Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Why I need to be by myself - and think you should be, too

Let me start by saying that I love people. I love my family, my friends, my co-workers, my boyfriend, my acquaintances – I think everyone in my life is amazing, and I truly enjoy having them in my life.

But I am also really happy when I'm alone. It helps me to de-stress and find balance in my life.

Santiago, Chile

I enjoy doing things by myself – whether that be going for a run, to a fitness class, doing a little bit of shopping, or reading a book.

My boyfriend is a bit different than me here. He doesn’t always understand when I say I need some time to myself. He takes it personally.

I love him dearly, and cherish my time with him.
  
I’m writing this to remind myself why I enjoy some alone time, and why I think everyone else should enjoy theirs, too:

You need to be happy and like yourself for everything that you are.

I know I’ve made mistakes. I know I’m not perfect, but I try to embrace everything about who I am, and you should too. Get to know yourself! If you don’t know who you are, then you need to spend some time alone and find out. Be confident and secure with yourself and don’t look to others to always entertain you or full-fill any voids in your life.

Being alone a healthy way to de-stress, reflect, and find balance.

When you are spending time by yourself, you have the peace and quiet to reflect upon your day and your own person. Turn off your computer and your phone. Pause and think about the day before letting it all go and facing a new one.

You only have one life, and there is only one you.

I am talking about here, today.

Now.

You need to do what’s best for you. Other may influence you, so be sure to spend time alone and let your feelings speak to you.

At the end of the day, all you really have is yourself.

You are left with your own decisions and who you are as person. Enjoy your own company and be proud of who you are.

Please don’t misunderstand me. Like I said earlier, I love people. And I really do believe that naturally, we are drawn towards companionship. I also believe that life is better shared with others, including a significant other. But through all of life’s adventures, don’t lose yourself. Follow your heart. And take all the time you need to find inner peace.

I encourage you to reach out to others for support and love with all of your heart, but share some of that love with you, too.

Do something for yourself today.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Favorite thing Friday: How Flaxseed helped my hair - along with the other major benefits this little seed gives you

Hair care

I mentioned in my first Favorite Thing Friday post that my boyfriend is a farmer. He knows a lot about living off the land and taking care of animals. The time he has spent caring for animals is often how he relates to a lot of other things in his life – like me, his girlfriend. Yes, I know, it sounds bizarre. And at first I was a little offended. But now I’ve come to realize when he compares a certain situation to his animals, he usually ends up being correct. I’ve come to accept it, and even embrace it a little bit. Animals are extraordinary creatures and I think breeding and caring for them is a great gift to have.

For years, I’ve complained about my hair. “It grows like a snail” “It’s too stringy” “It looks dull” were just some of the daily criticisms I had, and this year, I was really on a mission to grow it past my chin.

One thing that helped my hair grow faster was not washing it daily. I found a great dry shampoo and can now wear my hair for up to five days without washing it. The last three – five days I have to wear it all pinned up, but thanks to some certain You Tube channels, I’ve been able to explore fun and creative ways to twist and braid it off my face. It takes some getting used to though. I first began to train my hair by only washing it every-other day or every-third day, and then worked it up to only washing it every five days. I have nice, long, hot showers to give my hair a good steam. I find this helps lift some of the musky product smell that eventually builds up.

I also limit the amount of heat I put on it. When I do wash it, I wash it at night and sleep with it in a braid. Then it is naturally dry and curly by morning, and often, I just touch it up with a curling iron. With less heat and washes, my hair is finally growing a little bit longer.

Flaxseed

As my hair started growing longer, I started to get pickier about its shine and body. I have naturally thin hair and dye it pretty much every six weeks, so I was always worried about it looking dull or mousey. Being the amazing boyfriend that he is, Kody was getting sick of hearing me complain about my hair and wanted to do something to help. This is what he said to me:

“Lisa, when I was in 4-H growing up, I would feed my cows some flaxseed before a show to make their coat healthy and shiny. I always won the competitions. You should get some flaxseed and put a little in your morning smoothies.”

I immediately resisted to urge to stomp my feet and tell my boyfriend to stop comparing me to his cows. But then I thought, hey, maybe he has a point. I did a little bit of reading, and found out that flaxseed is not only great for your hair, but also a great source of fiber, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, and helps to balance a person's hormones, too.

