Tuesday, June 30, 2015

30-Day Green Smoothie Challenge Complete!

Yippee! I did it: I've finished my first 30-day health challenge! The thing that strikes me now is how quickly it went by. I remember thinking 30 days ago that this was going to be a hard and long challenge, but now looking back; I realize it really wasn't all that bad.

What have I learned about myself and my health after doing this challenge?

I'm reminded that I'm capable of anything and that reminds me of a little piece of wisdom I was once given: "I truly believe you can accomplish anything when you make your mind up and set your sights on it." As said to me by a very wise teacher once upon a time. 

It's very true sentiment and l think I've forgotten this fundamental truth of my personality lately so it's very nice to be reminded. I know everyone has innate skills and abilities as well as limitations, however I believe the above statement can be true of all of us. 

What's that one thing that you can't stop thinking about in your quiet moments but that you've put on the back burner because 'life' has gotten in the way? Maybe it's time to revisit it and dust off those old dreams and ideas...I think so!

I've also realized that my quest for overall health and wellbeing is a lifelong commitment that will come about from the small and consistent planning and execution. I won't be perfect every single day but that's ok cause I'm not perfect, I'm human after all. 

This green smoothie and juice trend is something I think I'll be continuing with in my everyday life. I didn't set out on this journey in order to 'detox' or just do it for 30 days and then go back to unhealthy habits. No, the point of this health challenge was to test if the green smoothie thing was a feasible and useful health trend that I could add to my healthy living repertoire. 

The first 2 weeks were the hardest but once I was over that 2-3 week hump it was smooth sailing and I now feel like this has become an engrained and automatic part of my routine. I barely have to plan too much in advance anymore and I feel like I've worked out all the kinks in making them a regular park of my schedule. So yeah, I think this will definitely be something that I'll contine with, especially now that I've figured out some favourite recipes that I can continue to tweak and play with. 

I think the best thing that I can get out of completing this challenge is that I'm capable of so much more than I ever thought possible and it did really help to have the accountability of this blog and a social media community.

What's up next for my July 30-day challenge you may ask? Stay tuned and I'll be announcing that tomorrow: it's gonna be a big one! This is just the beginning of what will be many 30-day health challenges that'll help me create many lifelong healthy habits that I've struggled with for a longtime. I believe I've finally found a formula that works for me and I hope it can help you as well. 

Until next time as always here's to your uncommonly wealthy life! :)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Throwback Thursday #tbt - Amsterdam

As the title suggests I'm starting a new series about my uncommon adventures in which I do a throwback on Thursdays, as is the tradition on social media, to my October 2014 European adventure. My first stop in Europe was technically London, but I spent so little time there at the beginning of the trip and I circle back around and cap it off in London that I'll talk about it later. Therefore, for my first installment of #TBT on the blog I'll be talking about Amsterdam.

What is a trip to Holland without the customary windmill pic? I started off my Amsterdam visit with a tour of the countryside. I visited a stereotypical Dutch village, rode around on a bike, visited a dyke, met a cow, watched some cheese and clog making and then indulged in a Gouda cheese tasting. What a wonderful start to the trip! :)

Next up was the wondering around the city during the day and checking out all the city's highlights. This included taking a tram ride through the city, pictures with the 'I Amsterdam' sign and walking past many important landmarks. I spent most of the day checking out the Rijksmuseum, which was awesome and totally worth it. I walked past other tourist trap-type places, but I didn't waste time standing in the long lines, including Anne Frank's House and the Van Gogh museum. What I really enjoyed was wondering around the city and checking out the Flower Market.

Amsterdam was very cute and normal seeming during the daytime however the city transforms at night into something totally different. The evening was spent wondering around the city once again and checking out the red light district and spending time in a cafe pursuing the past-time that makes Amsterdam so famous.

What struck me so about Amsterdam is how wholly it transforms once night falls. My suspicion is that the majority of people who live and work in the city are not the ones that I witnessed roaming the streets of Amsterdam after dark. I have no problem with the legalities involved in making Amsterdam famous in several respects but what did disturb me is the circus-like atmosphere of the whole thing. I found it so strange that someone's chosen profession has become such a tourist attraction and a spectacle the world over, simply because it's different. 

