Great Dates In Edmonton

Just about a year ago, Ryan (my man) and I created the Date List. All the dates we wanted to go on the we could reference when we are trying to plan our dates. I thought I could share some of them on here with you guys.

The Muttart Conservatory

We’ve gone quite a few times to the conservatory to enjoy the fragrance and beauty of the exhibits. It’s always been a nice way to spend a chilly day without freezing our butts off. We often bring a camera with us and get some nice profile shots of each other while we wander through the plants. Going into the Muttart is a date well under $50.00 but the cafe attached is a rather pricy place to grab a bite to eat.

West Edmonton Mall Water Park

This is another date we’ve actually gone on. It was fun to be silly and act a little younger together. Though I have to say I was a little uncomfortable being in a bathing suit with so many people around, as I was a little heavier at the time. The looping slide was absolutely terrifying, there was no count down and I lost half my bathing suit by the time I reached to end of the slide. Otherwise it was a really fun day together and certainly a good way to spend a rainy afternoon.

Rocky Horror Picture Show Live

I have heard tales of the audience participation screenings of Rocky Horror, and in Edmonton we do have a theatre that promotes exactly that. We have yet to be able to go, but friends who have gone have told me it’s a hoot and a holler to go. Don’t wear your nicest clothes though, apparently it gets pretty messy in there by the end.

Bowling

Surprisingly something we have yet to go out and do. I would say this is probably better for a double date or group event but bowling is always a great time. Bronx is always fun but Gateway has some massive lanes to enjoy. I can’t wait to go out on this date.

The Rec Room

I have been to the Rec Room, its a little pricy compared to most dates on this list, but it is a lot of fun if you like arcade games. I have to say most of the games are just larger versions or spinoffs of cellphone games but they are still fun. The Photo Booth there is a lot of fun to play in as well. We haven’t gone on a date there yet, I went with a friend of mine. When we go on a date I hope to try the food, I hear it’s pretty tasty.

Hardware Grill

The Hardware Grill is on the East end of Jasper Avenue and it’s one of the nicest restaurants in Edmonton. We’ve been waiting to go there for a special occasion as it is not an inexpensive dining experience. From all the reviews I’ve read it may well be the best dining experience in the city from ambiance, quality of food, service and expertise. I can’t wait to try it for myself!

Archery Tag

We kept seeing ads for Archery Tag and it looks like a ton of fun. Again I think this would be better for a group activity or double date. Who doesn’t want to shoot their loved one with arrows?

Galaxy Land

We had a lot of fun at Galaxy Land. I’ve been many times in my life, but on our date there I went on the Mindbender for my first time. It was exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. There have been new rides installed in the last couple of years that give a new experience to the beloved Edmonton Amusement Park. It is not an inexpensive date either I am afraid. In our case we bought the 2 Day passes for ourselves and spent a weekend at West Edmonton Mall enjoying all of the attractions included. It was around $200.00 for the two days for both of us but we got to go to the water park, Galaxy Land, Glow In The Dark Mini Golf, The WEM Golf Course, The Caves and the Santa Maria.

Airport Outlet Mall

We were curious about just how great the deals here would be. I wasn’t overly impressed, there didn’t seem to much discount at all on most women clothing there, though for mens wear there was more discounts. It was cool to see it all and fun to go out on a shopping date together.

There are more to come, so keep an eye out for the next post! Let me know if you’ve been to any of these places in the comments!

5 Beautiful Engagement Rings Under $500.00

I went through a lot of big box store style jewelry providers and found the same uninspired styles over and over again with massive price tags, so I took to etsy to find unique and reasonably priced pieces

I think it’s safe to say something has been on my mind a lot lately, wish led me to obsessively looking through engagement rings. I went through a lot of big box store style jewelry providers and found the same uninspired styles over and over again with massive price tags, so I took to etsy to find unique and reasonably priced pieces. Below is my five top picks under $500.00 CAN.

