Low-Carb Cartier – Easy Keto Ice Cream Dessert Recipe

Keto Ice Cream, Keto Chocolate, Low Carb Chocolate, Low Carb Ice Cream, Recipe, Dessert

I genuine hate finding recipes on blogs because you have to sift through the story of why and for whom this keto recipe was made on a particular spring day in ZzzZzzZzz…

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 Tablespoon Stevia (or 0 Calorie Erythritol)
  • 1 Tablespoon Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

Optional Additions:

  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar Free Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Peanut Butter
  • Nuts? Add in whatever you like – just consult the nutritional facts first.

Instructions:

  • Combine all ingredients in a jar with a screw top. Make sure it’s one you can shake without the contents going everywhere.
  • Shake vigorously for 2-3 minutes.
  • Freeze for 2 hours +
  • Enjoy!

Nutritional Information

  • 217 Calories
  • 3.4 g Net Carbs (5.4 g Carbs & 2 g Fiber)
  • 22.7 g Fat
  • 1.7 g Protein

The backstory: I have a massive sweet tooth. I’m pretty good about watching what I eat on a low-carb or keto diet, but when it comes to that time when PMS starts to rear its ugly head, I want a little something sweet. This keto recipe was inspired by Peace Love and Low Carb , but I genuinely had to scroll through the website and a gazillion ads that find the ingredients and instructions. No bueno!

Hope you enjoy this recipe – I only make as much as I’ll allow myself to finish in one sitting, but if you’ve got more willpower than me go ahead and batch up a bunch for your keto diet!

 

Candidly Cartier: Conflict Resolution – Why Don’t We Try A Little Harder?

Conflict Resolution in Relationships

In healthy relationships there’s always a little conflict. Whether it’s the cat and mouse game when first pursuing/ being pursued or the “will they/ won’t they” I once fondly remembered as being “juicy”, conflict and conflict resolution make for healthy relationships. If there’s no conflict, typically one party is sacrificing who they are as a person to appease the other. If your partner doesn’t respect how you think or feel, I might question how strong the relationship really is. It can be so easy to give up and walk away. You can swipe right on your next love, bff, or even your job! Why aren’t we trying harder to resolve that conflict and level up inter-personally?

Fixing Failures

After my ex and I broke up we both started dating others in an effort to put a band-aid on our poor little hearts. My relationship didn’t work out because, let’s be candid, I always had one foot out the door and was waiting for the other shoe to drop with him. The ex, on the other hand, learned from our “failed” relationship and has bent over backwards for his much younger lady love. Why? Well, he said he couldn’t face the hopeless feeling of another failed relationship. Rather than giving up and getting on Tinder, he’s making an effort to manage and resolve conflict. I wish we had tried that hard, and I commend him for his efforts.

Repairing Through Conflict

If ex’s new(est) relationship has taught me anything, it’s that maybe I need to give a closer look to conflict resolution. If someone as stubborn and sarcastic as he can make it work, I think it’s time I take a look at ways to navigate conflict in my next relationship (you know – if I ever meet a dude I want to see a second time in this city).

Make Eye Contact

Give the person your full attention. If they’re bringing a complaint your way, give them your eye contact and listen actively. If you’re bringing a complaint to the table, don’t be sheepish. Ensure your body-language is open so that your partner feels you’re emotionally connected and open to what he or she is saying.

Be Direct

Don’t dance around the issue. Before coming to the table with an issue or set of problems, consider why you feel a certain way, and what you might say (and how you’ll say it) in an effort to come to a resolution. Be direct in saying what you’re feeling or how something is particularly effecting you. Wishy-washy statements using “maybe” or “I dunno” aren’t effective. Say what you feel and let the other person react. Working through issues as they come up can help you/ your partner’s self-esteem, and make big blow-ups a thing of the past.

Don’t Assert Blame

The person may not even realize that a particular action is bothering you. Passive aggressive comments will just upset the other person, bringing you much further away from intimacy and mutual respect. Statements like “my problem with you is ___” can be better positioned as “it’s a problem for me when ___”. Avoid saying “you did___” even if what the person did is entirely infuriating. You want resolution, not further conflict, right?

Image result for oh brother eye roll gif

Avoid Making Sweeping Generalizations

Use specific instances and “I Feel” comments. Be genuine and pick your battles wisely. Don’t name-call, use sarcasm, or roll your eyes (I personally have serious work to do on this one – Tina Fey and I share epic eye-rolls).

Listen

We have two ears and one mouth – maybe we should be listening a little better! Hear your partner’s complaint(s) thoroughly without interrupting. Respond when they’re finished and try to use elements of what they’ve just told you without contempt. Don’t just wait to speak. Listen.

Find Positive Even in the Negative

When I have a tough day at work, I’ll typically start considering feelings about particular moments or actions. When I turn my thoughts to my daily tasks and long-standing projects on the whole, I think about how interesting my career is and how much I love what I do. Your relationships are the same. Certainly there are moments which will make you want to strangle the other person, but on the whole – do they bring you joy? Is this person a major contributor to your life? Focus on those elements and, if possible, bring them up. If you find ways to make (non-sarcastic) jokes in the midst of a negative conversation, you might be able to lighten the mood and find a break-through. Try to brainstorm a solution rather than letting the issue sit as a problem.