Overall I felt like Amsterdam is one of those cities that does need to be experienced at least once in one's life however now that I've been there and done that and gotten the t-shirt I'm feeling over it. If I am to return to Holland it would be to see more of the countryside and to explore other Dutch cities, such as Rotterdam.

The start of my European Trip 2014 was definitely an uncommon adventure into the heart of Amsterdam. Have you ever been to Amsterdam, what were your thoughts on the city? Stay tuned for more stories of adventure and intrigue next Thursday. Until then here's to your uncommonly wealthy life! :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

My Top 10 Tips for Saving Money & Getting Out of Debt

I wrote a previous post about the kind of life that I'd like to design for myself starting now in my early 30's. At the end of that post I made some declarations of things that I need to start doing and continue to do in order to achieve this, my uncommonly wealthy life. Today I'm here to talk about the financial side of this dream. Today I'm talking about the wealth in uncommon wealth. 

I know that usually when I talk about uncommon wealth on this blog it's not really in reference to money and finances, but I'm not naive to the notion that money is a requirement of modern life. However, I do not believe that one's wealth is solely based on the amount of money in one's bank account. I think that true uncommon wealth comes from a self-approved and designed life full of rich experiences, relationships and joy.

Now I do realize it takes money to achieve many of these things and in the past I've made the mistake of trying to live a full life beyond my means and this has left me with considerable debt. I don't think debt is something that is a necessary evil of everyday life, I think that with forethought, planning and discipline, anyone can live the life they want within their means. And that is what I plan on doing going forward.

Today I plan on sharing my strategies for how I'm going to get to a better financial place. What this better place looks like to me is my debt totally paid off, savings in the form of an emergency fund and a growing retirement savings plan and saving money for the things I want to do instead of going into debt to do it.

10 Tips for Saving Money & Getting Out of Debt:
  1. Use Alternate forms of Transportation: If you can get way with it use transit. I'm fortunate to live in a city in which public transit is readily available and accessible. I pay a monthly fee for my transit pass, which is tax-deductible, and I don't have to worry about car payments, insurance, gas and maintenance. I've also signed up for a car-sharing service: Car2Go for those times when you just need a car. There's others: Zipcar, AutoShare and there's always a taxi or a company like Uber. There's many options for getting around that don't involve car ownership, and they're much more environmentally-friendly too.
  2. Make use of the library: Get a library card, it's free! With your card you can take out books, movies, music and download eBooks for free; as well as use the computer, internet and printing services if needed (sometimes for a small fee). 
  3. Make your own meals, coffee and snacks: I saved a lot of money when I switched from eating out and doing take out on the regular to buying groceries and making my own meals instead. It's budget friendly and healthy to make your own meals, snacks and drinks and bring them along to work, travel and even entertainment. The freezer is also your best friend because almost everything can be frozen and saved for later consumption, instead of wasted.
  4. Make cleaning supplies using cheap household items: Baking soda, white vinegar and lemons is all you really need to clean your entire house for cheap and bonus you're also being environmentally friendly.
  5. Have at-home spa days: I love a good pampering just as much as the next person but it doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg to get it. I've become a bit of a master lately at doing my own masks, facials and nails so I don't have to pay through the nose for someone else to do it. Best of all, it can all be done while binge-watching your latest TV obsession ('Orange is the New Black' season 3, anyone?)
  6. Find the free and cheap events and entertainment options where you live: There's usually all sorts of wonderful free or cheap but totally fun events going on if you just do a little digging. Movies in park, drive-in movies, movie cheap nights, concerts in the park, outdoor theatre, fringe festivals, street and art festivals, cheap nights at the museum/art gallery, 'prix fixe' events at restaurants, wine/food tastings/sampling, etc. So much to be found and so much to do: time to be a tourist in your own city! Also checkout cost saving apps/websites: Scene Points for Cineplex, Groupon, Living Social, etc. 
  7. Use of coupons, money-back apps and points programs: Using these are all great ways to save money on the everyday essentials if used correctly. You shouldn't just buy something just for the sake of buying it because you have a coupon or money-back offer, trust me I've gotten sucked into that trap before and it's a waste of money. Some points and loyalty programs are a waste of time, effort and money also if they reap little in the way of benefits or if you have to save up the points forever before you see any kind of benefit so choose wisely. Ones I like: PC Plus program, Checkout 51 and Flipp.
  8. Purge, sell and then only buy what I need and when I need it: I know that every girl has been susceptible to this at one point in their lives when it comes to buying beauty products, clothing, jewelry, bags and shoes. I've done it too: bought something because I thought it was cute, or thought I needed multiple colours, or I'd use it one day. Nope, you all know that you end up using and wearing the same favourite things over and over again so why do we do it to ourselves: keep buying crap that we don't actually need? Well no longer: I'm going to purge my stuff and then sell what I can, donate or throw out the rest and start from there. I'm going to wear and use things up and only buy more when & if they need to be replaced.
  9. Cancel subscriptions & memberships that I don't use: I cancelled my cable and I do not have a home phone. I put money into a good internet plan, cellphone plan and watch only Netflix. I don't use the Next Issue subscription I have so it needs to be cancelled and I need to cancel subscription boxes I'm currently paying into that send me stuff automatically every month; stuff I don't need. 
  10. Tell other people about my goals and get help and advice: By being honest with people about your financial predicament leads to some unexpected gains. I think sometimes as a society we are embarrassed to talk about money woes but when you start opening up about it you realize that everyone can relate and there's a lot of great advice and support that can be gained. Bonus: many of your friends and family will be in your corner about coming up with inexpensive ways to spend time together.
My next steps will include doing the necessary research to go from financially ignorant to financially savvy, setting up automatic withdrawals from my bank account into a high-interest savings account on pay days, consolidating my high-interest consumer debt and creating a realistic budget and sticking to it. Stay tuned for updates on my journey to financial freedom. 

