Thinking Out Loud Thursday #107 + GoodLife City Chase.

It kind of feels like I haven’t done a Thinking Out Loud Thursday post in a while so this one might be all over the place! I’m linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons for this week’s Thinking Out Loud Thursday!

  • I had the weirdest dream last night. I was a surrogate mother for Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively’s baby. I think it was because I was reading an article before bed about Blake Lively’s workout routine to get back in shape after her baby. Dreams are so weird. Though it’s not the first time I’ve dreamt about being in their lives. I used to have reoccurring dreams that I was their nanny for little baby James. SO WEIRD.

  • I’m going to see Cinderella, the broadway musical, tomorrow evening with a group of lovely girls! I’m super excited! I adored watching the movie Cinderella growing up so I feel like it will be a blast from the past. Can I dress up in a ball gown to go?

  • I think it has snowed more days in April than it did in December and January combined. Oh man, I’ve had some of the wettest walks to work over the last two weeks. I’m really trying to stay positive about the weather because I truly love earning all of my seasons, but I am SO ready to not dress for snowy weather every day. It’s not even very cold, but that damn snow keeps coming.

  • I bought this Limoncello candle from Bath and Body Works on the weekend to replace my (finally) burned gingerbread and very cinnamon smelling Christmas candles. It smells so fresh and clean as it burns, very spring cleaning-ish!

  • At hot yoga on Tuesday night – yes, I went AGAIN – the instructor had such a chill fun playlist. There was lots of 70s and 80s music and it definitely added to the class. I was thinking less about how much I was sweating and how much my triceps and shoulders hurt from a previous workout! Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys was my favourite of the playlist. It reminded me of the solid chunk of my childhood that I played my parents’ Beach Boys CDs over and over… I loved them! Haha!

  • I’m loving halloumi cheese right now. Halloumi (or halloom) is a Turkish cheese that is popular in Greece and countries along the Mediterranean. It has a high melting point so it can be grilled. It is so good in sandwiches, by itself, and as part of grilled kabobs! I just love cheese.

  • Finally, last but certainly not least, I have a super fun event for you to check out! The GoodLife City Chase! As my readers are from all over, I really encourage you to check where the nearest event to you is, but for you Edmontonians – ours is June 10th! City Chase is “Canada’s largest urban adventure” and challenges teams of two to race around the city, finding ChasePoints and completing challenges. It sounds super fun and I know one of the teams that went to the National Finals last year and had a BLAST! City Chase is designed to test your mind and your body, so be ready to work! Don’t be intimidated by the physical component – the Chase is for everyone, just be sure to pick the right teammate to spend the day with. If you’ve seen any of these types of competitions on TV you know that you’ll either love your teammate or hate them by the end. You can see exactly what City Chase is like by watching this video!

Now that you’re ready to sign up, you can get $20 off your City Chase (Edmonton) registration fee by using the code CANADIANGIRLRUNS20. Head HERE to sign up!

Tell me this – what is your favourite spring scent?

What food are you loving lately?

What band/singer were you randomly obsessed with growing up?

Easter Weekend Recap + Brownie Recipe!

Hello! I am slowly but surely coming out of a sugar coma from this Easter weekend. I didn’t really go nuts on the Easter candy or chocolate, but a few treats slid onto my plate here and there and desserts on Easter Sunday were too pretty and delicious to ignore, so here we are… ready to tackle this short week and fill it with kale smoothies and quinoa salad. I had a wonderfully relaxing Easter weekend. It felt almost like it moved in slow motion, which I was okay with because I also felt like I was moving in slow motion. I was okay with 11am gym sessions and lazy afternoons and time spent being with friends and family.

Instead of breaking things down day by day, which is how I sometimes do my weekend recaps, I thought I would share some wonderful moments, in no particular order, from my long weekend. I was super duper lucky in having both Good Friday and Easter Monday off of work, so I have four days worth of snow storms, shopping, food, and people to share.

I mentioned last weekend that I’ve been really craving that cozy, fresh feeling for my life and my apartment. I spent some time at IKEA this weekend purchasing furniture and accessories for my patio. I will have to hold off on setting it up because… snow… but I found the most adorable lights, lanterns, candles, and patio tables and chairs to extend my living space a few more feet onto my patio this spring and summer.

A snow storm derailed my plans to attend a friend’s birthday party about an hour and a half outside of town, so I stayed in and visited my brother for a bit. He has final exams coming up so I didn’t want to interrupt his study day too much, but when he said he was making BBQ’d flatbread pizza for a late lunch, I figured I could stick around a while longer. I can’t even describe how amazing it was. And yes, he BBQ’d while it was snowing.

I went to the gym with my friend (part of the weekend gym girl tribe) and we did legs and shoulders. I push myself so much more with other people, particularly badass strong women, and I was finally able to do my sets (3 sets of 10) of Romanian deadlifts with 135lbs! There is something so satisfying about loading those 45lb plates on the bar. I did assisted chin-ups (with a band) and felt super empowered, so it’s going to be fun to work on reducing the tension in my band until I can finally do a chin-up unassisted. I know it sounds lame, but they are SO hard! We finished  our workout with battle ropes, so my shoulders are immobile today.