Conflict – Just Move On

Ultimately, conflict is a significant source of stress for most of us. It makes us uncomfortable. Often we don’t know what to say or there you’ve just tried too many times to make the other person comfortable. Are you constantly bending over backwards for someone who is just using you? Evaluate whether it’s worth the conflict resolution or if you should give up and move on. You might just find it’s a great relief to back off and move on. Take a break. Sometimes it’s worth coming back to and sometimes it’s better left alone.

Conflict is a sign of maturity when resolved through open and honest communication. Using Tinder, Hinge, Bumble, or any of the other hundreds of dating apps and sites out there to find the next best thing instead of putting a little effort into your current relationship is immature and irresponsible. You wouldn’t send a perfectly good car to a chop-shop due to a flat tire, right? Don’t throw away a solid relationship due to a disagreement or even a fundamental issue which could be resolved through communication and changed behaviour.

Candidly Cartier: It’s Not About You

Sometimes I feel like I shouldn’t have to write this part, and sometimes it’s more of a reminder for myself: this is a blog. This is a place where I throw away all the academic writing I’ve learned for school. Writing guides at my current job have no place here. Toronto Seoulcialite is where I write my informative pieces, not here. This is a stream of consciousness and sarcasm allowing me to communicate with you, lovely readers, but also for me to figure out how to handle what’s going on in my life.

I so desperately wanted comfort from one person in particular Thursday night when this all transpired. Instead, he turned the conversation almost immediately to himself and his “problems” and completely dismissed mine.

I told someone recently, single people in Toronto are like Baskin Robbins. The women are the ice cream. You have 31 sweet, rich, basic, colourful, fun, fat-free, and decadent flavour options available at any given time just ready and waiting to be scooped up. The men are the cones: small, regular, large, plain, waffle, chocolate, or sprinkles (what it do, Church Street?) and they’re almost ALL broken. How I could have expected my Mr. of a year (May 2nd, bro) to actually be there for me was clearly insane.

Not Okay, Grief, Frustration, Candidly Cartier, That Girl Cartier

I’m not okay. The last couple of weeks had left me feeling pretty defeated, already. Thursday night I returned home from an event to find that a tradesperson who had been contracted by my property management company had left my apartment in complete disarray, with filth covering my freshly swiffered floors. What’s more – several luxury skincare items, some costume jewelry, and a pair of my pants were missing.

Physical items can be replaced, and if this person (who I’m certain clears double what I make annually) really needed what I had, then fine – take it. What I can’t replace is the feeling of security in my own home. I know that I have a 3 bolt lock system on my door. I thought the last person was just paranoid, but I’m starting to understand. The bolt locks have me covered while I’m sleeping, but what about when I’m at work? How do I know that this person who was clearly left unsupervised doesn’t have a key to my apartment? What kind of assurance do I have that he or she won’t return to hawk my laptop or sentimental items passed down from my grandmother?

Not knowing exactly what to do, I called a couple of people who I thought might help me calm down. Two of the three have a ton of personal issues going on right now. Marriage for one, divorce for the other, sleepless nights and therapy for both. These people have so much going on in their personal lives, but they both asked if I needed them to come stay the night so that I could regain some trust and, even if I didn’t feel safe, protected at the very least.

The third person I called is a man who I’ve known for a year now. He has sought solace in my words and my company. I’ve brought him lunch at work and have made him tea at my home. When he returned my call, he told me the same thing as the police on the non-emergency line: do my own thorough investigation as there’s nothing else which could be done. This single man didn’t have hair dye cooking. He certainly wasn’t preparing for a weekend of division of assets. Dude was tired from work, continuing education, and hockey. After telling Mr. “Doesn’t Believe in Monogamy” that I felt in distress, he had the audacity to start complaining about how hard it was to juggle his full-time job, part-time studies, and physical fitness. I’m the last person to pity someone for an attempt at work ethic. Work, studies, fitness, and freelance deliverables are par for the course in my world, and if that hasn’t been apparent to him by now, then he’s clearly not taken an iota of interest in who I am as a person.

My reaching out to you when I’m in a pickle is not an opportunity for you to complain. I called you because you continue to rely on me for psychological and physical support. I thought just this one time you might reciprocate. The physical things which were taken are not the issue. Vulnerability in this instance comes not from thinking I’ll be hurt physically, it’s the mental turmoil associated with a violation of trust. This isn’t about you, but at the same time maybe it is. Maybe this is the wake-up call for which I’ve been waiting. In your world (and too often in mine) it’s always about you.

F45 Challenge – Do As I Say, Not As I Do!

woman, abs, fit, fitness, f45, f45 challenge

As I’ve written here on a number of occasions, I adore the unique community cultivated at F45 St. Clair West. I’ve tried a couple of other F45 locations, and they just were not for me. I love having the space to move around unique to St. Clair West. The trainers there keep in touch 1 on 1 through Whatsapp and on Instagram. They genuinely care about your well-being and your loyalty to the community.

