30 whole days

#14 on my forty before forty bucket list items is: Try Whole 30. It’s just 30 days… how terrible can it be?

I ran a marathon on October 1* and I’m giving myself 30 days of recovery and indulgence before November 1, when I will officially start the Whole30. So here we are, 10 days out and I am gearing up by doing the following:

  1. Recruit
  2. Research
  3. Plan

1. RECRUIT: Who wants to join in? My mom and my co-worker Sophie are also going to give it and try. How about you? It’s not like you have anything better to do, it’s November.

2. RESEARCH: (source) What you need to know:

What You Can’t Eat on Whole30

1. Dairy: no cheese, cow milk, yogurt, cream, sour cream, kefir, and butter. The only exception to this rule is that you can have ghee.

2. Grains: This means no corn, rice, quinoa, wheat, rye, millet, sorghum, amaranth, buckwheat, bulgur, or sprouted grains.

3. Alcohol: No alcohol for cooking or drinking is to be consumed while doing Whole30. This includes vanilla extract. You can have something like kombucha.

4. Legumes: For 30 days you can’t eat beans of any kind, soy of any kind (including tofu, soy sauce, miso, edamame), chickpeas, peas, lentils, and peanuts.

5. Added Sugar: Don’t consume sugar that is real or artificial during the 30 days. This includes honey, maple syrup, agave, Splenda, xylitol, and Stevia. 

6. Carrageenan, MSG, and Sulfites: Avoid processed foods while doing Whole30. 

7. “Junk” Food: This means that you can’t recreate your favorite junk food or baked good recipes even if they use Whole30-compliant ingredients. This is less to do with your physical reactions to food, and more to do with the mental side of things. 

What You Can Eat on Whole30

After that pretty exhausting list of foods you can’t eat, it might seem a little daunting to start the program. But there’s still a bunch of delicious ingredients that can comprise a good — no, a great! — meal.

1. Vegetables: Eat vegetables — including potatoes! — to your heart’s content.

2. Fruits: Fruits are allowed, in moderation. Remember that you’re trying to limit your sugar intake during the 30 days.

3. Unprocessed Meats: Sausage is still okay, but check for added sugar and other off-limit preservatives.

4. Seafood: Fish and shellfish get the Whole30 nod of approval.

5. Eggs: Eggs will become your new breakfast bestie.

6. Nuts and seeds: All nuts and seeds are okay, with one exception: peanuts, because they are a legume.

7. Oils (some) and ghee: Just say yes to olive oil and coconut oil. Ghee, which is a type of clarified butter, is also allowed.

8. Coffee!!!!: Yes, you can have coffee while on Whole30, but you can’t add any milk products or sugar to lighten it up.

***

3. PLAN: What does this all mean for me? 

  • I don’t eat chicken or red meat so I will need to be careful (especially without beans and peanut butter)
  • I like seafood and LOVE eggs so that’s a relief.
  • I can still have my coffee, which I always drink black, so that’s awesome.
  • No wine – yes it sucks but I can manage. I am not really a big drinker and there are no major holidays to worry about.
  • Grains… and dairy. The struggle will be real.
  • Junk food… chocolate. It will be hard to avoid it, especially since I am starting this the DAY AFTER HALLOWEEN but, that’s the exact reason why I choose November 1. Avoid temptation.
  • If I keep on top of prepping snacks and lunch + stock my fridge full of the right stuff, I should be okay. Salvatore’s I will miss you most, but don’t worry dear friend, I will be back.

Although Sophie is in Montreal and I am here, we’re swapping recipes and making plans. I’m not a chef so if I keep things simple and live off of mixing and matching the things I love most (eggs and spinach), I can survive. I once tried a 14-day detox which included no caffeine and only lasted 7 days. It was not pretty… But when I was pregnant, I gave up coffee, all the good cheese, alcohol, running(!!!) for 10 months and made it through. So, even though there will be rough patches in November, at least I can still run and have coffee. Right?

What about Mike and David?

Ha! There is no way my eight-year-old child could survive. David’s diet is basically everything from the what not to eat list. Mike may dabble but he’s going to Vegas midway through the month and I can not see him asking the waiter if menu items are Whole30-friendly.

And why is the Whole30 on my forty before forty bucket list?

I love a challenge! I am physically healthy but I know I have bad eating habits – I want to see if these restrictions make a difference. Will I feel better, less tired, less mopey? Guys, it’s just thirty days. I can totally do it!

Here are some resources if you want to join in:

I’ll keep you posted on our progress.