For the past month and a half, I’ve been adding a tablespoon of flaxseed to my morning smoothie. They grind up in the blender and have no taste to them. Not only have they helped my digestive system, but I recently had an appointment with my hair dresser and she said my hair is the nicest, softest, and healthiest hair she's ever seen it. I could tell she was impressed!

A lot of my friends eat chia seeds in their yogurt or smoothies. I tried that a while ago too, and while they are both chia seeds and flaxseed are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids, fibre and minerals, I personally prefer flax seed (to read about the different of chia and flaxseed, visit http://bit.ly/L0ZdL9).

I highly recommend anyone to take a small, daily dose of grinded up flaxseed. And not only for it to make your hair shine, but for the many other benefits your body will reap from this powerful little seed.

Photo retrieved from
http://www.grainscanada.gc.ca/flax-lin/flm-mfl-eng.htm

Next up on my hair-care to-do list is switching from shampoo and conditioner to baking soda and vinegar.

I’ll let you know how that goes, too!

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend,

Lisa

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

From Soil to Table: What I Learned at a Raw Foods Course

Earlier this month, I attended a course at the Grande Prairie Regional College called RAW01.

I came across this course as I was surfing the college website, looking for something new to learn. I've been feeling a little bit stuck lately, and wanted to try something new and challenge myself.

Since I've been putting in a little more effort into living a healthier life lately (mentally and physically), this course appealed to me. And to be honest, I had no idea what to expect...

It was great right from the get-go. There were all different types of people attending it, and they were all very friendly. The instructor's name was Lila Chenail and she had recently moved to Grande Prairie from the Okanagan Valley.
Lila was nice - she was a little all-over-the-map, but it was clear that she had a passion for eating raw and living a positive, healthy life. So I started to take notes.

Retrieved from www.RawFoodForlife.org

I know this sounsd silly, but I didn't even think about it while registering for RAW01 that it is a food course about cooking and eating ONLY raw foods. That means that nothing is cooked over 105F, and nothing is processed. Nothing. That seems a little extreme for my liking, but Lila swore by it. She said it changed her life. Her energy, her aches and pains...all of it went away and she feels younger than ever. Amazing.

We tried a few snacks, meals and desserts and yup, they were all delicious.

This course definitely inspired me to be more conscious about what I put in my mouth, be more creative with non-processed healthy foods, and to try and feel better by taking care of myself from the inside-out.

I know I'm not ready to eat only 100 per cent raw foods, but I think I'd like to get there someday.

Before I begin to share some recipes with you (which I will continue to do in future blog posts), here are some highlights from the class. Some of them were new to me, and some served as nice reminders:

1.      Almonds are the healthiest kind of nut for a person to eat.
2.      Quinoe is the healthiest grain.
3.      Freeze garlic and it is easier to shave and to add to foods.
4.      Try to eat 70 per cent water-based foods.
5.      Try something three times before you say you don't like it. Taste buds adjust.
6.      Drink lemon water.
7.      Never eat white sugar.
8.      Never eat aspartame.
9.      Try soaking nuts and seeds before eating them. They are harder on your system, otherwise. They will taste different after soaking, but remember, taste buds adjust!
10.  Eat the way Mother Nature intended many years ago & know where your food comes from.

One of the things we tasted during this course was a delicious Cashew Dip. Here are the ingredients - and trust me, this dip was to die for! Very easy, healthy and simple:

All natural raw Cashew Dip:
  • Soak some cashews and pine nuts over night
  •   Blend together in the morning
  • Add:
    •  Apple Cider Vinegar
    • Garlic
    • Basil
    • Pine Salt
  •  Blend again and serve cool!
Now remember, I did say that this instructor was a little all over the place, so no, she didn't give us specific amounts of how much of each ingredient we should include in this. She just said make it to taste. Try adding a little bit of each at the beginning and take it from there.

If you try to make it yourself, let me know how it works out for you.

Enjoy!