Some people say there’s a bit of a cult element to F45. Overall, I can see it, but there’s a fine line between the optics of that kind of encouragement and dedication demands. Once you’re involved, it’s just a party of people trying to live their best lives in health. I’ve made some greats friends, reconnected with some old ones, and have learned a lot about myself. In particular? I often go way harder than is necessary, and it’s not always a good idea.

woman running, f45, f45 challenge, running, track, anger, determination

First and foremost, there’s something to be said for over-training: DON’T DO IT. Do as I say, not as I do, right? Before the F45 Challenge began, I had already been eating fairly well and making it to 3 – 4 F45 classes per week. At lunch, I usually hit up Goodlife with a colleague of mine who continuously chirps me for not having yet raced a 5 km. Add in the fact that I have been walking 4 km to work at least 3 times a week and you’ve got a case for chronically elevated cortisol levels.

f45, f45 challenge, weightlifter, weightlifting, man, sweaty

When your cortisol levels are too high, there are a variety of complications which can arise. Weight gain is what has effected me the most, but other symptoms include: high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis, exhaustion – effecting daily hormone cycles and disrupted sleep patterns, memory (ever felt like you were in a mental fog?), and infections due to compromised immune systems.

How to Combat High Cortisol Levels?

sleep, can't sleep, woman, cartoon, f45, f45 challenge

Sleep and Cortisol Levels

This was a tough one for me considering I was living in a basement with totally inconsiderate neighbours and a rich landlord who took the “hands off” approach.  I even moved apartments losing out on over a thousand dollars when I cut my lease short. My F45 Challenge team coach would often reprimand me for not getting 8 hours of sleep. I took that really personally as I was climbing into bed around 8 PM in the hopes that I could get any sleep before getting up to exercise before work. I was killing myself, and that wasn’t enough for him. This was my biggest problem with the F45 Challenge because I was trying so hard and it never seemed to be enough.

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Exercise and Cortisol Levels

Double-edged sword, non? Exercise in moderation can lead to lower cortisol levels. Over-training runs the risk of affecting neurotransmitters such as glutamine, dopamine and 5-HTP. Ever wonder why the road to fit can throw your emotions through a loop? Over-training can lead to feelings of depression and chronic fatigue. Symptoms of hypothyroidism are also a side-effect of over-training, and I think they may have hit me hard throughout the F45 Challenge. Rest and recovery time need to be penciled into your schedule, just like exercise.

macaron, sugar, sweets, dessert, f45, f45 challenge, cortisol

Sugar and Cortisol Levels

Cutting down on your sugar intake should help balance your cortisol levels. I have such a sweet tooth. If I go a couple of days incorporating limited levels of natural sugars (fruit, for example), I find myself craving “real foods” (you know, the ones you get from shopping around the outside of the grocery store) so much more. I went out for a post-challenge celebration with a gal pal recently and we shared a bunch of tapas including: grilled halloumi (cheese), roasted squash, brussel sprouts, and a beet and goat cheese salad. It felt like I had just binged on fast food, but realistically it was all pretty healthy and within moderation for my day. Once you’re off processed sugar, something as simple as a beet tastes like heaven-on-Earth candy. Dwight Shrute may have been on to something…

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Cortisol Conclusions

Last week I went to the Philippines. I spent my days island-hopping, eating food I would neeeeever eat here in Canada (Filipino food is really greasy!), and enjoying cocktails liberally. I felt so puffy and bloated when I arrived home, but lo and behold – hadn’t gained a pound. It’s Friday today, and since Monday I’ve dropped 5 lbs. This is more than I had lost during the F45 Challenge.

I haven’t been stressed about scheduling a particular number of workouts throughout my week. Pizza has been on the menu not once, but twice. I’ve enjoyed a couple of spin classes and have focused on weights at the gym on my lunch break. If your workouts, or goals of a particular challenge, are consuming your entire life – take a step back. Take a night off and head out with your friends. Skip the morning workout and sleep in. It’s cliché, but actually take a minute to stop and smell the roses and breathe in some fresh air. You might find some unlikely (and positive) results!

Candidly Cartier: “Influencer” is Not a Dirty Word

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Influencer Filth

More and more on social media I’m seeing the word “Influencer” tossed around like absolute filth. Whether it’s disdain for those who flaunt their lives like they’ve been sponsored to take their next breath (you know who you are) or annoyance that content isn’t authentic, there’s a real hate on these days for people who make a dolla dolla bill or two from content creation.

influencer, cafe, food, donut, coffee, cafe cell phone camera

influencer

/ˈinflo͝oənsər/

noun
  1. a person or thing that influences another.
    “he was a champion of the arts and a huge influencer of taste”
    • MARKETING
      a person with the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending the items on social media.
      “influencers can add serious credibility to your brand”

influencer

Influencers – They’re Just Like You!

This idea that the common person is like a celebrity is an interesting shift in the makeup of our society. They haven’t done anything particularly spectacular, or so most people think. From my view, someone of influence finds beauty in the mundane. This is a new(ish) form of art combining the written word (yes, captions can be poetry), photography (okay – hiring photographers for your OOTD is a little much), and graphic design (you know how much editing goes into some of these ‘grams). Most of these people are also crafty AF in the way they live their lives. They’ve carved out a niche where (well, the successful ones) can follow their bliss daily. It doesn’t happen overnight, however. Building a business, even if your brand is yourself, is hard work. The competition is bloody fierce.