5. 14K Solid Rose Gold Band w/ 1.5CT Oval Diamond

This piece comes with a synthetic diamond at just under $300.00, the diamonds reach half way around the band and the centre piece is not too risen from the band. To take a closer look, click here.

4. Sterling Silver w/ Garnet

This beautiful ring comes in at just under $500.00 and has a very unique look compared to the perfect diamond style that has been so popular. Really a wonderful and unique ring. To take a closer look, click here.

3. 14K Gold w/ White Sapphire & Diamonds

Once again we are just skimming under $500.00 for this lovely sapphire ring with small diamonds nestling up to the centrepiece. To take a closer look, click here.

2. Raw Amethyst Ring

This ring comes in at under $100.00 and has a very different vibe than the clean cut symmetrical diamond rings we often see. To take a closer look, click here.

1. 14K Ring w/ .72 CT Simulated Diamond

This piece comes with a beautiful oval cut centre stone with wonderfully symmetrical stones on the side. Coming in at just over $400.00 this more traditional piece is lovely. To take a closer look, click here.

Let me know what you thought of these rings and tell me which was your favourite in the comments!

How To Pick The Perfect Valentine Gift

A gift that is personal, something your partner needs or really wants is a much more intimate gift, even though it doesn’t include the commercially sold Valentines Gifts.

How To Pick The Perfect Gift

Chocolate and flowers are kind gifts, but they aren’t very personal. In order to buy the perfect gift you have to think of something your partner needs. For example, my man bought me the perfect soap dish as a small gift when I came home from being out of town for a while. He knew I was upset by the stickiness bars of soap were leaving on my sink and knew it was something I needed. Though it was not a “romantic” gift, it was one I really appreciated.

Think of something your partner needs and pair it with flowers that match the gift to give your thoughtful gift a romantic vibe.

Say your girlfriend has been saying she needs a new phone case, get her a charging case with flowers that match its colour. Instead of a useless trinket or chocolate, you’ve given her something she will use every day and think of you when she looks at it.

If your man has been saying he really needs to clean his truck, work together with his friends to organize time where you can take it to get professionally cleaned, or scrub it yourself. This may take a little organizing, but he is sure to appreciate a detailed interior and sparkling clean tires.

The idea of everything needed to be covered in roses and hearts is not the most practical or thoughtful. A gift that is personal, something your partner needs or really wants is a much more intimate gift, even though it doesn’t include the commercially sold Valentines Gifts.

Let me know down below the best gift you’ve ever given or received for Valentines Day.

How My Love Of Cooking Began

I became a master of those cookies, but in the beginning my brother would have to help me a lot, I couldn’t even mix in all the flour by myself because I arms would get too tired.

When I was little my brother Bryce taught me how to bake chocolate chip cookies. Not just any cookies, our grandmothers recipe. I became a master of those cookies, but in the beginning my brother would have to help me a lot, I couldn’t even mix in all the flour by myself because I arms would get too tired.

That’s where my help ended. Neither of my parents were very good cooks and my father worked out of town a lot, so I started experimenting with food. It started with mixing spices into canned soups to give them more flavour, and soon after I was trying to make my own stews.

By the time I was in my early teens my father would let me do all the baking and a lot of the food preparation for events he would host at the house. He bought me a decorating kit so that my cookies and cupcakes could be prettier and I practiced making flowers over and over again until I could whip out a rose on the first try.

Then my mother and I discovered the greatest recipe for cheesecake we’ve ever had. Now I won’t disclose what it is, but we were low on cream cheese so we subbed out half of the cream cheese for something else and it has been my signature dessert ever since.

As I got older I was alone more and more in the house and I was becoming more aware of how badly I was eating, consuming mass amounts of ramen noodle and ice cream, so I started working more with fruit and vegetables. Making more fruit smoothies and vegetable based stews with less meat in them.

As an adult I put more time into cooking for others. This took a little adjustment as I love my food spicy and heavy with dill and I had become accustomed to cooking for one. These days I’ve been trying a lot of new recipes. Unfortunately for my man, I don’t actually follow recipes so it’s hard to duplicate results. I tend to take the idea of a recipe and play with it to suit my taste better. My poor man can’t keep up because I don’t often document what I add or take away, which makes it really hard for him to try to make the same dish.