*#21: Get a new personal best in a marathon

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265 days until summer 

It’s been several hours and 5 days since you took my summer away…

Summer is over which means it’s report card time! I know y’all have been anxiously waiting to see how it all went down but before I reveal the results of my 100 Days of Summer bucket list, I have decided to change things up a bit based on my friend Tim’s suggestion of replacing the incompletes with alternative fun things that happened. Afterall, we must remember, it is summer and summer should be fun and spontaneous, even for people like me! So without further ado:

  1. go on a sailboat*** YES! I did not say “sail on a sailboat”. During the Tall Ships festival, I toured a few boats.
  2. watch an outdoor movie*** YES! Erin and I watched Footloose outside at the Chickenburger
  3. see Shakespeare by the Sea*** NO, BUT… Sarah, Amanda and I went to the play Nothing Less at Two Planks and a Passion Theatre. Outside theatre = same thing. 
  4. fly a kite*** YES! It was a last-minute effort with David. We found a plastic kite in the basement and flew it around a parking lot. Not much air but we did it.
  5. ride a slip & slide** NO, BUT… What’s better than a slip & slide? Try riding down a waterslide into the ocean. True story. Did it. 
  6. visit magic mountain** YES! We probably picked the coldest day of summer to do this. Imagine standing in your wet bathing suit on the top of a hill, holding a wet tube that’s blowing in the wind while you wait in line to go down a cold waterslide. 
  7. make homemade ice cream* YES! Thank you Mila for lending me your ice cream maker, it was delicious. 
  8. hike Cape Chignecto* NO BUT… We explored Fort Beauséjour in New Brunswick.
  9. go to a country fair* YES! Amanda rented a car (#10) and drove Sarah and me to the Hants County Exhibition for a goat yoga class. 
  10. ride shotgun in a car driven by Amanda* YES! See #9
  11. have a water balloon fight*  NO, BUT… Goat Yoga. See #9
  12. have fresh flowers in the house always* YES! Not always the freshest and sometimes more weed than flower but they were always there. 
  13. tube down a river* YES! The Lazy River. See #6.
  14. buy a summer dress* YES! 
  15. mow the lawn* YES!
    ***
  16. golf (the real deal golf. not mini) YES! It took us 4 hours to play nine holes. Thanks, Clara, Larry and Mom for your patience.  
  17. go to a concert NO, BUT… I was my mom’s date to a birthday party at Fox Harb’r Resort 
  18. surprise someone YES! My sister turned 40 and we surprised her with a night out on the town.
  19. cheer for someone YES! Team 71. See #20.
  20. hike the Skyline Trail NO BUT… I ran up Hunter’s Mountain during leg 17 of the Cabot Trail Relay
  21. swim in a lake YES! Amanda and I took a dip in Lake Banook.
  22. swim in the ocean YES! A beautiful day in September at Crystal Crescent Beach.
  23. dive into the water YES! How else does one enter the cold water?
  24. go to Eliot & Vine YES! For my birthday.
  25. go to the Shore Club YES! A farewell dinner with Kristin, Josh, and Noah before they moved to Ottawa.
  26. go to Chain Yard Urban Cidery YES! So good, I went twice. 
  27. start a bullet journal YES! 
  28. start designing my 2018 calendars NO, BUT… I created a folder and copied last year’s files to it. I need ideas!
  29. spend more time on my front porch YES! 
  30. host a strawberry shortcake cocktail party YES! I made cocktails and strawberry shortcake but in case you were wondering why you were not invited, it was a very small and unplanned gathering.
  31. host a bbq YES! A few.
  32. borrow Jill’s pizza oven and host a pizza party YES! When my sister was visiting we had a family backyard pizza party to celebrate Edith’s first birthday.
  33. sunrise at the beach YES! Early morning runs by the ocean help make this happen.
  34. sunset at the beach YES! See #22.
  35. have a lunch date YES! A few.
  36. have a brunch date YES! A few. 
