Tuesday, July 26, 2011


My skin has got so much better since I started my new skincare regime, in a really short period of time, which is obviously great. My forehead used to be covered with red marks and bumps and they’ve almost fully disappeared. In the new regime, I’m only washing my face once a day in the evening with my normal face wash. I’m also making a big effort not to prod and poke at my skin, which I think probably made the biggest difference. This is a bit tmi, but I also got a blackhead remover, which has helped with my nose. I also got some witch hazel to put on after to keep my pores small, and I think that’s also helped. Witch hazel is alcohol based, so is a little drying, so I’m probably just going to use it 2 or three times a week.

In other news…Catie has lost 5lbs, which is great! She still has about 45 to go, but that’s still a great start. We’re going to measure tonight to see if she’s lost any inches!

I made some peanut butter balls over the weekend, I'll be posting pictures and what I used to make them on here soon (ie tonight)!

Also, I’ve been asking around to see if people suck their tummys in when they’re standing and walking, and apparently a lot of people do. I know it’s strange, but now that I actually have muscle there (from all my gym trips recently!) I can actually do that, and I’m going to make a big effort with that. It’s good for both making me look like I have a flatter tummy and also to support my weak back, which is definitely a good thing.

Do you guys suck your tummy in when you stand or walk? Why yes or no?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

My Breakfast!

I realised that I've never really done a post just on food.

My Ideas About Food

I try to eat as "well" as I can. That means eating a lot of vegetables (especially the green leafy kind, still not really my favourite!) and some fruits (I'm trying to cut down a bit on fruits...diabetes seems like it runs in my family, and a lot of fruits are very high in sugar). I also try to eat a lot of fiber and a fair amount of protein. I'm generally not so keen on animal protein (apart from fish), so I've been trying to eat a lot of beans and tofu. During the school year, I eat in a dining hall, so I don't have many choices with food, which means that I can't go entirely vegetarian.

I think that my biggest food "issue" a the moment is that I have an awful habit of thinking "chocolate/cookies/candy/whatever is bad for me, so it must taste really good, so I should eat it because I'll enjoy it because it's bad for me" (and normally I don't enjoy it all that much, at least not compared to how much I'd enjoy a peach or a piece of watermelon or something else "clean" like that).

My Breakfast!

Today I had one of my favourite breakfasts, which is pretty much what I eat every day at school. I had oatmeal with blueberries, maple sugar and protein powder and I had some of my wheatgrass powder in water with lemon. (The wheatgrass is still not my favourite thing to drink!!). Today I cooked my breakfast in my rice cooker (which technically I'm not meant to have in my room), which means that it was a bit more "oatmeal-y" than normal.
It looks a bit yuck. It boiled over though :(

I got 2 lbs of blueberries at the supermarket last time I was there, so I've
been eating lots and lots of blueberries recently!

And, of course, the wonderful green juice. It's really not all that
wonderful, and it took me a long time to even stomach it, but it's
definitely grown on me and I do think it makes me feel better!

So, that was my breakfast! Yum!

Does anyone have any suggestions for how to prepare green leafy vegetables (kale, cabbage, spring greens)?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My skin...

has got a lot worse since I started wearing sunscreen everyday. I guess that's not really that surprising, but it's still a pain. I have have red spots, and spots in general, on my forehead, as well as white bumps on my cheeks :S.

I've kinda decided that there are two main approaches to skin care - the first is that you should pretty much dry it out (ie the people who think you should put things on spots that basically dry them out). The second is that you should do things like put oil on skin, in lieu of any other kind of face wash.

I've been talking to my friends here about their skin care routines, and I have a plan! I have almost two months before school (uni) re-starts and I've decided that in that time I'm going to try two different skin care regimes (unless the first one works really well). So...for the next month or so I'm going to try only washing my face once a day (in the evening). It sounds totally scary to me, but I really do need to find a better regime. My best friend rarely washes her face because she has very dry skin. I have fairly dry skin, but now I'm putting greasy sunscreen on my face, so I'm not quite sure where I am in terms of dry/oily skin. (And I can't really change the sunscreen I'm using. It was recommended by my dermatologist for people with very sun-sensitive skin.)

EDIT: I'm also going to make a big effort not to touch my face with my hands, because I have a really bad habit of doing that.

How does everyone else take care of their skin? Any recommendations for my second skin care month?