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On Sundays we brunch! @orettatoronto had great atmosphere, fantastic (and quick) service, and super tasty eats! We shared a bottle of prosecco and: • Bombolone Milanese $19 Fried chicken thigh sandwiche, bombolone bun, spicy bacon aioli, slaw. • Uova Burrata e Tartufo $19 Scrambled eggs, asparagus, burrata, black truffle, focaccia. 🍳// #brunch . . . . . . . . . . . #bhgfood #buzzfeast #buzzfeedfood #droolclub #feedfeed #foodblogger #foodgawker #seoulfood #foodstagram #forkfeed #prosecco #Sundayfunday #huffposttaste #kitchenbowl #kingwest #sweetmagazine #tastespotting #thefeedfeed #thekitchn #torontofood #toronto #브런치  #맛집탐방 #먹방  #eatingfortheinsta #cravethe6ix #brunch🍴

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Influencers – They Eat!

I get it – going to a restaurant with friends and having your dining companion make the table wait until the food is cold is incredibly obnoxious. When the food arrives and everyone scrambles to create a table with the greatest aesthetic standing up on a chair with a portable flash in one hand and their phone in the other, it’s obnoxious. This behaviour really takes a toll on the guest experience of every other person in the restaurant. This detracts from the carefully prepared and plated meal they restaurant’s team has put together. As someone who has worked in the hospitality industry for many, many years and has worked with chefs and bartenders passionate about their craft, I wonder if the food even tastes good or if it’s just pretty. I wonder if these “influencers” can tell the difference between tarragon and turmeric.

records, vinyl, shopping, influencer

Influencers – They Shop!

This is the thing about “aspiring influencers” that drives me up the wall. Influencers Faking Brand Deals is nothing new. I knew of plenty of people doing this while I was in Korea in an attempt to secure new business. I also knew of desperate women who would be given discarded goods from influencers within the Korean Beauty Space who would put “#gifted” on everything. No, you weren’t gifted sh*t, little girl. Your friend who spent hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars becoming a skincare expert gave you the crap she no longer wanted, and you gave it a glowing review.

Making Money Blogging

Building  blog and a brand costs money. Most of the people I knew when I started blogging were trying to share the latest and greatest spots in the city giving directions in the process. Heck – I made a whole video about how to get to the Raccoon Cafe in Seoul when I was still living in Busan. I shared restaurant reviews where I spent a pretty penny and felt I got great value. I was never “doing it for the ‘gram”, and the friends I met through the blogging community (at first) weren’t either. We just wanted to share cool things we found in English for people who might not be having the easiest time navigating in Korean. The secret to making money blogging? HARD WORK.

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Passion Projects Put to Work

That’s the thing – most content creators turned influencers built a website and started writing about life hacks, amazing products and fantastic deals they genuine adore and want to share. I began my blog, The Toronto Seoulcialite, while in Korea because I was leaving the marketing world and didn’t want to become irrelevant and undesirable as a potential hire upon my return. Now I work as a writer for a law firm because:

  • I was a teacher – I taught spelling, grammar, syntax, and flow. These are essential skills in my daily tasks at work.
  • I learned about my audience, SEO, link-building, social media marketing, and wordpress. These are desirable skills within my industry.
  • Once I realised that there were companies who wanted to partner with me, I amped up the business of blogging. Creating pitches and proposals for companies with whom I desired to work became necessary. Paying for for products and experiences was normal. Sometimes I could organize a partnership to offset the costs of running my blog. I wasn’t a hack job with my mouth wide open hawking a food product I would never eat, if you know what I mean. Now, I research companies and write marketing materials to show how our team is the best fit for a particular project.

hat, beach, vacation, influencer

Influencers – The Hate is Real

The problem with influencers in our 2019 society is that thing have gotten out of control. What used to be an industry of finding cool things, expressing honest emotions (This Crazy Thing Called Life isn’t sunshine and roses. Sometimes sh*t gets real) is now a forcefield of gritting a smile and showing no weakness. The glossy, glamorous lives of aspiring influencers aren’t real. These people in Facebook groups trying to get you to join pyramid schemes so you can “travel the world for free” are conning you. The reason content creators had influence was because they weren’t perfect, they were passionate. The start-up nature of sharing your life’s ups and downs was real; authentic.

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Now, “engagement” is easy to fake. You can pump some money into Facebook to promote or pay off a bot farm to like the image for you. It’s infuriating that PR companies – people who are supposed to be professionals in this field – don’t see through the fake followers and inauthetic content. It’s sad to see companies partner with “influencers” who are guaranteed to bring no reach, engagement, or revenue from the rates they charge. I can totally understand and respect why the every man or woman gets a hate on for the influencer life. The hate is real.

When it comes down to it, there will always be people of influence. When genuine, and not pay for play, an influencer is someone honest who gives a review you can trust. With cost of living at an all-time high, that trust should be sacred. Influencer isn’t a dirty word, we’ve just forgotten the meaning.