What are some other ways that have helped you save money? Anything I'm missing, let me know because I'm always looking for ways to improve and add to this list. As always here's to your uncommonly wealthy life! :)

Some other resources to check out that have helped me:
Squawk Fox - Sexy Consumer Advice
Daily Worth - Financial Advice for Women
'Money Rules' by Gail Vaz-Oxlade

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Green Smoothie Challenge - Week 3 Complete

Wow I can't believe I've already made it through 3 full weeks of this health challenge. I'm in the home stretch and things feel like they'll run smoothly from here on out, yippee!

It's that time of week again where it's time to share with you what I've learned so far at this point in the challenge, so here it is.

The third week has been by far the easiest one:

The first week was easy; and of course it was easy, I always find that the beginning of a new habit is the easiest because I have all this excitement and enthusiasm. Then as it gets hard and life and I get in the way, usually around the week 2 point, it then gets hard. I think the true test of whether I can really make the change and stick with it is if I can get through that second week hump. Once I complete that second week and I prove to myself that I am able to overcome any of the issues that came up then the third week feels like such a breeze. And that is exactly what has happened!

I feel like I've finally ironed out all the kinks in this health challenge:

Any issues I've had with planning, shopping and recipes I believe I've finally figured out at this point. I didn't have anymore gross smoothies this week and I think I've cracked the code on the best combinations for delicious green smoothies. When it comes to planning and shopping I've realized that it's easiest to buy frozen fruit and greens in bulk but only what I plan on using for the week. I had enough wasted and spoiled fresh fruit and veg that I didn't want that happened anymore so I decided to buy frozen fruit mixes and freeze bananas once they were ripe.

I realized I don't have to make all my green smoothies myself:

Another realization that was very helpful for me this week was that I don't always have to make the smoothies myself. When times are busy and it's impossible to make myself then there are a lot of great options for delicious and nutritious green smoothies. This is a great way to do it when traveling, for an example. I still haven't haven't figured out how to prepare the smoothies ahead of time without having them separate and get gross. It would be preferable for the early mornings to have them all ready-made; maybe something I'll have to try out during week 4?

I feel so much better each day that I have a green smoothie (or juice):

I know I've talked about this before but it must be reiterated how much better I feel while doing the green smoothie thing vs. not. I can now definitely understand what all the fuss is about when it comes to the green smoothie/juice craze. I'm thinking this may have to become a normal part of my healthy routine even as the 30-day challenge comes to an end. I guess we'll see how I feel at the end of week 4.