Sunday, July 17, 2011


One of my friends, Catie, has a serious weight problem. She's about 5' 2", and we think she's about 170 lbs. She also carries all her weight on her hips, which obviously isn't great. One of my best friends (also my roommate) and I are on a mission to encourage Catie to lose some of the weight. We've got her going to the gym (for the first time ever!), and that's also great because it means that we have to go as well. We're also trying to work on her diet, which atm is a bit of a mystery to me. She tells us that she eats 900-1200 calories a day, so I really can't work out how she's so overweight (obese even according to BMI). (I'm pretty sure her body isn't in starvation mode because she seems to eat a fair amount when I'm around her.) Her food choices are pretty awful - sugary breakfast cereal and ramen noodles, but still, the calories don't add up. The whole food issue is made a lot more challenging by the fact that she really doesn't have any money to spend on food. At the very beginning of the summer she went shopping with her mom and bought all her food for the whole summer (ie sugary breakfast cereal and ramen noodles), so even if things are less expensive that that junk she isn't willing to buy them.

Anyway, I will of course keep you all updated on how it goes! Fingers crossed!

Does anyone have any suggestions for how to help her/help me help her? I really don't know all that much about losing so much weight...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Things I love

I decided I wanted to do a post on ten of my favourite things (in no particular order, and by no means a complete list), with (some) pictures!

1. My family: my mum, dad, sister, brother, grandmother

2. My gorgeous boyfriend

3. My dogs

(The two above are of my wonderful puppy. (He's really not a puppy any more). He's 11 (almost 11 and a half) and he's a border collie).
(This is a silly picture of our other dog, which is appropriate given what a ridiculous creature she is! She's almost 11, but still acts like a puppy and everyone thinks she's one! She's also a border collie. Our two dogs are cousins!)

4. Nature/The Outdoors/Flowers!

I mentioned this earlier, but when I was younger I loved gardening. I recently got back into taking pictures so I have lots of flowers (they're easy to photograph)!

(These are from a set of gardens near my home)

(Lots of pictures of flowers!)

5. College, and my particular University! We have such an awesome environment here, and so many people work to make that possible. (There is someone in particular whose made such a difference to me. He works in our "academic support center", which holds a bunch of seminars on various seminars on procrastination, better note taking, exam prep etc. In the first seminar I went to, he talked a little about peoples emotions blocking their ability to work, which really run a bell with me because I did used to get really upset and feel useless if I didn't get a good grade on it. He was the person that recommended ACT to me to deal with that issue, and that's been one of the things thats changed my life).

6. The gym! And a supermarket near school that has tonnes of organic, natural produce. (Both the gym and the supermarket help me on my journey to become happier and healthier).

7. Certain parts of me! I've always hated my legs, but after my recent trips to the gym they're actually looking ok!

8. Thunder and lightning and storms and rain.

Thunder And Lightning

(not my picture - from free-extras.com!)

9. Autumn (my favourite season. I don't like the summer so much - it's too hot for me! We also have really really gorgeous autumns here in New England)

10. My phone. It's bad, but I couldn't live without it!

(picture from oriongadgets.com)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Book Review

One of my (pseudo) resolutions this month was to read four books. So far I've finished one book, What the Dog Saw, (read about the second half) and read two other books (Freakanomics and Big City Eyes).

Freakanomics – 7/10

I've read this before, but a long time ago. It pretty much fits perfectly into the "pseudo intellectual" category of books that I like. I did enjoy this book and it was interesting, but it wasn't fantastic. Aspects of it were very interesting, but I didn't love it. (Maybe because I'd read it before the ideas in it weren't so revolutionary?).

Big City Eyes – 5/10

This was a randomly chosen fiction book about a woman who moves to a small town to get away from the hustle and bustle of NY, and gets involved in solving a murder. I thought I’d really enjoy this book because the premise of it sounds pretty interesting (I’m kind of interested in the relationship between cities, suburbs and rural areas), but it was one of the slowest books I’ve read in a really long time. It took forever (2/3rds of the book) to get to the point where the murder even happened, which left the last third to solve it. I also didn’t really like the writing style too much.

In other news on my resolutions: I’ve been doing a really really really bad job at swimming. I’ve gone once in the last two weeks. Urgh. It’s just such a pain to go over there – the pool has pretty limited hours and I have to shower and wash my hair and get all the chlorine off after I swim (I have fairly sensitive skin, so I have to be sorta intense about getting the chlorine off). There are showers by the pool, but they’re open and mixed gender (in other words, I’m not taking off my swimming costume!), so it’s not very convenient. The other problem is that I don’t want to (can’t?) wear my heart rate monitor in the water. My watch gives me targets every week, and it’s more difficult to get to the targets if I’m not recording my time when I’m swimming. (It’s not impossible, and I’m probably just making excuses, but it is more difficult).