Thanks for reading,
Lisa

Friday, 19 April 2013

Favorite Thing Friday: Homemade All-Purpose Green Cleaner

A few years ago I worked for Alberta Environment, which is our province’s Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development. I learned a lot about the impact our every-day actions have on the environment. Even the smallest things matter, such as turning the water off while brushing your teeth, making sure you know what you can throw in the garbage and where, and what you can recycle or compost.

One of my favorite things that I took away from that job was learning how to make your own homemade all-purpose green cleaner. It’s a concoction of all things you can find at a grocery store. It disinfects, cleans, smells wonderful, and best of all, is toxic free.


My homemade all-purpose green cleaner

I made one for a friend of mine earlier this year and she loved it. She said it was refreshing and loves that she can feel 100 per cent safe and comfortable using it on her children’s toys and eating trays, knowing that they are not putting anything in their mouth that has chemicals layered onto it. She also said that she really appreciated the gesture and thought it was very special.

I liked that I had made something healthy that was benefiting someone and their family.

Since then, I’ve had several friends ask me to make them one, and I like to give them away as gifts. Most recently I gave one to my cousin as part of my gift to her at her baby shower, and it was a hit.

I make a couple of scents, and so far lavender seems to be the most popular. Lavender is also a nice aromatherapy.

The bottles and lables are nothing fancy (something I’d like to improve on), and since it seems to be damn near impossible to find reasonbly priced re-usuable glass spray bottles, I just mix it in a standard plastic spray bottle from the dollar store and re-use them as much as I can.

All together, I would say the ingredients cost about $35 but you can make many cleaners from that. The most expensive thing is probably the essentials oils, but they last a long time. Vinegar goes the fastest, but it’s super cheap! And Borax (for me) was the hardest to find. Check Save-On Foods or your local Co-Op.

I do caution again using this green cleaner on stainless steel. It is streaky. Otherwise, I love using in the bathroom, on the table and on countertops.

If you have the time or are interested, here is the recipe I use. I alter it only a tad, using a little more water and just a pinch of less vinegar. But if you’d prefer that I make you one, just ask! :)

Combine:
Three quarters of a cup of white vinegar
Two teaspoons Borax
Three and a half cups of hot water
20 drops of essential oil (lavender, lemon or peppermint are good) and,
Three quarters of a cup of Castile soap (a pure olive oil-based soap. I like to get the same scent as the essential oil that I am using).
Mix ingredients and store in a clean pump bottle.

You'll love it!

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Lisa

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Watch your thoughts

I believe that if you change your mind frame, you change your life.

The following is something that was read to me tonight in yoga class after savasana. I really enjoyed it. It's powerful and true.

Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habit.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny. -  Lao Tzu


Jasper 2013

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

How to get through busy days

Life can be overwhelming. And if you're anything like me, you put a lot of pressure on yourself to do it all, and as best as you can. You may think this is ok and sometimes you may even enjoy the adrenalin rush or the challenge. Or maybe you just don't know any other way of life, how to make changes, or let some things go, and still feel satisfied.

Photo retreived from
http://www.sitepoint.com/to-do-lists-for-productivity/

 Chances are you need to take some time to yourself.

Meditate
I use that word loosely. I've never taken a course on how to mediate, and I'm definitely not an expert at it, but I believe it means different things to different people. To me, mediating consists of reflecting, deep breathing, and living in the present moment.

If you have a daily agenda, schedule some time to do nothing except for breath, love your inner self and listen to what your body is telling you.

Be Grateful
Think of your favorite part of the day and at least one thing that you are looking forward to. These could be small, simple things or bigger events, but recognize that you have something to offer to this world and with that, it loves you back.

Remember that there's always tomorrow
It's hard to do, but determine what your wants and your needs are. What can wait until tomorrow? Don't be too hard on yourself. You need to be your best friend and consol the stressed-out, overwhelmed, demanding person inside of you that puts so much pressure on yourself to accomplish everything in one day.

Ask for help
Believe it or not, but you don't have to do everything by yourself. Tell your close friends and family that you've been feeling overwhelmed lately and ask for help on specific things. Chances are they want to help but don't know how - so tell them. Could you please help me prepare some frozen meals for next? Help with yard work? Laundry? Anything that they are able to do. Once they know what you need, they'll be able to better support you.

