Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Healthy, cleaner snack ideas

Hi all,

As you may have seen in a previous post, I’ve been trying really hard to make an effort to be healthier and work on tracking. What has helped me do this is by not only pre-planning way ahead of time what I will be eating but also ensuring that I always have fresh and healthy foods stocked in my kitchen.

I find the meal part really easy as I looove cooking but tend to struggle to find healthier, clean snacks. Since I’m learning I figured I’d share what I’ve learned with you all. Here are a few clean snacks that I really enjoy:

  • Plain Greek Yogurt - Add fresh fruit or frozen fruit. I really like adding fresh pineapple or strawberries or frozen blueberries or raspberries. I find the blueberries add a nice little crunch. If you find it still tastes too plain you can add a bit of honey.

    TIP: I always substitute greek yogurt when it calls for sour cream in pretty much every recipe. Tastes the exact same! 
  • Fresh air-popped popcorn- From a popcorn maker! None of that bagged stuff.. they put so much crap in it! It’s unreal to see how little calories are in such a large amount when you pop it with air and no oil or butter. 
  • Cottage Cheese- I prefer it plain but you can add cut up fruit, seeds, nuts, honey or just eat it along side veggies.
  • Raw Almonds, Hazelnuts, Pecans, Walnuts, etc. - Not a large amount as they are high in fat. But the good kind that you need! A small handful is all you need. One at a time peeps.. savour it! PLUS nuts have many, many health benefits.
  • Roasted Chickpeas- Though I have not perfected making these.. I still really like them! There are many recipes online or on pinterest.. if you find a good one let me know! haha
  • Hummus- Ideally served with a side of veggies(peppers are good scoopers)!! Though whole grain pita won’t kill you ;) Hummus is also INSANELY easy to make and goes a long way. 
  • Guacamole- Quick and easy! Mash an Avocado, cut up some tomato and onion.. mix and you’re set! Oh yeah.. don’t forget to add lime or lemon to keep it tasting fresh. 
  • Dark Chocolate- A little bit of dark chocolate on a regular basis can actually be good for you!
  • Pre-cut fruits or veggies- These are probably the cleanest you can go. Cut up cantaloupe is one of my favourites but its always good to have a variety available. 


Some other ideas that I haven’t yet tried or maybe not that high on my “like” list would be hard boiled eggs, Steel-cut oatmeal and dried fruit.

Hope I gave you some inspiration!

Steph

Monday, April 27, 2015

Motivation Monday! Fail? 1. Get back up 2. Start over!


I'm feeling so fresh and renewed today! Positivity is in the air and I feel like spreading it around! I'm so happy to be feeling like myself again.

I have to admit I had been feeling pretty down and unhappy. I've been letting stupid, little things get to me instead of focusing on the things I love or that make me happy. In a way I had somewhat lost who I was and couldn't shake the negative feeling. I never thought I'd let myself go through that again.. but I did. It's so easy to take consistent backward steps thinking you'll catch yourself but then it becomes an uncontrollable downward spiral.

I don't like that feeling..

Sometimes you need to start with smaller changes to get back into feeling like yourself again or to get back into your routine. For me I started by letting things go. It's something I have been encouraging myself to do a lot more of lately.

"Don't sweat the small stuff .. it's just not worth it!" or "Does this really matter?" or "Is this really work being mad over?"

When you stress over things that just don't matter and you don't let it go it will just EAT at you. It will constantly be in the back of your mind and it will affect the people you are around.

Next I started incorporating goals into my day/week and found myself succeeding! I was pushing myself to get through it and then feeling incredibly encouraged once I had. Which led me to this 30 day tracking challenge (which is going well!) I had/have so much willpower built up there is NO chance I was/am going to let myself down on this one. I've been doing incredibly well and I've not only been eating better, sticking exactly to my MFP calories but also successfully planning out my entire day ahead. I'm reconsidering snack choices, buying healthier foods and noticing when I am making better choices. I even go to the grocery store without going down ANY aisles! Snacking has been my downfall or having it in the house isn't an option.

I've also been following old steps in the past that I found helped me succeed (measuring out food, having veggies cut up, selecting smarter options, planning smart when I want to have a treat.) When you plan you succeed.. when you fail to plan you do just that, fail.