For now here is another delicious Green Smoothie recipe that has quickly become my favourite:

1 cup baby spinach or kale
1 tsp each of flaxseeds and ground chia seeds
1 tbsp of veggie-based protein powder (I use a brown rice one)
1/2 cup orange juice (not from concentrate) cut with 1/2 cup water
1/2 banana (frozen or fresh)
1/2 cup frozen tropical fruit mix (I prefer a pineapple, mango, peach & strawberry mix)

Blend the greens with the seeds, powders and liquids until well smooth. Add banana and fruit, blend again until desired consistency is achieved. Now it's time to...you guessed it: drink and be healthy!

Enjoy and here's to your uncommonly wealthy life always! :)

Friday, June 19, 2015

What I'm Thinking about Today - The Past

After reading an article in the New York Times the other day about the small happy life and spending some time reminiscing with a friend, I find myself thinking about the difference between my mindset in my 20s versus now.

As I come close to the completion of my first year as a 30 year old I find my mindset has shifted a great deal as compared to that of my 20-something self. 

When I think back to some of the foolish childhood capers and misadventures I participated in it makes me chuckle and shake my head.

I smile to myself thinking about it now but I was once a bit of a rebel. I used to skirt authority just for the hell of it and many times this just ended up hurting me. 

Another memory that has caused me to smile to myself was the thought of the 'fun zone'. When I was younger I was witness to one after another of my friends and family members succumb to adulthood and inevitably leave the 'fun zone'. I swore to myself, and anyone else that would listen, that that would never be me, I would never leave the fun zone.

I also remember wanting to be rich and famous when I was young. I pictured myself partying with movie stars on yachts and flying around the world on private jets.

I spent the month of my 30th birthday galavanting across Europe with young people and I can say for a fact that travel did change me. This was the first trip of its type that I'd ever done and it lead to many eye-opening discoveries about myself and the world.

It makes me laugh to think that I was still thinking many of these things less than a year ago as I transitioned from a 20-something into a 30-something. It's striking how quickly my attitude has now changed.

I'll always cherish the memories of my childhood misadventures but I'm also glad those days are behind me. I still want to have fun adventures and great stories to tell but it'll be of a different kind. 

I still have that rebellious spirit in me, I'll never lose it, but the why and how of my rebellion has changed. I still have the need to do things differently albeit in more healthy and constructive ways. I still need to find my own path to things and I'll still pursue something just to prove the naysayers wrong but not at the expense of my health and sanity. 

I'm definitely out of the so-called 'fun zone' now, the one characterized by irresponsible decisions, sleepless nights and crazy boozing. Instead I find myself appreciating the small, quiet and happy life more and more everyday.

Now I feel myself grateful for my privacy and I find luxury in the everyday experience of having space and time for myself. I also appreciate the few quality friends and family that I do still have and I enjoy the occasional shindig with them.

When I returned from traveling in Europe I returned home with a new appreciation for home and the simple life. I came back from this trip with a renewed sense of life purpose and I was inspired by the things I did and saw. 

Right Now: 
When it's your birthday, people often ask: "do you feel any different now that your ___ age?" Usually the answer is a no but I can say for certain that this year I definitely feel different.

After all this reminiscing and thinking back to my Europe trip, I've realized what  I really want and value in life. Now I've come to some decisions about how to achieve my ideal simple and happy life. 

Decision Time:
I've decided that Im going to make this new city my home. 
Ive decided that I want the type of life that affords me the ability to travel the world on a regular basis. 
I've decided that I want a life that allows me to focus my health. 
I've decided I want a life that allows me the time and freedom to enjoy my loved-ones. 

Action Time: 
So now how am I going to go about achieving these life goals?!

Appreciate what I already have: a great job that pays well, has great benefits and amazing time off. 
Appreciation of my loved-ones and putting time & energy into nurturing those that are already in my life as well as pursuing making new connections.
Simplify and minimize my life as much as possible. 
Get my finances under control and live within my means. 
Continue to make my health a priority everyday. 
Continue to share myself and my gifts with the world in whatever ways possible. 