Days go by quickly and it’s important to make the best of each one we are given.

I wish you the best and thanks for reading,

Lisa

Friday, 12 April 2013

Favorite Thing Friday

Every Friday I am going to share one product from that past week that I’ve used and liked, and would recommend to others.

Some products may be new that I've recently fallen in love with, and others that I've been using for a long time and can't live without. 

I hope you like my Favorite Thing Friday series~


These are a few of my favorite things...
and on another note, who doesn't love The Sound of Music?!


ESSIE BLAC NAIL POLISH

Hand model wearing essie blanc

Yours truly wearing essie blanc
I have been an avid nail bitter almost my entire life. The habit got worse after I quit smoking about three years ago. If I was board, stressed or anxious, my nails would be literally bleeding in no time. Gross, right?

Finally, in fear of getting gangrene and having hands that look like they should be attached to a disheveled hobbit, I was able to break the habit of nail biting. Part of the reason why I stayed committed to it was because of how much fun I had decorating my fingernails with paint and matching them to my mood, season, or outfit. I had never done it before in my life! Twenty-seven years old and just learning how to paint my nails. My roommate thought I was pretty entertaining to watch.

Anyway, here I am, about two years later and still painting my nails on a regular basis. Up until last week, I was pretty committed to only buying and using O.P.I. nail polish. O.P.I offers a great selection of colours, goes on nicely, dries relatively fast and lasts for about a week on me without chipping. I’ve tried other brands, but was always disappointed.

While flipping through my monthly Cosmo magazine, I started to notice some catchy ads for a nail polish brand called essie. The ads are cute, but my first thought was nop, I’m not wasting my money and trying another brand of nail polish. O.P.I it is.

These recent Cosmo magazines were also heavily endorsing trendy, white, nail polish. It’s the new thing. Spring is here. Blah blah blah. Ok, I thought (in denial of the fact that I am almost 30 and should probably stop trying to be trendy) it looks cute. I’d like to give it a shot.

So while at Wal-Mart last week, (for something unrelated, I can’t remember exactly what. Oh, maybe it was to look for a certain Garth Brooks CD with my farmer-boyfriend – he's the one that likes Garth Brooks, not me, but apparently ‘ol Garth has a contract with Wal-Mart and that’s the only place you can purchase his music! It’s not even on iTunes…did you know that? I couldn’t believe it when I found out. I mean, even The Beatles are on iTunes now. Get with it, GB!) So anyway, I found myself browsing in the beauty section and spotted this nice white nail polish…by essie (they don’t sell O.P.I. at Wal-Mart). It was about $10 – same price as O.P.I. Fine, I thought, I’ll buy this, but if it’s the same price as O.P.I. it better be good.

And ta-da! It is! I am happy to report that essie nail polish dries crazy-fast - even faster than O.P.I - it is nice and shiny, and lasts almost a week without chipping. It’s little thick though, so it took me a couple of painted nails to get just the right proportion on my brush, but overall, I love it - hence why it is my Favorite Thing Friday of the week.

If you are ever at Wal-Mart looking for a Garth Brooks CD, I suggest stopping by the beauty section and investing in a new, trendy, essie nail polish collection.

Thanks for reading,

Lisa

Monday, 8 April 2013

How to get over it

I don't know about you, but I've made a couple of mistakes in my life.

They mainly pertain to decisions I’ve made in the past and how I’ve treated others. Some mistakes are bigger than others, but have haunted me nonetheless.

I’ve come to recognize that I have a slight problem with dwelling on the past. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to let things go, and I can be really hard on myself for some of the things I’ve said or done.

After spending literally years of rewinding my life with a heavy heart and going through various ‘as-if’s’, I want to share with you some techniques that I use to help me move forwad with my life:

Own it.
You made those decisions.
Breathe deep, lift your head high, and admit it.
Whether right or wrong, it happened. Stop making excuses and don’t blame others.

Forgive yourself.
Easier said than done, right? Take it a day at a time.
Remember that no one is perfect. Even that one person you know and admire, who may seem to have it all together, is not perfect and has made mistakes, too. Step outside of yourself and talk to yourself like you would your best friend – it’s Ok, everyone makes mistakes.

