my own skin since I hit my 30s. Evidenced by the fact that I was more willing to show off my body at it’s heaviest even compared to when I was at my smallest. There is a sense of self assurance that comes with maturity.

I needed a new motivation to get started! I tried, you need to get healthy as it’s only going to get harder as you age. Nothing. I tried, setting specific goals for myself. But then I just got all caught up in the numbers and felt myself going through an emotional rollercoaster because the weight wasn’t coming off like it did in my 20s. Nope- Scratch that idea. So then what’s going to make it happen?! It was actually the realization that I was uncomfortable in my own body which seems contradictive to the point that I just made above that I had more confidence. But, it wasn’t uncomfortable in my own skin on an emotional level. But I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin physically. BOOM. That hit it home for me. Why am I carrying around this extra weight when I can’t move the way I want. Even when I sit down, my rolls in my stomach will dictate my comfort level.

My breaking point was almost like that feeling you have when you get a cold, and you can’t remember what it felt like when you weren’t sick and had constant sinus pressure and a cough that hasn’t taken over your life. I had that same feeling…I couldn’t remember what it felt like to be fit. When I could run/jump/hike at a high pace with ease without feeling out of breath. When the endorphins of a workout would wash over your body. The ease of which you would fall asleep and wake up feeling refreshed! The confidence in your body not at an aesthetic level but a confidence in its movement, that it had your back with whatever you needed to do. When sitting on the couch had nothing to do with how your stomach felt….

How I got started

So now that i had the motivation, the driving force of the reason I’m doing this. I created a goal for myself, small ones so I didn’t feel overwhelmed. And this time, I didn’t want them to be about my weight in terms of numbers. Instead I wanted to focus on the numbers that matter, what is my daily intake for healthy food choices. Am i getting enough nutrition? Am I keeping my calories in check? Am I burning enough calories throughout the day to burn fat? These were the numbers I would focus on this time, whether they came off fast or slow. Progress is Progress.

Follow Along

That being sad, I thought it would be cool to story/blog my way through this weightloss journey. As most fitness people only detail their journey AFTER success. Instead I wanted to showcase a transparent look from start to continued process [there is no end to a healthy lifestyle]. You can follow my blog here for upcoming detailed posts, or you can follow my day to day on my instagram.

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