My Year By Design

The journey to living by design.

Archive for the tag “Live by Design”

My last day of On Ramp

I recently completed the On Ramp course at West London CrossFit. After a half-year break from CrossFit, I needed a way to ease back into training and I’m very glad I chose this way! I really feel ready to get back to regular classes. My skills are back up to par and I even corrected some mistakes I’d been making previously without even knowing it.

Everyone graduates from On Ramp by running the same WOD (workout of the day) that they completed day one. The trainers recorded both times so we could see how much we’d improved in On Ramp. I wasn’t sure if my time would drop because I had done this workout a number of times before this round of On Ramp. I was pleasantly surprised to see a drop of a little more than a minute.


On Ramp was designed to introduce people to all the essential movements and skills of CrossFit. However, it was also a great refresher for me. If you’ve taken a break too, don’t be afraid to come back. Don’t quit just because it’s easier. Talk to your coach about refresher options if you need a little help getting back to your best habits.


A Moment

I had a moment a few days ago, a flicker. For a short time I felt happy. Nothing in particular was happening. I think I was just puttering around the house, tidying up a few things. I felt happy.

I hope it comes again soon.

GoodHealth Walk 2014

The Good Health Walk

It’s almost that time again! The Good Health Walk is back and open to everyone. If you want to walk with us, please join us Saturday, September 20th, 2014 at 10am at Springbank Gardens. You can sign up at our website. Bring your friends, your family and even your pets and help us live healthier lives and raise money for The Boys and Girls Club. I hope we see you there!

Time Constraints

How many times have you said, “There just aren’t enough hours in the day”? Maybe the problem isn’t the length of the day but the amount of stuff we cram into it. As a society, we schedule, (and I would argue, overschedule,) ourselves and our families far too often. It is important to get a lot done in the day, but what about the joy of doing nothing?

Remember being a kid? Remember being bored and having to look for stuff to do? I might be getting a bit nostalgic here, but I think boredom is good for us. I think it inspires creativity and problem solving. That’s when a couple of sticks become swords, or drum sticks, or relics of an alien ship that crash landed on Earth.

I am in no way suggesting that you shirk your duties or ignore the people in your life who depend on you. We all have stuff we have to do. However, what if we provide ourselves a bit more unscheduled time? We might be more relaxed and even more happy. I’m going to try to increase my unscheduled time over the next little while and watch for the effect it has on my life and my mindset.

Back to By Design

Was my wedding week By Design? Excuse me while a roll around on the floor laughing. Not a chance. I ate ridiculously good food, drank plenty of champagne and wine, slept in and spent hours being pampered. However, I did take my supplements each day, drink lots of water and still got some exercise, (although admittedly, less vigorous exercise than usual).

Nonetheless, this week I could really feel the difference in my body. I was sluggish and tired and a got some breakouts on my face. I was missing my usual joy in my daily activities and I was having trouble sleeping. I also developed a migraine towards the end of the week. I was obviously paying for my poor behaviour last week.

So now it’s time to get back on track…or back to By Design. If you’re like me, you need to ease back into healthy habits bit by bit. So this week, I’ve been returning to better and better habits. First came drinking a lot more water and green tea to flush out my system. Then I returned to my normal workout routine. I’m a bit sore but the rush of endorphins after a good sweat is worth it. Lastly, and probably most difficult, back to healthy eating. I have been cutting back on sugar and grains as the week progressed. I have heard from other people that grains and refined sugar are addictive and having indulged in a lot of it during my wedding and then trying to stop again, I believe it. Also, as I get tired late in the day from not eating or sleeping correctly, my body craves sugar and heavy carbs even more. Blerg. What a vicious cycle!

I am fighting the good fight and every day that I get closer to being back on track, my body thanks me and rewards me with more energy. My goal is to be fully back By Design next week and have a much happier belly and brain!

I’m back!

I’ve been MIA for a couple of weeks while I got married. So, to answer the obvious questions:

Our wedding day was amazing! We both agreed that we felt excited, relaxed and joyful. Everyone had a wonderful time and I couldn’t have asked for a better day.

Our wedding was fourteen people and we held it at Langdon Hall in Cambridge. I would highly recommend both our venue and our wedding size to all the brides-to-be out there. These components allowed me to avoid much of the wedding stress that turns perfectly nice girls into bridezillas.

Yes, I will share photos as soon as I get them back from the photographer. I loved my dress and I think you folks will too. Plus because it was strapless, you can really see how hard I’ve been working on those overhead lifts!header

The Best Chicken You Haven’t Tried

Are you bored with chicken? Me too. Time for something different. I stumbled across this easy recipe and I liked it a lot so I thought I’d share.

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Dijon mustard (smooth works best)
Ground almonds
Salt and pepper (to taste)

Step one – Preheat over to 350 degrees Celsius.

