what are you eating?

Grocery shopping, cooking, and going out for dinner are a few things I like to do. I don’t mind grabbing groceries if the store isn’t super busy. Cooking is fun and gives me the chance to experiment and be creative. And going out for dinner is always fun. I love checking out new spots and I enjoy the social aspect of meeting up with friends or family. It’s fun to chat over a nice meal that you didn’t cook and won’t have to clean up after. Personally, I don’t think I am eating what I should be and as often as I should.

Currently

I don’t have a set routine when it comes to eating. For the most part I eat at home. Honestly, I have never really been the breakfast type person. I can’t remember making breakfast before going to school. If I eat in the mornings it’s always something quick like a smoothie bowl, a piece of fruit or a breakfast bar of some sort. Weekends are a different story, I like to cook up home fries and bacon and sip on a warm cup of tea or coffee. But this is something I want to change. I want to get into a routine that will help me eat more frequently and better than I have been. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I am fat. If anything, I want to gain healthy weight. I’ve always been small so this is nothing new. For the past week or so I have been waking up early before work. I’ve started to do this so I can actually make and eat breakfast at home. So far, it’s been great. I am saving money since I am not buying a coffee on the go. I’ve seen my energy levels increase since I am not over sleeping as much and now I am getting some nutrition first thing in the morning. All these factors are helping me have a better day overall.

Since starting Invisalign six weeks ago, I’ve been trying to adjust and find an eating routine that works for me. Before, I would skip breakfast. Maybe have a small snack at the office and then I would eat a big lunch around 4pm. Around 6pm I would be hungry again and I’d make a big dinner. Soon after dinner, my sugar cravings would start. I will binge eat anything with sugar in it. I’m talking spoonfuls of peanut butter, again, anything with sugar in it. I’d buy a chocolate bar or a bag of candy and demolish it in one sitting, quickly. Because, well, I’ve got to get those Invisalign trays back it!

Moving forward

With that being said, I know I need to make some changes. By going “public,” with this post I think I’ll be more motivated to stick to it. I want to start eating a bigger breakfast, a small snack before lunch, a balanced lunch and an ideal dinner. Something else I need to keep in mind is portion sizes. See, cooking for one can be hard when it comes to portions. Like one large carrot can be a lot, same with a large parsnip or a potato. Even while dining out; portion sizes are often huge. Have you had fish and chips recently? More fish and less chips please.

I was a vegetarian in middle school and I’m positive I didn’t eat right then either. I want to be more mindful of what I am eating and when I am eating it. The things that I want to start paying more attention to include how much sugar I am consuming and what the overall nutritional value is. You’d be shocked to know how many things are sold at the grocery store that have little to no nutritional value yet are loaded with sugar and calories. So stay tuned for more food related posts! I’ll be sharing some of my meal ideas as per usual.

product review: the BARK’N FUN company

If you have been following my blog, you likely know that I have a dog. Her name is Ellie and she is just over a year old. Ellie is a Boston Terrier/French Bulldog mix with a ton of personality. Not only is she full of sass but she is too smart for her own good. She loves going in the water, long walks, socializing with humans and with other dogs. However there is nothing in the world she loves more than treats and toys.

I was really excited to hop on a call with Danielle, the owner of The BARK’N  FUN Company to discuss working together. Not only do I appreciate how hard of a worker Danielle is. She is running her subscription box company primarily on her own. I also really liked how she is only a short drive from my house. At first I didn’t realize they were based out of Courtice but after talking for a while that came up and this made me want to work with the brand even more. Currently, the service is only available in Canada.

So here’s what was included in the box we received.

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Toys
I have a love-hate relationship with buying toys for Ellie. She destroys most toys within five minutes and let me tell ya, toys aren’t cheap! I do my best to get her the durable and tough toys but that girl impresses me with her predator skills.