I have begun writing down my recipes, which I think I will share on the blog at some point. But that’s how I went from a little girl amazed by my brothers cookies to a capable cook myself. I think passion is really what made me try, I enjoy cooking very much.

Please share your story in the comments!

Dieting : Expectation VS Reality

Walking into a diet with huge expectation can be one of the most fatal things. Expecting optimal results within a week is just not achievable so it’s important to remember a few things.

A lot of people start diets every year, and a lot of people don’t lose the weight or gain it right back. It can be difficult emotionally, physically and financially to “diet” and when the results aren’t what we’re hoping for it can be down right upsetting. Below we are going to cover why diets don’t usually work and why we gain weight after them.

Why “Diets” Don’t Work

Walking into a diet with huge expectation can be one of the most fatal things. Expecting optimal results within a week is just not achievable so it’s important to remember a few things.

Firstly, losing ten pounds a week is not sustainable for your body and isn’t healthy. Losing 1-2 pounds week after week is something your body can do and do so healthily.

Secondly, any diet that requires you to wildly restrict caloric intake is probably not a good idea, as your metabolism will adjust to the limited caloric intake and the second you start increasing calories to a healthy amount per day your body will start turning it to conserved energy due to being starved for how ever long you dieted.

Thirdly, most diets don’t account for nutrition if they focus only on caloric intake. Eating the right foods is far more important than caloric manipulation.

Fourthly, diets don’t work because we look at them as short term goals and not lifestyle changes. Realistically if you ate a healthy diet based on whole foods and reasonable caloric intake you would lose weight until your body found its happy BMI.

How To “Diet” Right

Well the secret isn’t secret ingredients or magic pills. It’s eating the right foods at the right time. Make sure you are eating enough nutrients to support your body and don’t eat before going to bed. Enjoy fruits and vegetables in a fun way. The big secret is healthy living, eating well and fuelling your body. That being said, always consult a doctor before making huge dietary changes.

Salads are boring, so make them delicious with fruits, nuts, vinaigrettes and protein like chicken. Forcing yourself to eat foods you don’t like is a surefire way to cause failure in your dieting.

Having protein shakes is great, but they aren’t going to fill you up or satisfy your cravings. Click here for some great meal replacement shakes that will satisfy hunger with proper nutrients and healthy calorie intake.

Make sure you have enough carbohydrates and protein in your diet. If you’re looking for great protein and supplements click here.

Be flexible in your thinking! Eating one cookie to satisfy a craving or one double cheeseburger isn’t the end of your weight loss story. You satisfied your craving, good, now continue with your intended meals and keep losing the unwanted weight. Thinking that its all over or your day is now ruined by “cheating” a little bit leads to binging instead of just satisfying a craving.

Find support in your journey! There is no reason to go at it alone. There are so many groups and individuals who can help motivate and support you in your goals!

Have set goals in mind and track your progress. A lot of people give up because they feel like they aren’t achieving anything due to the scale stubbornly not moving! Remember to track your measurements as well as your weight and take a before picture to contrast where you are during your journey. It seems like a small thing but being able to physically see the difference can change your attitude towards your journey for the better. (Downloadable tracking sheet at the end of this article).

In the end, dieting means a lifestyle change and a commitment to your health and body. It’s not a short term project, a weekend of cleansing, its a long term relationship you build with the fuel that feeds your body. This is so important, as you only have one body in your life, so it’s worth respecting it and taking care of it from the inside out.

If you have any tips or comments please leave them in the comment section below!


Why Almond Milk Is The Greatest Beverage

In the last few weeks I have been living by almond milk and it is a truly versatile beverage.

In the last few weeks I have been living by almond milk and it is a truly versatile beverage. You can replace so many things with it! I have an intolerance to dairy that makes it unpleasant at times to rely on milk and yogurt to use in recipes, so almond milk has been a great replacement.