I’ve been doing well at eating beans though! And at doing my ACT, so that’s all good!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Nickel Oxide

So, in lab yesterday I had to work with a particular type of Nickel Oxide, NiO2. Across the bottle it says: "Warning: May Cause Nose and Lung Cancer". I looked the stuff up, because I needed to find out some of its other properties and came across the fact that in addition to this it can suppress your immune system. Anyway, me being me, I got out my mask when I was handling it (the mask goes over your mouth and nose and is meant to keep some of the chemical out of your airways. I got it when I was handling the lead). A couple of other people in my lab asked what I was working with (people are always interested when you're wearing a mask), so I of course told them and this whole big discussion about it started. Most people thought I was being ridiculous and overly sensitive, but I kind of figured, Why not wear the mask? What harm is it doing?. Someone told me that if I was so worried about the Nickel Oxide I should take a look at the contents of my shampoo.

Anyway, that got me thinking about what a stupid idea that was. If there is bad stuff in my shampoo, that should make me even less enthusiastic to be exposed to it from other sources. It's like saying, I'm on a diet, I had a piece of cake at a friends birthday party so now I'm just going to scrap the whole diet idea.

The other thing that I continue to find stupid about this whole thing is that people will say things like "I've been working with the stuff for 3 years, and I'm fine.". With the vast majority of these chemicals I'm not worried about what it will do to me today, tomorrow, next month or in the next ten years. I'm worried about when I'm 50, 60, 70. Most of these things accumulate in your body and take time to disrupt your cellular functioning, so you wouldn't expect to see problems so quickly.

Anyway, end of rant!

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Yesterday I went blueberry picking with one of my friends. It was so much fun, and I got a tonne of blueberries (and also some raspberries and corn). I also got two new plants - a basil plant and a parsley plant.

I've had my old plant (on the left) for a year now, and it needed to be repotted. I was at Whole Foods to get more protein powder (I have oatmeal with protein powder in it for breakfast) and they happened to have potting soil on sale there! So, I ended up getting a bag of potting soil and three matching pots (one for each of my plants). The basil and parsley came in tiny little trays that a) weren't very attractive and b) my little plants could not have survived for long in them, so they ended up getting repotted as well. As I'm sure you can see in the picture, the Basil (in the middle) is still not super happy - it looks fairly droopy. I put it outside in the sun today for the afternoon, which perked it up a bit but not much. The parsley seems much happier after being repotted!

Anyway, I think I'm going to get some wild flower seeds and plant them in the tray that the basil and parsley came in. Not quite sure where I'm going to be able to get seeds around here though...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I realised that I didn't actually talk about what I did in DC...

On Friday we went to visit Hillwood House, which was owned by the (now deceased) head of General Foods. She (yes, she was a woman!) collected a lot of art, especially French and Russian art.

Last summer and this summer I've been trying to become more "cultured", so this was a good visit from that point of view. I also really like Russian art, so it was cool to see that (and they had two Faberge eggs there!).

Saturday was a lazy day, we didn't do all that much (apart from watching the Wimbledon finals, which is always fun!)

On Sunday we went to see a play/musical called "Next to Normal". Its about a woman and her family struggling with this woman's mental disorders. Although the subject matter was a little depressing, the play was incredible and the music was really good (I've been listening to it practically on loop since then!). Anyway, if you get the chance to see it, definitely go.

The "bad" bit of Sunday was that during the play I got a headache and started to feel nauseous. We had thai food for dinner (which I love, but given how I was feeling maybe wasn't the best choice). Anyway, I ended up getting sick to my stomach which wasn't great.

Monday was July 4th. My aunt and uncle had a big party for it and we saw some fireworks, which was fun (I love fireworks). After the fireworks were over someone spotted a small fire down where they’d been set off – it turn out that one of the boxes they came in had caught fire! We also made smores, which I love! (And I barely ever get to have them). I guess smores are an American type of thing (or at least, I only ever seem to have them in the US), so I now associate them with “American holidays”, like July 4th.

What was everyone else’s favourite part of the weekend/Canada Day/July 4th? Do other people who celebrate Canada Day/July 4th have certain foods they associate with it?

My trip back & Back in Lab....

I'm back to school and back in lab. My trip back from DC was fine, which is obviously a good thing.

My trip in DC was great! It was really nice to just get to relax with family and not have to worry about work. My aunt and uncle are very laid back people which helped with the whole relaxation thing!