The ideal simple and happy life that I crave is a work in progress but I feel energized in the journey of living and working in a way that affords my uncommonly wealthy lifestyle. 

Updates and more posts to come about all of this, so stay tuned!  

What are you goals for your uncommonly wealthy life and what are you doing to get there? 

As always here's to your uncommonly wealthy life now and into the future! :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Green Smoothie Challenge - Week 2 Complete

Week 2 is complete of my June 30-day Green Smoothie Challenge and I have some more wonderful insights to impart that I've realized along this health journey. Remember at the end of week 1 when I said it was easier than I'd expected well the opposite is true at the end of week 2. Here's what I'm talking about:

Self-sabotage reared it's ugly head:

A couple days into week 2 I had an internal temper tantrum in the form of 'I'm sick of smoothies, I'm sick of health food, whine, whine, complain & whine, etc.' and so I took a day off from the smoothies and I ate a bunch of delicious, but not the best for me, food. The result: I felt like junk and I couldn't wait to get a green smoothie back into me asap and the next day that's exactly what I did.

I slipped up but I didn't let that derail the entire challenge:

I slept off the junk food coma and I woke up the next morning and got right back on the green smoothie train and I felt so much better for it. I forgave myself for the small dalliance into the land of forbidden food and I got back into eating healthy and taking care of myself. I also learned some important lessons from my slip-up.

Drinking green smoothies makes me feel great:

Having now completed over 2 weeks of drinking one green smoothie a day I can now understand why self-professed health addicts love them so. I definitely feel like drinking them is a great way to support my body's natural detox process every day. They're great for making me feel like I've reset back onto the healthy path after my junk food misadventure.

I AM capable of making significant habit changes:

I've tried in the past with varying levels of success to break bad habits and/or establish good habits and when I've not succeeded it's always an excuse for my Gremlin to beat up on me. Well screw you Gremlin, because I can do this and I'm proving it to myself and that stubborn Gremlin every day that I'm capable of making all sorts of positive and lifelong changes. It also reminds me that this is a personal journey with myself and the only person I'm hurting by not doing it is myself.

I'm excited to see what comes next on this first 30-day health challenge. Yes, you read that right, this is the first of many challenges that I plan on undertaking every month. Stay tuned for what I have planned for my next 30-day health challenge in July.

For now, here's another delicious Green Smoothie Recipe that I discovered this week:

1 cup baby spinach
1 cup coconut water
1 tsp each of flax seeds, ground chia seeds & veggie-based protein powder
1/2 cup frozen peaches
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1/2 cup organic Greek yogurt

Blend spinach, coconut water and the additives together until smooth. Add the fruit and yogurt and blend again until desired consistency is reached. Drink and enjoy! :)

Any suggestions for green smoothie recipes that you know and love, please share! As always here's to your uncommonly wealthy life! :) 

Monday, June 08, 2015

Green Smoothie Challenge - Week 1 Complete

I've completed the first week (7 days) of my June Green Smoothie Challenge. Now I'd like to impart some pieces of wisdom that I've learned from this first week of green smoothieness. 

I'm actually able to stick to something:

I've tried to do health, fitness or general life development goals in the past that I haven't completed or barely cared about, but this time it was different. I'm not sure what has made this time so different but it definitely feels different and that's awesome because it means I'm finally following through on a personal health challenge. 

It has been much easier than expected:

I had this notion going into this challenge that it would be so hard and that it would take so much work and disrupt my life in countless ways. The reality of the matter is actually so different than that; it has folded into my life naturally and lead to little disruption. Once again my expectations about a situation were incorrect and this time in a beneficial way. 

It's all about planning and sharing:

I realized early on in the challenge that I needed to plan ahead, not only when it comes to my grocery store trips but also my work and life schedule. For an example I went out of town this weekend to visit my sister and attend a wine and cheese festival and I made sure to give my sister the head ups about my challenge. In doing so it lead to a pleasant surprise: she was fully supportive and well stocked with kale, frozen fruit and almond milk. Awesome!