If you want to be successful you need to put in all the work! Things won't fall into your lap.

Keep it up! Thanks for reading :)

Steph




Saturday, April 25, 2015

Man-Pleasing Chicken Recipe



Hey all,

I HAVE to share this recipe. I made this for Pete and I a while ago and I was amazed at how delicious this tasted. It was quick, easy and packed a lot of flavour! I've tried this a few times, shared it, loved it, been thanked for sharing it.. so here I am! :)

I pinned this recipe a few years ago and left it sitting in my recipe board. On Saturday I went through my pins to find something new to try as I realized the only meat I had in my freezer was chicken breast. Although I altered this recipe by using the chicken breasts I have since tried it again and used thighs and it is just as good!

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:
1/2 cup dijon mustard or dijon honey mustard
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar (though I have used red wine vinegar and it still tasted good)
6 chicken thighs - 1-1.5 pounds (or equivilant weight in breasts)
salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line a oven proof baking dish with foil (helps keep the sticky mess away from the dish!)
2. Mix Dijon mustard, maple syrup and wine vinegar together in a bowl.
3. Place chicken thighs in oven proof dish salt and pepper chicken.
4. Pour mustard, maple, vinegar mix over the the thighs.
5 Put in oven and bake for 40 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees. I re-basted the chicken every 15-20 mins.
6 Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving.
7 Plate the chicken making sure to spoon some sauce over the top. Sprinkle with fresh rosemary and enjoy!






You can find the full recipe here at Witty in the City.

Hope you enjoy and if you try please share your thoughts!

Steph

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Review: TexasLiner Liquid Eye Liner by Cargo

Today I would like to review a product I received in my Holiday Glossy Box. This box was filled with some amazing goodies and it seriously makes me miss being a subscriber! I wanted to start off with my absolute favourite product from the box... the TexasLiner Eye Liner by Cargo.


You may or may not have picked up on the fact that I really dislike liquid eyeliner. I can confidently say that my opinion has been changed and I have found a new product to love! I have never in my life been able to put on a liquid eyeliner so quickly and efficiently. This stuff goes on very smooth and lasts for quite some time. I was initially disappointed with the longevity of the liner but the second time I added another coat and it lasted all day. I don't like wearing thick eyeliner and try to keep it more subtle so my pictures may not do this product justice. It takes seconds to apply and really finishes your look. I'd like to add that the TexasLiner is water based and also paraben-free.

Some pictures:

 
Looking down 
With Mascara
A big feature of this product is that it is a "chubby" felt tip eyeliner which benefits your ability to create a very easy "cat eye" look with a simple swipe and is also very steady to hold in the hand.

I will DEFINITELY be buying this product again and can guarantee this will be staying in my makeup bag.

Thanks for reading!

Steph

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Lathered Up - All Natural Soaps

Hey all,

I hope you all are having a wonderful weekend so far! I'm very excited to review the product we are today not only because it's made by a friend but also because I've been using these soaps for quite awhile and I ABSOLUTELY love them. 



A few weeks ago I was asked to review Lathered Up Soaps by Stephanie and I immediately took her up on her offer. I've tried many different kinds now and I have to admit I always have them in my bathroom. 

A few key features of Lathered Up's all natural soaps:
  • Do not contain Palm Oil
  • Vegan friendly
  • Hand crafted
  • Locally made
I was very excited when she asked us to review her soaps and below are our thoughts on the products we were given to review:

Oatmeal Soother

Steph: This product is definitely one of my favourites. I tend to have dry and somewhat itchy hands in the fall/winter months and washing with this soap has really helped me because I find it very soothing and also exfoliating. I used this as a hand soap for awhile before actually deciding to try it in the shower and I am SO glad I did.  Rubbing the soap directly on my skin felt great and better than any luffa or exfoliating sponge I have ever tried. It was exfoliating but not irritating and made my skin feel incredibly soft. I would definitely use this product again and again! Truly wonderful.