F45 Challenge Week 1 is done! – F45 St. Clair West

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You know when she wraps her hair up like a pineapple it's about to go down! . . Why, yes! I HAVE gained some weight since moving back to Canada from Korea (25 lbs overall, some of which I've actually lost). These certainly aren't the most flattering pictures, but I thank @krayzeefitness a) for being quite possibly the loudest cheerleader at @f45stclairwest and b) for taking them so that once my #f45challenge (an 8 week multi-point system dedicated to turbocharge progress through dedication to fitness AND diet) is complete I can look back and see how far I've come. My only regret? Not taking them back in December when this journey began! 💪🍍 // #f45 . . . . . . . . . #f45training #girlswholift #lift #lifttillfailure #tabata #strong #strongwomen #weightlossjourney #weightlosstransformation #weightlifting #weightliftingfairykimbokjoo #FITNESS #피트니스 #휘트니스 #헬스 #외국인 #cardio #toronto #yyz #yyzblogger #416 #workout #workoutmotivation #progress #progressnotperfection

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F45 Challenge Week 1

Week 1 of the F45 8-week Challenge started off with a bang!  Learning about the F45 Challenge 45-point system seemed daunting, but I made it through! I worked out both Saturday and Sunday and used that energy as fuel for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. I had an event Thursday night and my Korean class Friday night, but I was back up and at ’em for “Hollywood” Saturday morning (crushing 700 calories before breakfast!)

F45 Food

As I mentioned, I’ve been getting my food delivered through a Toronto meal delivery service called SelFit Fresh Meals. Realistically, I’d rather cook the meals myself so they’re to my flavour preference (and so that they’re really, really fresh). That said, I’ve tried a few meal delivery services in Toronto and in Korea, and these meals pack a punch as far as flavour goes. I don’t really process fish/ seafood very well, so they send me the vegetarian meals (they have vegan too) in lieu when there’s a recipe that calls for tuna or salmon. Not having to think about what to eat makes this process a LOT easier. It almost evens out my commitment to no coffee (or caffeinated beverages) for the first 2 weeks!

F45 Feelings

The first week hasn’t been easy by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve limited myself to between 1,200 and 1,300 calories daily so that I have at least a 1,000 calorie deficit daily. I also cut out caffeine. By day 4, I was hungry, exhausted, menstruating, and dealing with some guy’s BS. I was beyond emotional. I was a total mess, to be candid. Friday the fog seemed to clear and I was back in the game mentally.  This week, my hope is to get into a lower weight category and actually see some of this work pay off.

The F45 Challenge 45-point Plan

The F45 Challenge follows a 45 point plan, where the target is to hit at least 30 (so on your rest days you’re supposed to hit all of the other points areas):
  • Exercise to Sweat 15 Points
  • Meals per meal plan 15 points
  • Magnesium supplement 2 Points
  • Lemon in Warm Water 2 Points
  • 2 – 3 L of water 6 Points
  • 8 Hours of Quality Sleep 5 Points

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Yesterday, I got to meet and celebrate a member of a not so secret tribe of women fed up and exhausted with the status quo and writing all about it. This absolutely darling party in @jordanquinnstagram's honour made me yell out on many occasions, "Guys, she wrote and published a book and it's in my hands RIGHT NOW!" Couldn't be happier for this fearless female and yes, she is just as quick witted, charming, and gorgeous in person. I'm so eager to see what's in store for @korkscrewed and very glad I got to bring my gals @deskotnala and @k8vbeast along for the ride (and the cocktails!). Congratulations, Jordan! 📚💋 // #sheisnotlost . . . . . . . #women #womeninspiringwomen #womensupportingwomen #toronto #yyz #yyzblogger #blogger #blog #doitforthegram #416 #the6ix #blondeshavemorefun #dametraveler #gltlove #girlslovetravel #whoruntheworld #beautybloggers #love #bumble #toronto_insta #torontolife #kingwest #traveltagged #imbibe #imbibegram

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Following F45

Did I follow the *no alcohol* rule to plan? Er – not quite, but I didn’t go to town getting late night eats so – win! I also don’t know anyone who really and truly gets 8 hours of quality sleep a night, but I’m making every effort to go to sleep early. Wearing my Fitbit to sleep, I average about 7.5 hours per night. Sadly, my neighbours consistently wake me up at insane hours of night, so it’s not ideal. The meal plan is included with the F45 Challenge, and I’ve been using SelFit Fresh Meals to keep me on the straight and narrow. The cost is about $140 per week for 10 meals. It’s not cheap, but it keeps me from buying snacks and meals which add up financially and calorically anyway. I’ve lost about 3 Kg since I first started the plan, and have another 19 kg to go to get to my ultimate goal weight (which won’t happen during the challenge – that would be too much, too quickly!)
Let me know all your tips and tricks to keep this challenge up in the comments!

Pumped-up Profile: F45 St. Clair West’s Welcoming Fitness Approach

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My weight has fluctuated most of my life. I’ve never had a very healthy relationship with food; either controlling my consumption obsessively or going to town on whatever’s available. Taking fitness seriously has been a successful, but solitary adventure up until this year. When I was in Korea, I didn’t take classes all that often because of the language barrier and because I didn’t feel like they were all that effective. The same goes for classes anywhere, in my experience – they just don’t burn as many calories (or so I thought).

