April 18, 2014
by Sam
36 Comments

Five Things Friday 04/18/14.

Pssst! Don’t forget to entire the Kewaza Giveaway – it closes this weekend!

Hiii! Happy Easter!

Five Things Friday

And of course, happy Friday! Let’s just get right into it, shall we?

5 Things I’ve Eaten This Week:

1. A burger salad with kabocha.

Burger Salad Basically, I just crumbled up one of Monday’s burgers on a bed of romaine with chopped tomatoes, pickles, ketchup and honey mustard. Because anything can be made into a salad.

2. Shrimp and crab stirfry with veggies and rice noodles.

Stirfry

3. Omelette with sausage, green onion and bell pepper and buttered toast.

Omelette

Breakfast for dinner win.

4. Banana, chocolate and peanut butter smoothie with coconut butter and cereal.

Smoothie …I need more puffins.

5. Tuna melts on pumpernickel with baby carrots.

Tuna Melts

One of my favourite easy dinners.

5 Things Happening This Week:

1. I installed F.lux on my computer a few days ago and I have been noticing a difference in my quality of sleep! F.lux is a program that adjusts the lighting on your computer depending on the time of day, so after the sun goes down the light fades to a reddish tinge. Research suggests that blue lights (such as the ones emitted from a computer screen) disrupt the natural melatonin cycle, making your brain thinking that it’s daylight hours. Red light doesn’t effect the cycle – so using the program is good for those of us who don’t tend to abide by the ‘electronics-off-one-hour-before-bed’ rule.

2. So with Easter dinner, my family usually just does a turkey. Actually…we do that for every big holiday. But is that just a Thanksgiving thing? What do you usually eat for Easter/Passover?

Easter Eggs(img source)

3. Despite the fact that my workouts aren’t exactly injury-inducing these days, I managed to pull a muscle in my leg a few days ago. It’s feeling ok as I’m writing this (Thursday night) so hopefully I’ll be good to go to Physique this morning. But still, it’s a little sad that I probably managed to hurt myself by walking.

4. Yesterday Atticus was really hyper in the afternoon and it was nice outside, so I took him out to my building’s backyard to run around a little bit. We live right behind an elementary school, so the two yards are next to each other. We’re outside and next thing I know, I hear someone yell ” A DOG!” and then there’s an absolutely horde of children pushed up against the fence to say hi – we were outside during their recess. One of them asked me his name, then suddenly they were all yelling “HI ABBICUS!” And sticking their fingers through the fence to try and pet him. And Atticus got to enjoy having a whole host of sticky fingers to lick.

Atticus How can you NOT love this face?

And it was adorable :-p

5. One article for my fellow Canadians  - number 5, 9, 10, 11, 15, 23.

And for my fellow almost-graduates: Your Calling Doesn’t Always Look Like You Think It Should.

5 Things I’ve Pinned This Week:

1. You know when you’re planning to go out to eat with someone and they’re turning down everything you come up with?

Starve

Made even better by the fact that I watched this movie earlier this week (and a few days before that, The Princess and the Frog…yes, all I watch is children’s movies). (source)

2. These might be the best life lessons I’ve ever seen.

10 to Zen

Agreed, yes?

3. Also very true:

Real Measurements

4. 5 Ingredient Inside-Out Peanut Butter Cups via Edible Perspective.

Peanut Butter Cups

‘Peanut Butter Cup’ is basically my magic word (phrase?), inside out or not.

5. Dark Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Icing via Shugary Sweets.

Dark Chocolate Cake

Throw some peanut butter in there somewhere and you basically have my idea cake – I love chocolate cake, but vanilla icing. 

That’s all for me today – have a fabulous weekend!

<— Dill or bread and butter pickles? Bread and butter. So good.

<— What does your family usually eat for Easter/Passover?

<— What’s your favourite kind of icing? Vanilla buttercream – I cannot stay away from it.

<— Do you tend to use electronics right up until you go to bed? Guilty.

April 17, 2014
by Sam
52 Comments

5 Tips for Working At Home.

So if you’re unaware, or you’re a new reader, I’m currently finishing up my thesis year for my MA degree. This means that since September, I’ve been going to school approximately once a week for meetings and to fulfill Teaching Assistant duties, and otherwise I do my research and write from home. 

When I realized that I’d be working from home 90% of the time, I was excited – working 2 feet away from my fridge, making my own hours, sleeping in as late as I want…pretty awesome, right? But like everything in life, there are some downsides. I find you either run the risk of never fully ‘disconnecting’ from work (not having to go through the act of packing up and leaving work, it can be hard to distinguish between ‘work time’ and ‘free time’) or taking a break to catch up on an episode of Mad Men only to find yourself 5 episodes deep and no work done. And of course, my only ‘co-worker’ can’t really understand the office gossip.

Atticus He does keep me on task though.

So since September, I’ve figured out some strategies to stay productive working at home, while still being able to separate ‘work life’ and ‘home life’.

1. Figure out the schedule that works best for you.

Making your own hours at home is great, but you need to make sure you’re actually sticking to them! If you know you’re most productive in the morning, start working early and finish up mid-afternoon. If you’re a night owl, plan to work more afternoon-evening hours. Of course, this can very a little bit day-to-day, but know when you want to start working, and when you want to clock out. And when you’re done for the day, you’re done! Whatever you were working on, you can pick it up again the next day. I tend to work better in the morning, so I’m usually up between 6:30-7:00, and starting work by 8.