I haven't been perfect and that's ok:

I definitely had a day where I tried a new smoothie recipe and it didn't turn quite right. I tried really hard to choke it down but I probably only ate a quarter of the smoothie. I could've taken a negative look at this or made it an excuse to give up, but instead I composted the smoothie and scratched that recipe off my list and set out to find better recipes. 

Forgiveness of self is so important:

When making any significant life changes, no matter how big or small, forgiveness is a very important part of the process. Self-forgiveness is one of the most important parts of self-love and acceptance. I haven't set out on this health journey in order to berate myself, no I'm doing so as an act of self-love. 

This is a journey of self-discovery just as much as self-improvement and I'm having so much fun getting to know myself and my preferences better. Even though I've made some great and some not so great smoothies, I'm learning and doing and that's what life's all about, after all. 

I did discover one really great recipe that will now be added to my green smoothie repertoire and that I wish to share with you:

Berry Spinach Deliciousness:

Serves: 1
Time: 10-15 mins

1 cup baby spinach
1 cup almond milk 
1 tbsp flaxseed 
1 tsp chia seed (ground)
1 tbsp brown rice protein powder 
1 & 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries 
1/2 banana

Process the spinach, milk & additives. Once smooth add berries and banana and blend until palatable. Enjoy!

Have you ever done or are you doing a health challenge? If so let me know how it went and what you learned about yourself along the way.

Thanks for reading and as always here's to your uncommonly wealthy life! :)

Friday, June 05, 2015

The Natural Beauty Life - Pure Anada Review

Inspired by a friend who sent me a message the other night to ask what natural facial cleanser & toner I use; I've decided to share my secrets with the world!

A Canadian company out of Manitoba that I first discovered last year while on a trip to visit my sister who was living in Winnipeg at the time. After picking up my first product of theirs; a moisturizer, I was hooked. I did some research and found where I could buy more of their products and I tried some samples. 

I buy my Pure Anada products via the Pure Boutique: http://www.thepureboutique.com/ that sells all sorts of natural, organic, vegan and cruelty-free beauty products. It's a great site because it has a lot of different products that I like using and they ship so fast; I usually receive my products within a few days of ordering. It's also a great site because you can get cheap samples of almost all the products they carry so you can try before you buy. That's what I did with many of the Pure Anada products that I now love. 

My favorite Pure Anada products:

Fruit Enzyme Exfoliating Cleanser:
I love this cleanser because it's a gentle exfoliant that works to clean up my skin without being too harsh. It doesn't lather like a typical cleanser containing SLS does, but it still works great. It's made with basic natural ingredients and biodegradable beads.

Purity Treatment Toner:
This toner is part of a line formulated specifically for acne-prone skin types and it's been great in helping me deal with my most recent breakout. It contains witch hazel, chamomile and willow bark and it smells like a margarita! Along with the toner I also use the Calm Hydrator from the Purity line and these two in combination are great for when I have breakouts.

Scentless Hydra Lotion: 
This product has a special place in my heart because it was my first Pure Anada purchase and I still use this as my daily moisturizer. It's light enough to go on under makeup and sunscreen and its scentless which is great.

Revive Serum:
This is an anti-aging moisturizer that I primarily use at night. 

Awake Eye Gel:
This product is great for those bags under the eyes and I use it in the morning and at night.

This is just the skincare products that I use from Pure Anada and they have many more all natural and cruelty-free products that are great, especially makeup: more on that later. 

What are some of your favourite all-natural, organic, vegan and/or cruelty-free beauty products?

Thanks for reading and as always here's to your uncommonly wealthy life! :)

****Disclaimer: I am NOT receiving any kind of compensation from Pure Anada for writing this post. I will always inform you if such an arrangement is made.****

Thursday, June 04, 2015

What I'm Thinking About Today - Health

I started a healthy eating challenge that I talked about earlier this week on the blog. In doing so my primary goal is to lose weight and feel healthy. The problem is that I sometimes make myself feel bad about the fact that I'm not seeing faster weight loss.

This is not cool and I have to remind myself that I've embarked on a lifelong journey of eating healthy and taking care of myself and it's not just about the vanity of losing weight. I try not to get seduced by the media and social messages of skinny is better. I just want to be my best self everyday and if that includes some fat on my body, so be it.