This year I have ventured into various studios across the city in an attempt to meet people with whom I have common interests. If you’ve seen my instagram stories then you’ll know just how well Tinder has been going for me (spoiler alert: it’s a nightmare). Even just meeting new friends can be challenging. Most of my friends moved on without me, which one should expect having spent 3 years abroad. So – I like working out. Sometimes I think that I’m the fittest fat person in Toronto. That’s just it, though. My aesthetic isn’t what it once was. In Korea, I was thriving on 1,200 – 1,400 calories a day and working out an hour or two most days. I was only getting 4-5 hours of sleep a night managing 2 blogs in a competitive market while working 45 hours a week. Supercharged, I looked good and felt invincible. Now, I’m not the fit foreigner that gyms feature on their instagram. Hell, I’m not even featured on my partners’ feeds. I’m not quite so confident walking into a new workout environment.

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I’m falling in love with my gym. Earlier this year when I was solo travelling I did a value exercise and I recognized that ‘community’ and ‘connection’ were important to me and at that time, in SE Asia, by myself, with no plans, these were gaps and impacted my overall happiness. Over the past 3 weeks, I’ve made it for the F45 7:40am class 4 days a week. I’ve been raving to everyone I know about this gym and the people. In a conversation this week, I realized that F45 is both connection and community for me. I have never been a member of a gym or yoga studio where I’ve felt the connection and community I do here. The people here (staff and members) bring amazing energy… that is what creates this community… where we all get to know each other, we motivate and listen to each other (all while dying or recovering from a great workout). This is truly an amazing thing. #feelinggrateful #f45 #lovemycommunity @f45stclairwest @krayzeefitness @xuanfitness @a_yeunglegend

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Is F45 the New Starbucks?

A couple of months ago I noticed a new phenomenon in the city. Rather than Starbucks popping up on every corner, I was seeing people get their sweat on in every nook and cranny of downtown Toronto. These aren’t your grandmother’s zumba classes, though. Through steamy windows I was seeing people of all shapes and sizes crush workouts with kettle-bells, stationary bikes, rowers, and their own body weight. It looked all kinds of intimidating.

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#mood 😑 😄😁 . . 📸: @danherm3

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The F45 Community

The first time I walked into F45 at St. Clair West, the bubbly trainer asked me if it was my first time. I always advocate to communicate with your coach and get friendly with your teammates, but I felt apprehensive. As it was, she raised my hand way over my head and yelled that I was looking for new friends ’cause it was my first class. I wanted to crawl into a hole and die…until all my “new friends” cheered in a cascade of whoops and hollers and gave me high fives after my first Functional 45 workout. I’ve come to crave the knowing nod at the door, the coaches suggesting variations based on my lower back issues, and the encouragement from coaches and teammates alike making sure we finish the whole dang labyrinth of sets! The idea is for your body to burn the maximum number of calories in short spurts with a modest amount of recovery time in between (ie. running to the next station). One could say it’s similar to crossfit, but you’re not competing against others for the highest reps in shortest time, you’re competing against yourself and against previous goals.

The F45 Challenge

There are 17 days until the next F45 Challenge. This 45 point plan with its own separate app helps people achieve their fitness goals by kickstarting the process over the course of 8 weeks. 8 weeks from February 4, 2019 I’ll be on a beach in the Philippines. You had better bet your bottom dollar that I want the kind of results I’ve been seeing from the F45 Challenge! With daily meal plans, alternating various workouts focused on cardio and weights, and the support of the online and in house communities, I can’t wait to see my body change in healthy ways. Keep an eye out here for my meal prep, my workouts, and my results. I’m dancing with F45 St. Clair West now, but in 17 days it’s about to get real. I challenge you to take on the challenge with me!

Don’t you want results like these? I know I do! Let me know in the comments or on instagram if you’ll be joining me for this F45 Challenge (and if you’ll be coming to the F45 St. Clair West location in Toronto!)

 

Pumped up Profile: Communicate with Your Coach

I Get By With a Little Help

I’ve come to understand that fitness will always be a journey for me. I will always have ups and downs and times of amazing confidence or, like now, times where I just don’t feel like I’m at my peak. There are a gazillion reasons to get close to the person (or people, in my case) helping you on your fitness journey. When I started with Big Hit Kickboxing Studios, I was in pretty peak physical condition for my own standards. Beyond the obvious attention to my new additions, there wasn’t anything I was afraid to do nor was there much that could knock the wind out of me. Now that I’m well into my re-patriation, I’m not as confident or fearless. Plus I’m certainly not in the best shape anymore. I do, however, have help – and I want to encourage you to seek out allies on your fitness journey as well.

It’s Your First Time

If it’s your first time walking into a gym or walking into the ring, letting someone know you’re new isn’t embarrassing – it’s essential. More often than not, it’s expected that you’ll jump into a class and go with the flow. If your coach knows that it’s your first (or second, or even third time) they’ll make sure to give you that little extra bit of attention to ensure your technique is just right so you won’t get hurt. You may have signed a waiver before your class, but you’re part of the team now and nobody wants to see you injured!