The BARK N’ FUN Company subscription box I received had four toys.  First, the “knot-ical tuff double tug” rope which is lime green – she loves ropes and even knows what “go get your rope” means. The second toy, a “skinneez” which contains 19; yes 19 squeakers and no stuffing! Yay for no stuffing but squeakers are super annoying to me. I hate squeaker toys – so Ellie is lucky when she gets one. I have to admit, I limit the time she has with the squeaker toys.. sorry Ellie. The first toy I gave her was the “beyond tough criss-cross” it’s a durable and soft dog toy that she had a lot of fun with. It just wasn’t durable enough for Ellie though! The last toy is my favourite of the bunch. It’s a little piglet made by Pride Bites. This one floats when it needs to, is durable and yes, it contains a squeaker.

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Treats
I am pretty strict on what treats I give Ellie. I mean, I’m not like over the top crazy but I’m also not the type to give her a full sugar coated Timbit. Ever since I’ve had her, I have been buying the Benny Bully liver treats for her. She loves them just as much as she loves fresh rotisserie chicken and carrots!

The BARK N’ FUN Company box came with three bags of treats. All three bags are from the same company, FeelGood Treats. They are also a Canadian company. 2/3 bags were grain-free treats which is great because I feed her grain-free food. The larger of the three bags is the Trail Blazin’ bits. They were pretty limited in ingredients and are made with goat – so that was a plus. The box also includes two bags of their Teeny Treats. One was grain-free, the other was not. The Teeny Treats are hand made in BC from all natural ingredients. I sprinkled a little bit of these on her kibble since they were so little – she loved ’em! A plus about the treats is that they all contain no preservatives.

You can imagine how excited Ellie was to receive her own “blogger mail,” I know she was excited to be spoiled with a mixture of treats and toys. This box retails for $36.99 which isn’t bad seeing as I’ve paid $18 for a single dog toy before. Dog toys aren’t cheap and neither are quality treats, especially ones that are made with healthy and nutritious ingredients. That being said, they do have boxes available from $34.99 up to $46.00. You can specify the gender of the dog, the size and the age. Not only does The BARK N’ FUN Company have subscription boxes but you can shop their boutique for treats, toys, dog tags and apparel too.

I wrote a guest blog post on The BARK N’ FUN Company blog. The post is all about massages for dogs and how you can do one at home. You can view that by clicking here.

update on the invisalign journey

So time is going by quick and I love Invisalign for the most part. I am on tray 3/30 so I still have a while to go. Every two weeks I change my trays, which I would say is perfect timing. The hardest part for me has been trying to get over frequent snacking. I love snacking at work and in the evening but since I have to (at least) brush my teeth and floss after I eat, I am now less interested in snacking. Not only do I clean my teeth after I eat, but I need to clean my trays too. When it comes to switching to my next tray, I do so before I go to sleep. If I pop a pain reliever then I don’t wake up from the pain as my teeth settle into the new aligners. The next day is usually not bad, but the day after I find my teeth are a bit tender as they adjust.

I have a few staple items that help make the process a bit easier and more bearable. First, I have the pain relief roll on from Saje. This stuff helps relief any aches in my jaw, I roll it under my ears; around my jaw line towards my chin. The first two days I find the process to remove my trays a bit difficult. This is because my teeth are snug into the aligners, making them slightly difficult to take out. So to reduce the amount of times I remove my trays each day, I use the crave away relief roll on from Saje. This helps to reduce cravings and gives me a little boost when I need it. Another item from Saje that I have has helped me as I go through the Invisalign journey is their best breath spray. It’s a sweet breath freshener. I know that having trays in all day can’t be helping my breath.. although I think I over do it with cleaning my teeth and my trays, I like to have this on hand.

As far as any concerns I’ve had, my first tray started to lift at the back on one side after a week. I called my dentist and they said this wouldn’t be anything to worry about. The next tray fit fine. The top tray on my third/current aligner doesn’t cover one of the back molars but speaking to others that I know who have Invisalign and with my dentist, this is nothing to worry about either. In a week I will go back to the dentist for a routine cleaning, to pick up a few more aligners and fr some more IPR done. I’m not looking forward to that (see my last Invisalign post here if you’re unsure what IPR is) but it should be the last time I’ll have to get any IPR done. If you’re thinking of starting Invisalign or have any questions send me an email or direct message me on Instagram.

cooking for one // side dishes

When it comes to cooking, I feel like we fall into a couple categories. Either you love cooking, you hate cooking, or you just don’t know how to cook. I’ve been lucky enough that both my mom and my dad were always cooking while growing up. They also both welcomed me and my sister in the kitchen. I mean after all, who wouldn’t mind an extra pair of hands to help with shredding cheese, cutting up veggies or even just helping to set the table or get the water boiled?