2. Get dressed.

As tempting as it can be to stay in your pajamas all day, I feel a lot more productive when I actually put ‘real clothes’ on. Of course, I’m not suggesting that you throw on a suit for working at home (I’m usually in yoga pants or workout clothes) but that helps me set the tone for sitting down to work.

Yoga Pants (img source)

3. Distinguish your ‘work station’.

If you have room for a home office, that’s awesome – it’s easy to get up and leave when you’re done for the day. When I’m working on my thesis, TA duties, or writing for the blog at home I’ll go back and forth between my desk and my standing desk. If I’m not working, I’ll take my laptop to the couch. Again, this helps me distinguish between ‘work’ and ‘me time’.

4. Figure out your ‘ideal’ work settings.

People need different things when they work. Some people need silence, some like music, and others like to have the TV or a movie on in the background. If I’m concentrating, I need silence. I’ll put on music when I’m writing a blog post, but if I’m doing research or editing my thesis, I need silence. So once I start editing, the TV goes off – the other day I learned my lesson when I threw Frozen on in the background. Needless to say, my paper didn’t get a lot of editing that day…

Olaf(img source)

5. Take breaks.

Ohmygod takes breaks. Take a walk, eat lunch, go for a quick gym class…if you were working at a office, chances are you would take a lunch break, so make sure you do so at home. I’ll usually take about an hour for lunch, which I’ll eat while reading or watching a TV show. Or I’ll take about an hour and a half if I’m going to a mid-day gym class. Stand up, stretch, and leave your work station for a little while! I’ve never been a ‘work-through-lunch’ sort of person, so I make sure I give myself that midday break to recharge and get ready to tackle my work ‘to-do list’ for the afternoon.

Facebook Break (img source)

Although this has happened before…

I have no idea where I’ll be a few months from now, work-wise – I’ve loved working at home, so I’d love to be able to find a position that allows me to continue to do that. So if that does happen in the future, this year has taught me to be able to work from home while staying on task and maintaining a work/life balance. It’s a little tricky working from home, but I think I’ve got it down.

Have a good one!

<— Have you ever worked from home?

<— Would you rather work at home or in an office?

<— Music, TV, or silence while you work?

<— If you work at home, what’s your #1 tip for being productive?

April 16, 2014
by Sam
46 Comments

WIAW: Finding Balance.

Eating more is a bit of a balancing act. You have to take into consideration how much you can eat without making yourself uncomfortable full all the time. You have to figure out how often to eat so that you’re getting the extra calories without making eating feel like a chore. Then, you have to balance the not-so-healthy-stuff with the healthy stuff, so that you’re not giving yourself a sugar-induced-stomachache.

WIAW

But, slowly, I’m figuring it out. I definitely overdid it on sugar/desserts last week, which left my stomach feeling not so great. So this week, I’m focusing on keeping my eats calorie dense while lightening up on the sugar load a little bit. Of course, I’m not one to eliminate it entirely, but I feel better having it sprinkled in little amounts throughout the day rather than ending the day on a sugar rush. So, I’ve got Monday’s calorie-dense-but-not-so-sugary eats for you today’s WIAW!

Breakfast:

School day (well…it was supposed to be a school day, until all my meetings got cancelled. Once I was already there. Le sigh) so breakfast was eaten on the bus.

Cottage Cheese BowlCottage cheese, a big scoop of crunchy Barney Butter,a sliced banana, and Peanut Butter Puffins. My love affair with PB Puffins is definitely going strong right now – so good!

Morning Snack:

Grapes Trail MixA mix of grapes and Indulgence trail mix. I’m not usually a morning snack person, but I’ve been squishing one in the last couple of weeks. Trail mix and fruit has been a big favourite.

Lunch:

Dinner leftovers from the night before:

SalmonSalmon, roasted green beans, and some brown rice underneath. I’m not usually big on leftovers, but I will always make an exception for salmon.

SquashPlus some cold kabocha squash on the side. Kabocha isn’t the most calorie-dense option out there (ie, a sweet potato is a better choice if I want more calories), but it’s one of my favourites so I still eat it.

P.S. This is how I usually find myself doing work if I’m alone in the grad student office:

ChairWhat? I need to stretch.

Snack:

Granola Bar I started making Amanda’s Protein Granola Bars for Eric’s lunches and now I eat them all the time. So freakin’ good.

When I got home, I also had some unpictured carrots and hummus.

Dinner:

I picked up some ground beef over the weekend (woot calorie and iron dense!) so I used that to mix up some burgers for dinner. Now I wish I remembered what I threw in there, because these turned out really good.

Burger Served on a whole wheat bun with lettuce, tomato, ketchup and honey mustard with a side salad + balsamic vinaigrette on the side. And while we ate, we caught up on the latest episode of GoT…can we all just say good riddance?

Dessert

Mug CakeSpoons’ Double Chocolate Mug Cake (yes, that is two of Amanda’s recipes in one post…what can I say, she’s awesome) with peanut butter chips and a scoop of Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut. Still sweet enough to count as dessert, but without the sugar crash.

Yup, that was a good day of eats – enough sugar to satisfy my sweet tooth without going overboard, while sticking with a lot of calorie-dense options. Slowly, I’m figuring this out. Enjoy your Wednesday!

<— Do you usually eat breakfast at home, on the go, or at work/in class?

<— If you work in an office, do you ever do yoga/stretches/workouts when you’re by yourself or the door’s closed? I may have done a couple sun salutations in there too….

<— Leftovers for lunch, yay or nay?