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Not every hero wears a cape

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You Have an Injury

Speaking of injuries, if you’re just getting back to fitness you have to let your coach know. Hopefully you’ve given your body enough time to heal, but you might be a little rusty getting back in the game. I find a lot of coaches want to push you right to your limit. When I had my surgery anything chest related (from push-ups to lat pull-downs) was not on the menu. If your coach is aware of your limits, he or she will be more likely to give you an alternative motion to complete.

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If you want a rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain

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You’re Lacking Confidence

Hesitation is one of the most common causes of injury in sports and physical fitness. In an instance where your timing is off because of jitters you could really hurt yourself. Taking a step back and asking for help will sharpen your focus and take you out of a fog of confusion which could cause an injury or give you an ineffective workout (be it once or as a pattern).

You Need to Up Your Game

If you commit yourself to the community at your gym/ studio (or create one – especially if it involves Tanya Kim – duh!) then there will be a give and take with your workouts. When your coach knows you, he or she will be able to tell when you need to get out of your funk, or even if you need to be left alone. Sometimes when I’m at Big Hit, my instructor will get out the pads and work with people one on one. My energy is revved up to the max. I feel like I’m actually good at what we’re working on and I’m being rewarded for good work. On the flip side, when I’m not giving it my all you know nobody’s bringing those pads my way!

You may not be best friends with your coach/ yogi/ mentor/ instructor, but there’s a level of unspoken but always shown respect and discipline between the student and the master. Showing a little interest and a lot of initiative goes a long way. As it says on the wall of every Big Hit, “in 2 weeks you’ll feel it, in 4 weeks you’ll see it, in 8 weeks you’ll be it”.

I’ve mentioned Big Hit Kickboxing Studios a few times over the course of this article (and shared some pictures of some, not all, of my favourite coaches) because I’ve committed to a 3-month partnership with them to get back into fit fighting shape! For more Toronto Gym Alternatives, click here. For more on Big Hit:

  • Time Commitment: 30 – 60 Minutes (most classes are 45 Minutes)
  • Cost: $30/ Drop-in Class, packages vary, and $59 gets you gloves, wraps, and 2 weeks of unlimited classes!
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Location(s): 4 Locations around Toronto/ the GTA and a new one opening up on The Danforth soon!

Candidly Cartier – Hit Back: Be Your Own Best Boss

 

dark room light people woman kicking film Big Hit Kickboxing Studios That Girl Cartier ThatGirlCartier Fitness Toronto
Photographer: Andrew Branch

Kicking My Own Ass Back to Sanity

Buckle your seat belts and take out your chips and salsa, ’cause it’s about to get real cheesy up in hurr.  If you follow The Toronto Seoulcialite (my other “less sarcastic” blog), you’ll have read about my issues finding a job, finding a man, and finding my figure through the mess of moving back to Canada.  I’ve finally found something which  could be the makings of a career, and a date with myself 3 times a week which gives me structure and an outlet.  Coming back home is like picking up an old, ear-marked book.  The characters are the same and the setting hasn’t changed, but you’re still not exactly sure what will happen to the protagonist next.

girl woman fitness workout gym muscles people back health athlete
Photographer: Scott Webb

Someone Else’s Story

My biggest fear returning to Toronto was that I would be reliving the same old story.  While I was away, several of my friends partnered up, a couple had kids, many got promotions, some went back to school, and my nightmare boss was finally arrested.  Beyond that?  A lot of the people I’ve left are ear-marked – frozen in time right where I left them doing the same old things and just banging their heads against the wall calling it happiness.  I knew I wasn’t happy back in 2014 when I made the decision to begin the arduous application (okay – it was long, but not that tough) to move to Korea.  I couldn’t come home and return to old habits.

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Photographer Scott Webb

Die Hard: With a Vengeance

Old habits die hard.  I ended up moving back to Queen St. West and was working in the events industry when, at last, I found work.  Getting into a rhythm took time, and my physical and emotional health took a hit.  I decided to hit back.  I bought myself a 2 week unlimited introductory pass at Big Hit Kickboxing Studios.  At that time, I was living with a disrespectful roommate who was a neglectful pet owner.  I had no autonomy in my own life.  Looking back, I think that I was committed to my 2 week membership, but not so much to myself.

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Be Your Own Boss (Without Working for Yourself)

I once read that you should treat yourself like the CEO of your own life, and that fitness was a meeting you set with your employees.  Good bosses don’t reschedule again and again.  I wasn’t managing my life properly, nor was I being a good boss to my mental and physical health.  At this point I needed to hit back, but not just for 2 weeks.  Big Hit Kickboxing Studios in Toronto has given me the schedule I need to succeed.

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Be a Good Boss

Proper preparation prevents poor performance.  I’ve set meetings with my very important sanity at least 3 times a week, which is honestly pretty manageable!  After work on weekdays I leave the office between 5 PM and 5:30 PM (I know – my job offers work/ life balance <3) and walk for about 35 – 40 minutes from the office to Big Hit Kickboxing Queen West.  The walk enables me to just zone out and enjoy constant, steady movement while listening to music.  The workout to follow is full of different combinations which challenge my mind and various muscle groups.  Over the next 3 months I’ll be sharing my highs, lows, pounds, and measurements.  Stay tuned for preparation and progress, not perfection.