When it comes to side dishes, there is so much you can do! Hopefully this list will inspire you to cook something different than your go to regulars. I always like to try new things but at the same time; I am always hesitant. I don’t want to waste the food or my money if I don’t like it. But the risk is always worth it when you find something new that you really enjoy!

1. Parsnip
Okay, so I recently introduced myself to parsnip because of my love for root veggies. I saw them at the grocery store and they aren’t too expensive. I’ve been trying to limit the amount of potatoes I eat because I loveeeee potatoes no matter how they are prepared. Parsnip is a sweeter vegetable – similar to a carrot. I typically roast them with a bit of oil and play around with different seasonings such as garlic, pepper, cayenne or whatever else I am feeling. Just a bit of butter and a sprinkle of salt and pepper are great too! I also like to mix both carrot and parsnip together as a side dish.

2. Sweet potato
So I’ve always got a stock of sweet potatoes at home. There is so much you can do with them – just like a regular potato. If I am cooking something in the oven then I will just rinse a sweet potato and pop it in the oven to cook for about 45 minutes. This is like a baked potato. I also love roasting these just like I do with my parsnip. However, I am a sucker for different types of dips. I love jalapeño cheddar, spicy mayo, hot sauce, plum sauce, thai sauce; you name it! But when it comes to sweet potatoes, nothing is better than preparing them like fries in the oven. Coating them in a bit of olive oil and seasoning and then dipping them in chipotle dipping sauce is amazing! I am about to drool just thinking about it..

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3. Garlic mashed red potatoes
I actually made these recently for the first time in a while and damn they were good. Although not the healthiest, they are easy enough to prepare and make for a nice comfort food. I wash them up and then cut off the odd marks or “flaws” on each one. I like to leave a bit of the skin on though. Then I just boil the chunks of red potato in some water for about 10 minutes. Once they are cooked through, I strain them to get rid of the water. Then you add the good stuff – milk, butter, minced garlic and a bit of pepper. Mash them up and serve! Super easy.

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4. Brussels sprouts
If you don’t like brussels sprouts than you’re not preparing them right. I buy baby brussels sprouts – usually the frozen bag from Presidents Choice. If I am using the BBQ to grill my meat then I love to make brussels on the BBQ. If not, I’ll roast them in the oven just like I do with my root veggies. Cooking them on the BBQ is easy, I just boil them for a bit first since they were frozen. Then I wrap them in tin foil after adding some butter, garlic, salt and pepper with them. The BBQ gets them a little crispy on the outside and I love that.

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5. Rosemary potatoes
Yes I know, I already included potatoes but there is just too many things you can do. After all, I really do love potatoes. But these are worth sharing. First I’ll boil the potatoes so they are cooked through. Then I’ll fry them quickly just to get a little bit of crunch to the outside of them. Once they are starting to brown in the oil, I’ll add a bit of rosemary to the pan. The flavour combination is something I really enjoy.

6. Roasted beets
Growing up my mom was always pickling stuff. Making her own dill pickles (which are unreal) or making pickled beets for example. I never got into the pickled beets but recently I tried roasted beets at home. They weren’t bad at all! The worst part is peeling and cutting up the beets – but I find all root vegetables are hard to cut for the most part. Luckily for me, I just got a new knife set. Anyways, I roasted the beets in the oven in a glass dish with a bit of butter and salt and pepper. This was worth making again – but definitely hasn’t replaced my love for parsnip, carrots, or sweet potatoes.