So here are some reminders that help me, and will hopefully help you as well, when I'm feeling discouraged in my health journey:

Fat doesn't automatically equal bad:

I'm on a journey to be healthier and it's an unfair assumption to think that anyone who has fat on their body is somehow out of shape or lazy. I know a lot of fit, athletic and in great shape people who have fat on their bodies. There is nothing wrong with fat; it's a natural part of all bodies.

It's about more than the image in the mirror:

I'm building a strong and healthy body and that's a good thing no matter what it looks like. I'm eating food that will lead to better digestion, skin and a boosted immune system and these are all great things.  My body is beautiful and wonderful just the way it is, even with fat, just like all bodies. Who I am is not my body.

Take stock of how far I've come so far:

There are measurable changes like the fact that I've lost 10 lbs and a full dress size as well as the non-quantifiable changes like how great I feel now compared to when I started. I've gotten stronger, I'm in better shape and my digestion has normalized; all things that help in many different areas of my life. Another huge benefit is that I'm happier than ever before and it feels good to have a goal to work towards.

Self-love and acceptance is much more powerful than criticism:

I've never had success in making life changes by being highly critical of myself and berating myself with negative self-talk. On the contrary, when I finally accepted my life and body just as it was and decided to love myself for the imperfect person that I am, is when I finally changed. I started making healthy life changes as an act of self-love because I now know that I deserve it, no matter what my current circumstances.

Reminder to be thankful:

As human beings we have a natural tendency to focus on the negative and this can lead to some negative views on ourselves and our lives. I must remind myself that I already have so much to be thankful for. I'm thankful that I have the ability and access to a gym and food on the regular basis. These may seem like basics but they are huge privileges that a large proportion of the world does not have. I'm thankful everyday that I'm alive, healthy and free. What else could one ask for?

I'm enjoying the journey of eating well, working out, loving my life, doing what I love and spreading my message. I can't wait to see what life has in store for me in the future but life is real only happening right now and that is the part that I'm enjoying right now in this very moment. Life is grand. What is one small thing you can be thankful for right now?

Remember you are uncommonly beautiful no matter what the scale or media or society says. Spread the love and share your unique and truly wonderful self with the world.

As always here's to your uncommonly wealthy life! <3 :)

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Green Smoothie Health Challenge

Monday June 1, 2015 marks the first day of my 30 day Green Smoothie Challenge. 

Inspired by the Simple Green Smoothies gals: http://simplegreensmoothies.com and their 30 day green smoothie challenge that they hold a couple times a year I've decided to do my own. They have a challenge coming up in July but I didn't want to wait that long so I'm going to start my own for June. 

Here's the challenge: 1 green smoothie a day for 30 days. This smoothie will be a meal replacement for any meal of the day, I personally love to have them for breakfast, or as a snack. I'll be scouring the web for recipes of green smoothies that don't taste like grass and I'll share them with you as you follow along on this journey. 

Starting with my day 1 smoothie which is based on the Beginner's Luck smoothie from the simple green smoothies website. I halved their recipe for an individual serving and I added some extra nutrition and protein. 

I used my magic bullet and this how I made it: 1 cup greens; I used mixed kale plus 1 cup almond milk, which was pulsed until smooth. Then I added 1/2 cup frozen mango, 1/2 cup frozen pineapple and half a banana with 1 tsp each of flax seeds, ground chia seeds and brown rice based protein powder. I pulsed it all together and then we have deliciousness. 

This challenge is not just about the smoothies, it's a general challenge to myself to start eating clean. My diet will still be mainly fruit and veggie based with lean protein, seeds, nuts, lentils and pulses rich. I'm swearing off sugar except for a piece of quality dark chocolate once a day. I'm also going to minimize my dairy, caffeine and alcohol consumption. 

During this challenge I'll also continue my workout regime of weight lifting 3 days a week and cardio 3 days a week. I'm also going to concentrate on increasing my activity level in general by doing lots of active things with my free time. 

Follow along in my challenge here on the blog and on social media: Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.

Let me know about your own health & fitness goals, struggles and any challenges who've undertaken. As always here's to your uncommonly wealthy life! :)