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Photographer: Aral Tasher

Naked Back-flips

Since getting back on a regular schedule with Big Hit Kickboxing Studios, I haven’t actually lost any weight, but the rest of my body and my life has changed pretty drastically.  My clothes have started to feel different – better.  I don’t crave sweets like I did throughout my unsettled period between my old job and old apartment and now.  I have been on several dates with not one, not two, but 3 different men who actually want to see me again.

When you start physical activity with dedication, dedication spreads throughout your life in different ways.  My posture exudes confidence rather than that fear of failure with which I started.  I’m back to caring about a connection rather than having a fear that I won’t be liked (word to the wise – fear of someone not liking you crushes a connection right off the start).  I don’t really have time for people who aren’t adding to my life in a positive way, so when I make time to see my friends we’re connecting on a much deeper and more enjoyable level.  I also always seem to come back to that old adage: “You can do naked back-flips across his lawn, but if you’re not the one he wants, honey, you’re just not the one he wants”.

people girl boxing gloves fitness exercise work out woman athlete Big Hit Kickboxing Toronto ThatGirlCartier That Girl Cartier
Photographer: Matheus Ferrero

 

Strength, determination, and hope fill the pages of my novel.  I know what comes next in that old, worn out, dog-eared story because I’m writing it now.

Step 1: Breathe, just breathe – Holy Grail Skincare

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Photo: Robert Evans

Korean Holy Grail Skincare: Cleansers Available in Canada

Skincare isn’t this mystifying secret combination of product formulas and equations. It’s actually quite simple to have a skincare regimen that works!  To have clear, flawless, pore-less skin, we’ve got to get back to basics.  This starts with a clean, make-up free face.  With winged liners out the wazoo and Fenty foundation a-flutter, how do you actually get that gunk off you face (and out ya dang pores) at the end of the night?  …and how do you fix the damage from those dreaded nights when you pass out with a full face on?  Love, I have 2 holy grail products for you.

Skincare Good Night Mild Oil Cleanser Cosrx Holy Grail Korean Skin Care Clean it Zero Banila Co.

Banila Co. Clean it Zero

Get a Discount by Buying Through iHerb

Banila Co. is a cosmetics and skincare shop in Korea much like the others.  It’s a bright, airy shop with plenty of cute models shot making goofy faces.  I like their liquid eyeliner, but haven’t tried much in the way of makeup there.  Banila Co. has one item, however, for which I’d trek all over Seoul.  I made sure to pick up the largest container they had before leaving Korea for good.  This skincare holy grail item is the one which takes off the majority of my makeup.  Many Koreans use a double or triple cleansing system because of the pollution, but also because normal make-up removers just can’t get everything off.  I like to begin with the “sorbet” textured product because it takes off the majority of my make-up and cleans out pores.  “Lightweight sorbet-like textured makeup removing cleansing balm that whisks away pore-clogging impurities.  Use the spatula to take a small amount and massage gently in circular motions. Rinse well with lukewarm water, or use tissue to wipe off the balm with gentle strokes.”

Ingredients

Ingredients: Mineral Oil, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, PEG -10Isostearate, Polyethylene, Butylene Glycol, Water, Rubus Suavissimus (Raspberry) Leaf Extract, Bambusa Arundinacea Stem Extract, Aspalathus Linearis Leaf Extract, Viscum Album, (Mistletoe) Leaf Extract, Angelica Polymorpha Sinensis Root Extract, Carica Papaya, (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Malpighia Glabra (Acerola) Fruit Extract, Epilobium, Angustifolium Leaf Extract, BHT, Butylparaben, CI 16255, CI 15985, Fragrance

Skincare Good Night Mild Oil Cleanser Cosrx Holy Grail Korean Skin Care

Cosrx: Good Night Mild Oil Cleanser

Get a Discount by Buying Through iHerb

I got to try the series of Cosrx products when I won a 2-night stay at the new Seoul Novotel Ambassador Dragon City near Yongsan.  I’m such a fan of Accor Hotels, and this stay was even better because my massive bathroom was fully stocked with Cosrx samples.  Some of these samples aren’t even on the market quite yet.  I’m hoping that a glowing review (and my glowing skin) will help Cosrx make the choice to start selling Good Night Mild Oil Cleanser in Korea, and hopefully soon in Canada (or at least on iHerb).  While Clean it Zero can get most of my mascara off, the Cosrx formula makes certain that any hint of CC cream, liquid eyeliner, or mascara is erased.  The formula is really mild.  Unlike other oil cleansers I’ve tried. it doesn’t stick around when I go to rinse it off.

Bad News/ Good News

While the Oil Cleanser doesn’t seem to be on the market quite yet, Good Morning Gel Cleanser is available  online for shipping to Canada.  It is described as: “Start the day right by treating your skin to a mild and gentle cleanser with a low pH that effectively removes excess oil and dead skin. Formulated with tea tree oil and natural BHA to refine skin texture, the Good Morning Gel Cleanser’s pH level is the closest to your skin’s natural pH levels and leaves skin soft, moist and refreshed without stripping it of its natural oils.”

Do you have any cleansers you swear by?  Are the available in Canada (or online to ship here)?  Let us know in the comments!