Step two – Pound chicken breasts to 1/4 inch thickness using a meat mallet and watch any bad feelings just melt away, (take that chicken boobies!)

Step three – Spread mustard evenly only both sides of the flattened chicken.

Step four – Dip chicken in ground almonds. Turn to coat evenly.


Step five – Place breaded chicken onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes per side.

Serve with your favourite veggies or a big ol’ salad. Trust me, you will not miss the breadcrumbs in this recipe! Happy cooking!


January Updates

Here are all the Café of Life and CrossFit updates you need for January:

Thursday January 2nd – Book your chiropractic visit to make sure your power is turned on for 2014.

Move by Design – Tuesday January 14th at West London CrossFit at 7:30pm.

Family Skate – Saturday January 18th at Budweiser Gardens. Sign up at

Think by Design – Monday January 20th at Café of Life at 7:30pm.

Lifestyle Home Show – Friday January 24th to Sunday January 26th.

CrossFit Free Class – Tuesday January 28th at West London CrossFit.

With all these wonderful events, how could this not be your best year ever? If you need more convincing that 2014 is going to be amazing, stay tuned for my next post “Good News for 2014”.

7 Morning Mantras You’ll Love

Ok folks, it’s that time of year; I go to work and it’s still mostly dark, I leave work and the sun is already setting. I miss sunlight at this time of year so I decided to check out 7 Morning Mantras You’ll Love. Staying positive in less sunny times is critical to fighting my urge to hibernate until spring. Sometimes I think bears have all the fun.

I also bought myself a natural light alarm clock, (the photos below show the clock and what it looks like turned on). It gives off natural light and has a sunrise setting to wake me up in the morning and a sunset mode to help me get to sleep at night. It’s even bright enough to read by before bed. I’m not much for doing product endorsements but this little gadget is helping me fight the winter blues and get my beauty rest.

The longest night of the year doesn’t arrive until December 21st (two more days!) so until then, we’ll all have to get our natural light where we can and wait for our beloved sunshine to return.

20131124_195954 20131124_195928

Holiday Gifts & Happiness

It’s that time of year again; carols playing in every store, my email inbox full of cyber-ads and coupons, ah yes, the gift giving season is upon us. Now let me assure you, I am not against gift giving. I love to get gifts and I love to give gifts even more. I love Santa and Secret Santa and all other gift exchanges. However, I like to take the focus off shopping madness and put more heart back into my gifts. This post called  Holiday Gifts & Happiness got me thinking about making gifts more personal and meaningful. The Happsters dealt with how to wrap gifts in a fun way; I’m going to write about how to put happier gifts inside that fun wrapping!

How about making more of our gifts? My Secret Santa person is getting her favourite kind of cookies, (triple chocolate fudge,) homemade by me in a nice Christmas tin. In the past, I have made some beautiful photo books for family members using Blurb and photo magnets at stores like Walmart. For a gift exchange where I have a $5 maximum limit, I made a necklace and bracelet out of origami paper stars and beads. All of these gifts cost more time than money and people appreciate the effort I put in.

How about giving the gift of time? I once gave my brother and his family passes to the Toronto Zoo and a parking pass so they could enjoy a day of fun together. Last year, all of my friends got laser tag passes so we could all go play together, like the big kids we are. For something less expensive, shovel a neighbor’s walk, make dinner for someone or take someone to the movies. I love gifts that either encourage people to spend time with me or spend time with their families.

How about giving the gift of health? Life by Design offers a great gift pack here. Get your special someone on the path to Living by Design.

How about teaching our kids to make reasonable lists for Santa? Kids’ Christmas Lists are getting a little scary. No Christmas list should be pages and pages of stuff. I once heard a very smart child psychologist on CBC Radio say that she allows her kids four categories on their list: “Something I want, something I need, something to wear and something to read.” They can put as many items under each heading as they like, but come Christmas morning, they will be getting one item from each category, plus something special from Santa. I love this idea. Will a child’s Christmas really be less special with four or five gifts as opposed to twenty? And for those people who are worried their child will compare with their friend’s Christmas haul and feel inadequate, now is the time to start teaching our children about the dangers of materialism and the brainwashing effects of commercials and online ads. They will thank you for it later.

Christmas Wish List

Get the PDF version here.

How about starting charity early? Get kids to give food, time or money to the Food Bank and teach them why they Food Bank exists. Find a local charity and donate some time as a family. Have every family member, (kids too, allowance money can be used here,) donate to a charity of their choice. We give to Cystic Fibrosis Canada, the London Abused Women’s Centre and Pet Friends 4 Life in our house. My parents always had my brother and I choose a toy each and then donate to Toys for Tots. This is something I still do today. Dr. Jamie told me that the Café of Life will have a toy donation tree again this year, so you can give when you come to get adjusted!

This Christmas, give meaningfully, give joyfully, and remember to wrap those gifts in some joy!

Post Navigation