  37. have a post-work beer date at the Stillwell beer garden YES! Right after doing #38.
  38. go prom-watching in the Public Gardens YES! 
  39. order a pizza and eat it in a park YES! While waiting for Henry who was at the emergency clinic.
  40. bike across the MacDonald bridge (if it EVER opens!) YES! David and I biked home from summer camp one day.
  41. bike a trail YES! See #96
  42. hike a trail YES! 
  43. run a trail YES! Many times. 
  44. run by the ocean YES! Many times.
  45. run across the MacDonald bridge (if it EVER opens!) YES!
  46. go for a run and jump in the water right after YES! Jenna and I ran around Lake Banook and then jumped in.
  47. pop a wheelie YES! Ha. 
  48. go berry picking YES! Strawberries on the Amherst Shore. 
  49. make raspberry jam YES! It was okay. 
  50. sleep in a tent NO, BUT… I slept in an Airbnb.
  51. ride a roller coaster (or some other carni ride) YES! David and I rode the Gravitron at the Pugwash Gathering of the Clans.
  52. spend an evening on an outdoor patio YES! A few times but not enough times. 
  53. wash and clean my car (inside too) YES! 
  54. run laps on a track YES! At 5:30 am at SMU when no one was watching. 
  55. run with a run club YES! Jenna and I have been running with the BLT Runners occasionally. 
  56. train for a marathon YES! And I ran it!
  57. rollerblade on the Oval YES! I do not like rollerblading but I like the Oval. 
  58. visit the Discovery Centre YES! 
  59. play croquette NO, BUT… I rode a bicycle built for two. 
  60. visit Hope for Wildlife YES! David took me for a tour and it was fabulous. 
  61. night swim YES! An early evening swim. 
  62. drink my morning coffee outside YES!
  63. accidentally get a sunburn YES! 
  64. picnic with a basket and blanket YES! Bike ride included.
  65. celebrate with sparklers YES! In the backyard.
  66. grow tomatoes YES! Thanks to Elissa, I grew three. 
  67. have a campfire YES! At my parent’s house.
  68. dance in the rain NO, BUT… I ran in the rain and I biked in the rain. 
  69. make iced coffee YES! 
  70. run through a sprinkler YES! During the Natal Day Road Race.
  71. make peach pie YES! Twice. 
  72. make rhubarb pie YES! 
  73. make key lime pie YES! 
  74. rent kayaks YES! David and I rented kayaks and a paddle boat in Saint John.
  75. selfie with a lighthouse YES!
  76. selfie with a lobster trap YES! 
  77. selfie in a boat YES! Cruising down the Wallace River on the SS Minnow. 
  78. hear bagpipes YES! Canada Day, Natal Day and I think 2o more times.
  79. watch a parade YES! Canada Day and Natal Day.
  80. leave the province YES! See #99.
  81. leave the country YES! New York for #56.
  82. cut my hair YES! But I chickened out on getting bangs.
  83. tie dye NO, BUT… I did buy the dye and a plain white tee. 
  84. watch fireworks YES! From my bedroom window which totally counts. 
  85. toss a frisbee YES! With David.
  86. clean my office NO, BUT… I started watching The Office.
  87. eat from a food truck YES! I finally tried a burrito from the Gecko Bus.
  88. only use the clothesline YES! Always.
  89. make cedar-planked salmon YES! We had Brie and Rick over for a BBQ.
  90. drink beer from a cooler YES! My mother-in-law had me over specifically to help check this off my list. 
  91. drink beer from a pitcher YES! At Maxwell’s Plum with my sister and her friends. Twenty-five years ago this was the dream. 
  92. go to a yard sale YES! However, I did not buy anything.
  93. go tidal bore rafting NO, BUT… I went wine tasting. 
  94. ice cream on the Halifax waterfront YES! Cows. Of course. 
  95. try hot yoga YES! Hollie and I went to a Friday night karma class.
  96. visit McNabs Island YES! We took our bikes (#41) and spent 4 hours exploring.
  97. take a water taxi YES! We hired a boat to take us to #96.
  98. plant a tree (or shrub) YES! I finally planted a lilac and a rhododendron. 
  99. play hooky YES! David and I tagged along on Mike’s business trip to Saint John. We accomplished #6, 13 and 74 on our 2-day adventure. 
  100. write my 40 before 40 list YES! Here.