Raspberry Cheesecake Smoothie

Using almond milk in smoothies instead of milk or yogurt reduces the calories and allows for a creaminess you just wouldn’t find with water, it also adds a gentle sweetness to the smoothie.

Strawberry & Cinnamon Smoothie Bowl

Almond milk in cereal, what a revelation. Its so smooth and again, has a gentle sweetness that makes higher fibre and healthier cereals taste better.

Almond milk also has a much longer shelf life, so less wasted product and money.

Over all I have come to believe that you can replace almost anything with this magical liquid. I’ve made almond milk ice cream, smoothies, sauces and dips and I must say they’ve all turned out really well. In most cases I have simmered down the milk to thicken it for recipes and it has yielded better results than I had expected.

I would like to try making a similar recipe to the Japanese agar agar drop cake with almond milk and pectin, as I believe it would be absolutely delicious. I think I would pair it with a vanilla and brown sugar sauce, as it seems the flavours would complement each other well.

Almond milk on its own is a delightful beverage, refreshing and satisfying. There are mixed reviews on almond milk in coffee, I personally really enjoy it heated, but my man doesn’t like the aftertaste of the warmed milk. So that one is for each person to determine on their own.

I also believe that almond milk would pair well with cashew while cooking chicken, and I intend to try it, as I think the creaminess of the almond and the sweetness of the cashew would make for a delightful flavour combination for many dishes where you would cook with milk.

This is the brand Ryan introduced me too and I’ve been loving it since he got me to try it.

Let me know down below what your favourite recipe is with Almond Milk!

How I Successfully Quit Smoking

From the age of 13 to 22 I smoked daily, and at times I was smoking over a pack a day. I would sometimes try to quit and make it maybe two days without nicotine before I gave up.

Like many young people, I wanted to fit in with the friend group I had. They were a misfit group and they all smoked and swore and I was excited to be part of their group. Over time I started smoking to fit in with them, and I kept that habit for nine years. From the age of 13 to 22 I smoked daily, and at times I was smoking over a pack a day. I would sometimes try to quit and make it maybe two days without nicotine before I gave up.

At the age of 19 I was introduced to chewing tobacco. I actively chewed for three years along with my smoking. With constant nicotine in my blood stream it was obvious quitting cold turkey was not going to work for me. I was breaking two physical habits along with the actual addiction.

A few of the men I worked with were using vapes, and I started asking them questions about how it made them feel, if it quenched their cravings and they all said it did. Now I realized the vape would not allow me to break the physical habit, but it would allow me to ween myself off the nicotine. My lungs had becomes constantly tight, I had an awful cough every morning and phlegm constantly coated my throat. I knew my health was suffering due to my choice to continue smoking and something had to be done about it.

My Vape

I decided to quit in circumstances where I would be less tempted to break. I waited a few weeks until I returned to school, where we had limited smoke breaks and it was very inconvenient to go out for them. There was also only a few smokers there, most people were also vaping. This really did help limit my exposure to temptation.

The hardest part for me was while I was driving in the morning. I have had the unfortunate habit of chain smoking while driving, and the vape really helped me with that. Every couple minutes I can pull a drag of the vape instead of constantly inhaling smoke.

Now over time I have brought down my nicotine content in my juice. I started with 30mg, and am now down to 3mg. I rely less and less on the vape now, and can comfortably go more than half a day without any nicotine. I plan to continue weening myself off the nicotine.

This whole journey of quitting has taken 2 months to date, and has been the most successful method for me.


Delicious Protein Smoothies

You can’t put a price on health, but you can certainly put a price on your grocery costs. Here are three delicious smoothies that all ring in under 350 calories that make great breakfasts and lunches. Watch above or read down below.