Our amazing “extended family” invited my brother and I for Easter dinner as my parents were away for the weekend. Most people don’t believe it when I say that my parents’ neighbourhood is just the biggest group of friends that has turned into extended family. It is the most rare and remarkable thing, but truly wonderful. We had a ham and perogie dinner, with side dishes of sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, quinoa salad, paska (Ukrainian Easter bread), and more. As an example of how incredible these people are – they even cooked a portion of the perogies without bacon so that there would be vegetarian ones for me! Ahh! My brother and I were in charge of desserts, he made carrot cake while I made brownies.

I hopped on Pinterest to find some cute ideas for Easter themed desserts, and found adorable carrot patch brownies. I used my mom’s best recipe for chewy soft delicious brownies, added a whipped chocolate frosting, chopped chocolate Oreos, and then the “carrots.” For carrots, I melted white chocolate chips, added orange food colouring, and dipped the strawberries in. I let them set for a few hours before added them to the brownies. The brownie recipe is one of those ones that is written on a recipe card, sitting on my mom’s cookbook shelf, and is used ANY time we need a solid go-to no-fail brownie recipe. You could really top them with any icing – a nice ganache, chocolate, buttercream, cream cheese, you name it! You could also add walnuts or chocolate chips as a final optional step!

What a lovely weekend to spend with friends and family. In additions to the moments mentioned above, I had a lunch date with a colleague-turned-friend at a new place called Blaze Pizza that opened up near me, I browsed Bath & Body Works for what seemed like hours because how on Earth do you decide which scents you will purchase, I went for a few (indoor) runs, and I most definitely made sure that the Easter Bunny left something for my parents when they returned from their trip.

I love that a lot of my friends have little kiddies and seeing their Easter joy on Instagram was adorable! I hope the Easter Bunny found you too and unlike me, you handled your sugar intake a lot better.

How was your Easter weekend? What was your favourite moment?

What was the best Easter tradition you had as a child?

Have you tried any new-to-you restaurants or cafes or food spots lately?

I didn’t realize what I was missing.

I’ve been watching too many YouTube videos lately because now I’m starting to write “clickbait” and very uninformative titles for my blog posts. I apologize. I didn’t really know what else to call it – a soul chat, thinking out loud, work updates, recent motivation. All are applicable, so of course I’m linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons for Thinking Out Loud Thursday #106.

A bit of context would be handy. I started my current job fresh out of graduate school in September. I joined a great team of people in a health policy capacity here in Edmonton and I’ve been kind of finding my way for the last 8 months. I’ve gone from days of coming home wanting to cry and searching job postings elsewhere to days where I feel like I’m in exactly the right place I need to be and feeling inspired and elated to be able to work in the position I do. About two months ago we had a reorganization and I was moved to a new team. It’s been a little unguided from higher up and we’ve been left to figure out our mandate, direction, and workload. I am pretty good at dealing with change, because in my mind, it’s an opportunity and there is a reason it was meant to happen. THIS IS ONE OF THOSE INSTANCES.

Jo (Living Mint Green) has always told me… and the world… to ask for what you want. Tell yourself, the Universe, and those who will listen, what you want and how you can be supported to get there. ‘Ask and ye shall receive’ sort of deal. I received that very same message in what I can only describe as one of the best meetings I’ve ever had with a supervisor in my entire life. My job shift to be in a new area meant I would be working under a new supervisor. I honestly didn’t realize what I was missing until I had a one-on-one meeting yesterday with my new supervisor.

It was one the most raw, motivating, soul-searching meetings I’ve had in a while, and it felt great. I texted my dad after and he said, “Are you being sarcastic or was it actually that good?” I had to laugh because a few months ago it probably WOULD have been sarcastic, but it was ACTUALLY that good. I didn’t know I was missing this professional supportive figure. Someone who was on my team, but would be there to challenge me. I thrive on bettering myself, finding a goal and crushing it, and outlining where I want to go and how I’m going to get there. My supervisor tapped into that by just asking me questions that were simple, yet deep. They were easy to answer, just sometimes the articulation needed to be dug up from my heart and soul where I’d started to keep some of my hopes and dreams buried.

I came from a place of feeling a bit disempowered and lost to a place of better clarity. I was pushed to be honest and answer what I truly felt my life would look like as I grew my career, became the person I wanted to become, and let dreams unfold that I might currently be doubtful about. Ask and ye shall receive… or something. He made a point of saying that if I’m not open and real about what I want to do and where I want to go, he can’t help me get there. We talked about lots of different options and how where I am now can be shaped as an opportunity to get me where I want to go. He said he had just come from lunch with a friend who is a heart surgeon. The heart surgeon said that when he thought about going into heart surgery, he was terrified of the 12 years it takes to get there. Now, more than that time later, he says he’s realized that 12 years was going to go by no matter what, so why not use that time to follow your dreams and do something you are passionate about.

Isn’t it crazy how one voice can enter your life at just the right time and provide exactly what you need. I guess it’s true… ask and ye shall receive. I didn’t really know how much I was missing that guidance until it found me. I guess one of the major thoughts that I left that meeting with was to reflect on what I want for my life, and let it happen. It takes obvious hard work, commitment, and passion, but it also takes things that are external to you and for those things to align, you have to ask for them. Support, guidance, opportunity… those can’t be done by yourself.

Thanks for listening, uh reading… I hope you are having an amazing week and you have a even better weekend. Happy Easter! I’ll catch up with you next week after my lovely 4-day weekend!

What are you doing for Easter?

Do you have any Easter traditions?

Have you had an aha moment recently? Tell me about it!