Smile.
Fake it ‘til you make it.
Listen to one of your favourite songs or watch an episode of one of your favourite TV shows. Read a magazine. Cook. Go for a walk or run. Do something that makes you happy to distract yourself for a while, and do it with a smile on your face. It will pick you up out of your rut, and you’ll feel better in no time.

Gibson, BC.
Remember that the past is the past, and you have your entire life ahead of you.

Friday, 5 April 2013

About

Hi! Thanks for stopping by. This is my first attempt at blogging, so instead of over-thinking it I've decided to just go for it. I hope you like it!

To get us started, I thought I would list 10 things about myself. This will help give you an idea of who I am and what my future blog posts might be about.

I hope they interest you, and hey, maybe we even have something in common!

1 - I was born and raised in Grande Prairie.

Grande Prairie is a small town in northern Alberta, in Canada. It offers both agriculture and oil and gas economic opportunities - it is often described as a bit of a redneck town. Here, there are a lot of guys, pickup trucks, and liquor stores (makes for good stories, right?!)

I didn't always live here though - I moved to Calgary (a bigger city in southern AB) to go to college. I lived there for about 7 years and moved back to GP just over 2 years ago.

It's been quite the whirlwind of life changes and identity crisis’ ever since - but more about that later!

2- I enjoy running & yoga

I've completed a few 10km races and am currently training for my second half marathon. I don't know if that makes me a "runner" per se, but I enjoy doing it. It keeps me feeling healthy and happy. I also enjoy a weekly yoga class and try to push myself to try new things and keep active.


One of my best friends and I at my first 10k race.

I've also recently fallen in love with yoga and am beginning teacher training in September 2013.

3 – I love New York!

I haven’t spent a lot of time there (not enough, anyway!) but I just love it. The minute I arrived I had this surge of energy and inspiration. I finally understand what all the hype is about.

New York, New York - 2010.
 4 – I try to live Green

Not with envy, but with environmental consciousness. This doesn’t mean that I am eco-crazy and walk everywhere in -40 degree weather just to save the earth from my 10 minute commute of fuel pollution, but I am aware of the impact our everyday lives have on this planet. I put in the effort to use reusable bags, take my clothes to Goodwill stores, shop at them when I can etc. I also love making my own home green-cleaning and beauty products.

 5 – I am aware of the food that I put in my body and the impact that it can have on my health.

Does that mean I only eat kale and sprouts from my local farmers market? No. In fact, I love McDonalds (can I get a two cheeseburger meal please?), Dairy Queen (have you tried their DQ Blizzard Cupcakes? To die for!), and SmartFood White Chedder popcorn (drool). Hence why I have to put in the extra effort to finding new, yummy, simple healthy foods that are realistic for my lifestyle and my budget. And you know what? After my next half marathon, I’m might just treat myself to a two cheeseburger meal.
Don’t judge me, I’m just being honest.

6 – I love to love 

Friends, family, co-workers, animals - I love to love them. I can't help it. There is something so beautiful and timeless about having great people in your life to share it with. It makes life worth living.

7- I am a new home owner.

Yay! I feel so proud and grown up. I bought my very first home about four months ago and since then, I have been seriously addicted to Pinterest, searching for home decorating ideas, and shopping on Esty, making my ideas come to life. I’ll tell you more about some of my home projects later!
                 My first home.
8 – I consider myself a feminist.

I find that a lot of people (both men and women) are embarrassed to use that word. I’m trying to embrace it. I believe in empowering women no matter what path they choose to take in life, and am very proud of how far we’ve came in the equal rights movement.

9 – I am a Public Relations professional.

Remember when I said that I moved to Calgary to go to college? I graduate with an Applied Bachelors Degree in Communications, with a major in Public Relations and a minor in French, from Mount Royal University. Being the feminist that I am, I am proud of putting myself through school and having a career. My mamma always told me to make sure I am financially independent before settling down with a man. You can’t count on someone else to take care of you!

10 – I’m both nervous and excited about blogging.

I’m counting on your feedback and reviews to help make this better for everyone.

Wish me luck and thanks for reading!


You can also find me here:
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/LisaJPeters
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/lisajpeters/