Jenn: I enjoyed trying out this bar of soap, the smell is subtle but nice and soothing, definitely not over powering. I love the exfoliation it provides, especially on my legs. I typically like something with a much stronger fragrance so for me I will lean towards a more scented soap. I love the generous sized bar and presentation of the product. Totally recommend this soap to anyone who needs that extra exfoliation without the strong perfumes some soaps have.


Mango Butter and Soft Clay

Jenn: I have tried so many facial cleansers, it's kinda ridiculous! So trying this one was definitely a must. I used this soap for the first time and was not careful keeping it away from my eyes, as a result my eyes were so red and burny. Therefore this product is not something you want to use to remove eye makeup with. Maybe it's just me but I typically use my face wash to also remove my eye makeup. I do like the natural scent this facial soap has and I did not find it irritating to my sensitive acne prone skin. It was effective in removing heavy facial makeup, and was moisturizing at the same time.

Steph: I don't tend to try many cleansers as I've finally found one that works well for my skin. I did find this one did not irritate my skin whatsoever (which I've had issues with in the past when I've tried others). It did make my skin feel VERY soft and I loved the way that it lathered right up. The smell of this one is very natural and pleasant. Would recommend for someone looking to try something new!

Lavender 

Jenn: I will be purchasing this one when I place my order, I need this soap in my rotation. The smell is beautiful and soft, and the bar of soap produces a nice luxurious lather. It makes my skin feel so squeaky clean without feeling dry. I tend to have very dry underarm areas that have patches, since using this soap my underarms have definitely improved. I also really like that the smell of this soap sticks to your skin, so even after rinsing I can still smell that beautiful hint of lavender after the bath. I love love love this one!

Steph: This one is by far my favourite! I've used about 3-4 bars of this soap since the start of the year and I have to admit it's always in one of my two bathrooms. It smells absolutely amazing and really gives you a clean feel. In the winter when I had extremely dry and scaly skin on just one of my hands (weird right?) it improved the dryness drastically! I couldn't believe the difference. I will definitely be keeping this in my regular rotation.

After using this soap for well over a year I really can't say one bad thing about any of them! Who doesn't like an all natural soap that still sells incredible? My newest favourite is the Lavendar Lemon Grass as it makes my bathroom smell absolutely amazing at ALL times! When I was my hands with it I seriously close my eyes and enjoy the moment! This is one my new staple soap!

Thanks so much for reading! Stay tuned for a giveaway we will be posting later in the week!

Steph


Thursday, April 16, 2015

I'm back!

I'm baaaaaack!

Just imagine me singing that because right now I feel so good I could sing every sentence I speak! I am officially done the winter semester of school and completed my two exams earlier this week. The air has never felt fresher!

Can you tell how happy I am? :P

It was stressful.. starting a new job and going deep in two classes part time for school. That's over now and I am back to posting happy thoughts, positive stories and trying to inspire others! I also have some amazing reviews to share with you and other things to pass on.

Anyways, one thing that happened to me over the past few months is that I've been feeling pretty crappy about myself and my image. I gained back a ton of weight and was only 15 lbs away from my heaviest (ever). I hated the way my body looked and I knew I needed a drastic change because I wasn't going to stand for my negative attitude or my horrible habits anymore.

I decided to start a new type of 30 day challenge. I knew the only thing that would get me back on track was to start tracking again and to actually stick to it but I needed to find a way. I've done it where I've been motivated for two days and then the third is back to crappy eating, not tracking and not making healthy choices whatsoever. I've also set the goal of tracking everything before I eat it but once I missed it 1-2 times the motivation disappeared.

I decided to set a goal to track within 1 hour of eating. That allows me to either pre-track, track while eating or track post meal if I'm in a situation where it's rude to bust your phone out. It's actually working! I feel motivated, I'm spacing out my calories better and making smarter decisions on what to eat and *gasp* I'm actually eating fruits and vegetables again! I'm feeling back to my regular self and within the past week of getting my arse back on track I've lost 10 lbs! The one catch of my challenge is that if I miss tracking by more than an hour I have to start back at day 1. This has kept me on my toes!

Today is day 6 and I'm ready to rumble baby! Facing my challenges head on :).

What is challenging you? Start a challenge and test yourself!

Hope you have an amazing Thursday!

Steph

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