3 Great Protein Smoothies

Raspberry Cheesecake Shake

  • 1 tsp chia seed
  • 5 frozen cherries
  • 15 frozen blueberries
  • 5 frozen strawberries
  • 2 scoops IsaLean Raspberry Cheesecake (read below on where to find it)
  • 1/2 cup water or almond milk
  • 1 tsp glutamine

Mix all together in your trusty blender to get a thick smoothie, you can add water or almond milk to thin it out.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

  • 2 tbsp natural peanut butter (no sugar added)
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 scoops IsaLean Creamy Dutch Chocolate (read below on where to find it)
  • 1/2 cup water or almond milk
  • add 3 ice cubes for thin, 5 for a thicker shake

Mix all ingredients except ice until fully blended, then add in your ice. This just makes it easier on your blender.

Berry & Kale Smoothie

  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 cube of frozen kale (read below)
  • 5 frozen cherries
  • 15 frozen blueberries
  • 5 frozen strawberries
  • 2 scoops IsaLean Creamy Vanilla
  • 1 tsp glutamine
  • 1/2 cup water or almond milk

Mix all together in your trusty blender to get a thick smoothie, you can add water or almond milk to thin it out.

Kale Cubes

In order to preserve my kale and add it easily into smoothies I blend it with a small amount of water and freeze it in an ice tray. As I don’t use kale every day it makes sure I’m not wasting any good produce. I freeze most of my fruit as well when I buy it fresh before it goes bad to reduce product and financial waste.

IsaLean

IsaLean shakes are delicious on their own or in a smoothie. They are produced by Isagenix, a company I work with to help people lose weight, maintain a healthy lifestyle and optimize athletic performance. If you have any interest in learning about our products, acquiring some delicious new products or learning about the company, please contact me down below.

Great Anime for People Who Don’t Watch Anime

I can’t say I’m the biggest anime fan, but this past year I’ve been dipping my toes into the water and have found five series I would recommend to anyone.

I can’t say I’m the biggest anime fan, but this past year I’ve been dipping my toes into the water and have found five series I would recommend to anyone. Don’t be fooled by the trailers, all of them have an English dub.

5. Black Butler

Trailer

An interesting concept for a show that plays with dark comedy, politics and the Victorian Era in and around London. The demon butler serves his young master through all confrontation that faces them. A short series you can find on Netflix.

4. Inuyasha

A young girl has to team up with a demon to save Japan, both past and present. A long search and many enemies stand in their way to retrieve what they must to save the world. Though it is a longer series, the combination of humour, romance, fantasy and adventure keeps your interest. Easily found on Netflix.

3. Little Witch Academia

A very light hearted 25 episode show filled with magic and laughs. A series worth binge watching that fills you with a warm feeling. Following the journey of a young woman who wishes to become a witch through her studies and trials. Found on Netflix.

2. Sword Art Online

Another 25 episode series with some dark twists that catch you off guard, mixed with romance, beautiful choreography and wonderful scenes. A slurry of emotions come from this show, I shed a few tears throughout the series. Found on NetflixDeath Note

1. Death Note

If you’ve seen the live action, try to forget it as it can’t be further from the compelling show that follows Light in his journey. With ties to faith, Gods and the human soul it is an inspired story that will suck you in. Easily one of the best anime to be produced in the last decade, it has a place in the heart of the anime community. If you are going to watch one anime in your life, let it be this one. I could not find an actual trailer for the anime, just trust me when I say it’s worth a watch.

If you have any suggestions for great anime to watch, please comment below!

25 Things You Should Do Before You Turn 25

Time flies by and it would seem that opportunities and experiences slip through our fingers. There are so many things you can do in your youth that become more difficult as time marches on, so here are 25 things you should do before you turn 25

1. Attend a Broadway Show

Whether you see it in New York, or on tour, take the time to see a wonderful piece of theatre.

2. Live Alone For A While

Spending time alone with your own mind and body can be a difficult thing to do, as you become comfortable with yourself it gets easier, but without the time dedicated to getting to know yourself, it’s much harder to see where you want to go in the future.

3. Dye Your Hair

Whether you dye your hair something drastic, pastel or a simple colour, you might find you feel fierce and confident with a new look.