Total Score: 87% YES + 13% NO, BUTS.

Summer was pretty great. Thanks to all who hung out and helped me check things off my list. I can’t wait to do it all again in 2018. #100daysofsummer

NOTE: *2016 not complete **2015/2016 not completed ***2014/2015/2016 not completed. + Thank you, Dylan, for the title inspiration.

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forty before forty

Happy birthday to me. Not yet forty but it’s creeping up (730 days) so it think it is time to publish the forty before forty list and get this party started. And started I did – I revealed the first 10 in January but here is the full list – some are very ambitious (like #10), some are scary (like #14), and some are just pure crazy (like #9) but why not dream big? Wish me luck!

  1. Take piano lessons (I quit after one year – my sisters are beautiful players and I’ve come to regret dropping out).
  2. See Hawaii – it has been my dream to take David to Hawaii for his 10th birthday since the day he was born. He will turn 10 less than two months before my 40th so the timing will be tight but I am sure Mike can make this happen.
  3. Make some pottery – take a class.
  4. Visit all of the National Parks in Atlantic Canada. There are 10, I’ve seen 5 (can you go to Sable Island?)
  5. Get a tattoo. Hah! Where the heck did that come from?
  6. Make a move. Not sure if it will be career or school or a move to the country but I like the idea.
  7. Sail away – even if it’s just around the Armdale.
  8. WALLPAPER my itty bitty bathroom.
  9. Bangs. Try them out.
  10. Rent a cottage with some lady-friends for +2 nights and drink way too much wine.
  11. Scuba dive. Ideally off the Florida Keys. With Kyle Chandler.
  12. Win something.
  13. Buy a silk blouse. I’m thinking a nice deep midnight blue button down.
  14. Try Whole 30. It’s just 30 days… how terrible can it be?
  15. Sip sweet tea in the South like a Georgia Peach.
  16. Take tennis lessons.
  17. Sign up for a Yoga session.
  18. Get eyelash extensions.
  19. Make a batch of wine. I promise, it won’t be low class and I promise I will not force you to drink it.
  20. Run a Spring marathon (I’ve run September, October and Novembers only)
  21. Get a new personal best in a marathon (which would be sub 3:56:00)
  22. Learn and preform the full Footloose dance.
  23. Try snowboarding *again.
  24. Buy watercolours. Watercolour.
  25. Attend an epic festival, concert or event (like Mardi Gras, The Beach Boys in California, Running of the Bulls, etc.)
  26. Donate plasma.
  27. Ride in a helicopter (ideally while visiting #2)
  28. Volunteer.
  29. Get a reading done by a psychic medium.
  30. Go to a drive-in movie.
  31. Explore a new country.
  32. Read a novel in one weekend.
  33. Take a solo vacation.
  34. Host a holiday dinner or a murder mystery party.
  35. Change a tire. Change the oil. Learn these skills.
  36. Scoot around on a scooter and end up at the ocean.
  37. Attend a retreat or workshop of some sort.
  38. Watch all of the movies on the AFI’s 100 Greatest American Films of All Time (I’ve seen about 40 so far).
  39. Dip my toes in Lake Louise.
  40. Party like it’s 1979.

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SUMMER starts nowish

The long weekend is here and that means Summer starts nowish! In celebration, I am launching my fourth annual 100 Days of Summer LET’S DO IT list where I try and make the most of the sweetest but shortest season. I may not get it all done, but here’s hoping… And, I hope you can join in on some of the fun.

Note: I always start with the ones I’ve yet to complete… There are also pick-ups from previous years because awesomeness is always worth repeating.

  1. go on a sail boat***
  2. watch an outdoor movie***
  3. see Shakespeare by the Sea***
  4. fly a kite***
  5. ride a slip & slide**
  6. visit magic mountain**
  7. make homemade ice cream*
  8. hike Cape Chignecto*
  9. go to a country fair*
  10. ride shot gun in a car driven by Amanda*
  11. have a water balloon fight* 
  12. have fresh flowers in the house always*
  13. tube down a river*
  14. buy a summer dress*
  15. mow the lawn*
    ***
  16. golf (the real deal golf. not mini)
  17. go to a concert
  18. surprise someone
  19. cheer for someone
  20. hike the Skyline Trail
  21. swim in a lake
  22. swim in the ocean
  23. dive into water
  24. go to Eliot & Vine
  25. go to the Shore Club
  26. go to Chain Yard Urban Cidery
  27. start a bullet journal
  28. start designing my 2018 calendars
  29. spend more time on my front porch
  30. host a strawberry shortcake cocktail party
  31. host a bbq
  32. borrow Jill’s pizza oven and host a pizza party
  33. sunrise at the beach
  34. sunset at the beach
  35. have a lunch date
  36. have a brunch date
  37. have a post-work beer date at the Stillwell beer garden
  38. go prom-watching in the Public Gardens
  39. order a pizza and eat it in a park
  40. bike across the MacDonald bridge (if it EVER opens!)
  41. bike a trail
  42. hike a trail
  43. run a trail
  44. run by the ocean
  45. run across the MacDonald bridge (if it EVER opens!)
  46. go for a run and jump in the water right after
  47. pop a wheelie
  48. go berry picking
  49. make raspberry jam
  50. sleep in a tent
  51. ride a roller coaster (or some other carni ride)
  52. spend an evening on an outdoor patio
  53. wash and clean my car (inside too)
  54. run laps on a track
  55. run with a run club
  56. train for a marathon
  57. rollerblade on the Oval
  58. visit the Discovery Centre
  59. play croquette
  60. visit Hope for Wildlife
  61. night swim
  62. drink my morning coffee outside
  63. accidentally get a sunburn
  64. picnic with a basket and blanket
  65. celebrate with sparklers
  66. grow tomatoes
  67. have a campfire
  68. dance in the rain
  69. make iced coffee
  70. run through a sprinkler
  71. make peach pie
  72. make rhubarb pie
  73. make key lime pie
  74. rent kayaks
  75. selfie with a lighthouse
  76. selfie with a lobster trap
  77. selfie in a boat
  78. hear bag pipes
  79. watch a parade
  80. leave the province
  81. leave the country
  82. cut my hair
  83. tie dye
  84. watch fireworks
  85. toss a frisbee
  86. clean my office
  87. eat from a food truck
  88. only use the clothesline
  89. make cedar-planked salmon
  90. drink beer from a cooler
  91. drink beer from a pitcher
  92. go to a yard sale
  93. go tidal bore rafting
  94. ice cream on the Halifax waterfront
  95. try hot yoga
  96. visit McNabs Island
  97. take a water taxi
  98. plant a tree (or shrub)
  99. play hooky
  100. write my 40 before 40 list