When I was there, I noticed that they basically live in a fairytale world, and their children certainly do. They're fairly well off, have an incredible house and their kids can do pretty much whatever they want (and have the resources to do it). My family is, I think, in a similar financial situation, but we always had many more rules. For example, we had to be downstairs at 7am to eat breakfast together. If we weren't (which happened very rarely, only if someone was jetlagged or something) we certainly had to make our own breakfast. My cousins, on the other hand, get food made for them by their mum at any time of the day. They're also pretty much allowed to eat anything. They have a "nanny" who bakes a lot, so they always seem to have cookies and muffins around. In my family we could eat that sort of thing, but only really as dessert after a meal.

I was thinking about these two types of parenting. Both seem to have been fairly successful - all three children from both families have turned out relatively well. My cousins certainly had a more laid-back childhood than we did. On the other hand...I'm not sure if I would have switched places. Yeah, it's a pain to have to be downstairs at 7am for breakfast, but it did also mean that we had "family time" every day, and I'm not sure if that's something I would have wanted to sacrifice....

Friday, July 1, 2011


Im in DC now with my Aunt, Uncle, Grandmother and Cousins for July 4th. If you don't hear from me that much, that's why!

I'll be back to school on Tuesday though, so you'll get the full report then :)


I think I mentioned earlier that I wanted to try out "attending" some webinars on personal development type topics.

I really enjoyed one run by HeartMath, which is the company that makes the coherence device that I use. It was about better communication, which is obviously something that it really important.

I've also been listening to one called "Awaken Your Soul at Work". I found out about it because one of the founders of HeartMath was speaking at it. It's a 12 part series and it's been fairly interesting. Certain parts of it have definitely appealed to me more than others, but there were aspects of it that were interesting. I still need to go back and listen to a number of them, because I missed a lot of them as they happened during the middle of the day.

In the future I'm going to try to stick to ones that are topics that I'm really interested in and that I think are really going to be useful for me.

Resolutions and Review of Resolutions from Last Month

Last Months

My resolutions from last month went fairly well.

Food – Recording Food and Fiber

I did manage to record my food choices for seven days. The results were interesting – I tended to do fairly well on protein and fiber, and very well on salt. As per Ali’s suggestion, I was pretty much ignoring my “goal” for fat. I stayed within my recommended calories some days and not other days. For the most part I did well on that front though.
            With regards to making more “high-fiber” choices I’ve done okay. I’ve started eating a lot more beans and lentils which is good. We’re technically not allowed to have rice cookers at school, but I have one anyway. It’s great for cooking beans and lentils – it makes it much easier to cook them. I got “high-fiber” bread, but to be honest I wasn’t impressed with it at all (it was really awkwardly sweet). I’ve gotten back into taking psyllium which is great. I’ve also been trying to eat more high-fiber vegetables. Lastly, I’ve been buying wholewheat pasta, which is pretty good.
            I’m definitely going to keep making high fiber choices. I’m not sure about recording food – in some ways its really useful because it does help me to know where I stand with regards to how much I’m eating. On the other hand, I really don’t want to get obessesive with it.

Exercise – Rotex

            I’ve been spending a lot more time on the rotex at the gym, which is good. I’ve really enjoyed that and I think it’s good to spend time on both the running machine and the rotex. I find it really hard to keep my heart rate high enough on the rotex, but I can’t get it back down quickly enough on the running machine! (I talked to an exercise physiologist and good hooked up to a machine so he was able to determine my “optimum” for exercise. I’m meant to spend half an hour and do two minutes at >190 heart rate and then three minutes in the 160s.)

Exercise – Heart Rate Monitor

            I got a heart rate monitor.  It’s a polar FT60 in pink J. I really like it and I do think it’s helped me to push my exercise to another level. It’s also great because it means that it’s easier to compare my training across different types of exercise.

Other – Sunscreen

            Well, I still hate sunscreen, as predicted. I’ve sort of gotten into the habit of wearing it, or at least I’m doing better than before.  I still don’t like it, but I know that I should and I need to wear it. I’m going to keep trying to wear it throughout the summer.

Resolutions for next Month


I need to swim more. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but during my exercise assessment I was told that my “weak point” is gas exchange between my blood and lungs. To improve that, I’m meant to swim or sing. Given that there’s no way I’m singing, I’m meant to be swimming. To that end, for the month of July I’m going to aim to spend one hour a week swimming.


            I did have one, but I don’t remember it! I told my best friend what it was, so I’m going to see if she can remember!


I’m deciding between trying to read four books over the month, going back to learning Chinese (my boyfriend is half Chinese, and it’s important to him that I try to learn it) or go back to doing my ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy). I think I’m going to try to go back to the ACT and see how that works out. I got really anxious about my journey to DC, so I want to try to tackle that!

Ps Thank you to people leaving comments! I love hearing from other people :). (I haven't worked out to comment on comments on my blog yet though :S. Any help on that?)