4. Get Your Health In Order

We all know the doctors tell us we need to get our health in order as soon as possible. They also say your mid twenties mark when it becomes more and more difficult to lose weight. Get your health in order, eat nutritious foods and avoid junk food.

5. Complete Post Secondary Education

Whether you chose to go for your masters, a trade ticket, engineering or a bachelor, do it while you are young and your mind is still flexible.

6. Write Your Will

Your will is certainly not a fun document to write up, and in your twenties it does not need to be very long or complex, but it should exist to facilitate affairs for your family should something unfortunate happen.

7. Host A Family Gathering

Spend the day preparing appetizers and a meal you are proud to feed your loved ones. There is a simple joy in feeding others, it is giving to others with your efforts. Feeding others is a lovely way to show your love and respect for them, not to mention give the usual hosts a night off to enjoy the company of the family without having to slave in the kitchen all day to accomplish it.

8. Volunteer

Spend some time helping others. Whether it’s working with the homeless, children, elderly or neighbours. One of life joys is seeing appreciation for your deeds.

9. Attend A Festival In Your City

Whether it’s the Lighting of the Trees, a live music event, a food festival or an arts appreciation event, attend some. See the bright life of your city and enjoy the atmosphere of the event.

10. Read Tools Of Titans – Tim Ferris

Reading this book allowed me and a few of my friends some guidance and advice on how to live healthier and more productive lives. It is the one book I would recommend to every person in the world.

11. Enjoy A Meal In A Highly Rated Restaurant

Save up and enjoy an incredible meal. Take the advice for pairings and immerse yourself in the experience of fine dining.

12. Go On A Roadtrip

Grab a friend or your partner and spend a week sight seeing. Remember not to drive if too tired and enjoy some road trip snacks! Make sure to take pictures and cherish the memories.

13. Attend Live Music

Whether it be a festival in town or a concert you’ve been dying to see, enjoy the enthusiasm and energy of a crowd while you jam out to some great live music.

14. Sing Karaoke At Least Once

Face the fear of singing in public. It’s difficult and takes a lot of courage, things that require you to get past your discomfort are character building to say the least.

15. Hike A Mountain

Karaoke takes a little emotional discomfort, but hiking a mountain creates physical discomfort and requires dedication to the task. Surely a good exercise for strengthening your body and mind.

16. Visit A Gallery

Immerse yourself into the arts! Visit your local art gallery or museum and enjoy learning about the history that lives within the walls of such places.

17. Attend A Live Sporting Event

Whether you love sports or not, try to enjoy the event. Watch the crowds energy flow and take part in the excitement.

18. Watch Live Comedy

Whether you attend an internationally known performer or your local comedy club the evening is enjoyable. Laughing with friends by your side and a drink in your hand is surely one of life simple pleasures.

19. Have Your Portrait Taken

Whether to hang in your home, send to another or to be used for business purposes, it’s worth having a professional photograph of yourself.

20. Hang A Painting Of Yours

Take the time to paint something you are proud of and display it in your home. It brings a feeling of accomplishment as well as a comfortable and familiar feeling to the room.

21. Take Your Parents Out For A Nice Dinner

Take your parents out for a lovely diner to show your respect and appreciation for them.

22. Break A Bad Habit

Your health deserves your attention, whether you drink a little much, smoke, or eat junk food too often, it’s time to give up a bad habit and increase your health.

23. Learn To Drive

Even if you live in a city where driving is not necessary or even common for transportation, it is a valuable skill to hold. Take the time to learn and be licensed.

24. See The Northern Lights

Take the time to see one of natures true wonders. The Northern Lights dance so beautifully across the sky that they can trap your gaze for minutes at a time. The move so gracefully that you can’t tear your eyes away.

25. Write Something

Whether you write a journal, a blog, a short story or a poem, write something. Allow your thoughts to flow out of you. It’s a good exercise to maintain literacy and work your mind.

Let me know in the comments how many of the above you accomplished before turning 25, or some other things you think should have been included in the list!