NOTE: *2016 not complete **2015/2016 not completed ***2014/2015/2016 not completed.

The rules are simple. Summer starts this weekend (the long weekend of May) and ends on the last day of September. Here are my lists from 2016 / 2015 / 2014

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where in the world

Got the travel bug? Looking for something a little more exciting than a snow globe or postcard?

My parents are going to Germany and they’ll be passing through the Black Forest. The first things I said when I heard this was, DO NOT bring me home a cuckoo clock! Turns out they had no intention to do so however, I had to make it clear that one day, I will go to the Black Forest and pick out the most perfect, be it slightly ridiculous, cuckoo clock. It’s on my bucket list!

This conversation got me thinking about the sub-sections on my bucket list (yes, my bucket list is categorized) and I realized I have two distinct travel categories:

  • Places I want to visit (Maui, Italy, Amsterdam, India, South American, to name a few)
  • Souvenirs from places around the world

Souvenirs from places may seem like and odd category however hear me out, they’re the most perfect way to remember a holiday. Sure, I can get a cuckoo clock anywhere but one from Germany would be so much more special. Same goes for a beautiful rug or a new blanket. I often bring home prints (posters), tea towels or Christmas ornaments, which are all great but below are the things that I’m holding out for when I hopefully make it to these places one day.

Germany : The Black Forest : A cuckoo clock

Germany is a country both Mike and I really want to visit so it’s made both categories. He wants to go to Oktoberfest, I’d like to run the Berlin Marathon but mostly, I have always wanted to go to the Black Forest and get a Cuckoo Clock!

hellosunshine_blackforest_cuckooImage (L / R)

Morocco : Marrakech : A wedding blanket / rugs! / pillows

Editing down what I’d want from Morocco would be my biggest problem. That, and figuring out how to transport several 8 x 10 rugs home. I think a wedding blanket would be more practical. Toss in some pillows and a pouf too please!

hellosunshine_moroccoImage (L / R)

New Zealand : Something warm & fuzzy

Ideally I’d like a sheep but, I’ll take a nice wool blanket. My Dad worked in New Zealand when I was little and he brought back Maori dolls which were pretty fantastic. Sheep are my very favourite animal and I may loose my mind with excitement over there.

hellosunshine_nz_sheepImage (L / R)

Russia : Matryoshka doll (nesting doll)

Ignoring the cold temps, Russia is a place I’d love to visit. Holy architecture! I’ve always loved Matryoshka dolls and remember playing with a friend’s set when we were kids. Now that I think about it, we were likely not supposed to be playing with them, but I digress. They’re so beautiful and I love the colours. My bookshelf needs this.

hellosunshine_russia_dollsImage (L / R)

Switzerland : A Swatch (and throw in some chocolate)

I have been to Switzerland and I already have a few too many Swatches but I think they’re the most perfect souvenir for anyone planning to travel there – something that will always remind you of a good time. hah! (I’d also like a St Bernard)

hellosunshine_swiss_swatchImage (L / R)

***

We’re heading out west next month for an Ackerman Family Ski Holiday and the one thing I hope to NOT bring home is a cast.

hellosunshine_whistlerImage (L / R)

Let me know what’s on your souvenir bucket list? And let me know what’s the best souvenir you brought home. I am very curious!

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