Of course, I also love making rice or quinoa as sides. There is so much you can do with them both. Other staples that I have on hand for quicker and easier side dishes include corn, broccoli, peas, and green beans.

essential items you need

As I get older (wow.. 23 years old – so old, I know) I have definitely started to care more about keeping my skin hydrated, clean and protected. I never had bad acne growing up. Of course I would get the odd pimple or two, but nothing that made me insecure about my skin. I do however have freckles. I think this is why I never really did much with my face other than clean it in the shower once a day but that routine has slowly evolved. Now I always moisturize my face with some sort of face lotion after I shower or wash my face. I really like Clean & Clear’s Dual Action Moisturizer. Not only does this product keep my skin hydrated but it also helps fight acne. I’m also a fan of the Dove Men + Care face lotion. I’ve compiled a list of products that will help keep you looking your best and protect you, especially in this cold weather.

I’m a huge fan of oil absorbing sheets. These help remove excess oil from your face. Aka, that glistening shine from that one time you break a sweat through out the day. I don’t have an overly oily face, but they are still a must have.  I have used these for years and have nothing but the best to say about these sheets. I picked up the Equate (Walmart brand) version since they were out of the Clean & Clear ones last time I went to restock. They work just as good!

Protecting your lips is always good. Peeling, cracking and dry lips are something none of us want to experience. Drinking more water will help with this, but you need to help protect your lips with a lip balm or lip chap. Lip balm keeps your lips moisturized and will help protect them against cold winds and the sun’s UV. Don’t buy the cheapest lip balm on the shelf. I personally enjoy Burt’s Bees beeswax lip balm.

Another key item to share is natural deodorant. For some reason, I seem to have sensitive arm pits. Some brands have caused me pain and discomfort and I really don’t know why. I’m sure it’s because of the unnecessary additives you’ll find in a lot of the deodorants available today. About a year ago I picked up the au natural crystal fresh deodorant stick from Saje. There is no scent and you have to run the stick under water before each application, so that can be annoying. Although if you want a scent, you can add a drop of an essential oil to the stick before applying it. I don’t get any irritation from this product though, so I would suggest looking into a natural deodorant if you haven’t already made the switch.

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Since I mentioned Saje, I need to include their Immune germ and virus fighting remedy. I use this every few days and luckily I haven’t had a cold or the flu since. This natural roll on uses eucalyptus, cinnamon and tea tree to relieve protect against the flu, colds and even coughs.

You’ve probably seen the variety of L’Oreal Paris Pure Clay Cleansing Masks available online. I recently picked up the three mineral clay + charcoal mask. Everyone loves a face mask. Guys, if you aren’t doing them; you’re missing out. It’s no shocker that over time environmental factors will damage your skin leaving complexion dull and tired looking.  This mask is made with kaolin, montmorillonite, moroccan clays and is then enhanced with charcoal. Over time using this mask will even out your skin tone and clean out any impurities that have built up from dirt and pollution.

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For now the eyes. Honestly, I have wrinkles when I smile big. I know everyone does, but I swear mine are next level. Maybe I am just too insecure but I’ve taken steps to ensure that my eyes don’t age me quicker than I’d like. I use the Anti-Fatigue Eye Serum by Clarins for Men as an overnight treatment for my eyes. A little bit goes a long way and you just lightly dab the serum around your eye lids. This helps to reduce bags, dark circles and the overall fatigue look that comes with getting older. I also picked up a protective eye cream from Jeunesse. This specific cream is from their dead sea treatment collection. This product is key to providing the much needed moisture to the area around my eyes which help to reduce and prevent any damage to the skin around my eyes.

Hopefully you’ve found some products that you might be able to add to your beauty routine. These are all pretty basic essentials that will help keep your skin hydrated, clean and protected.

 

product review: popsocket phone clip

Yay! Another product review. This product was part of a giveaway my friends Somewhere With Us (a travel blog/Instagram account) had going on their Instagram account last month. Since learning about the PopSocket, I’ve seen a ton of these neat little gadgets on Instagram. Emma Roberts, Jared Leto, Maisy Stella and Gigi Hadid are only some of the celebrities who have shown their Pop Socket’s off on social media. So what is a PopSocket? A PopSocket is a unique clip that lets you get a better grip of your phone or tablet. The PopSocket also acts as a stand for your device. There are two pieces to one.

One is more of a holder piece, see below. This has a sticky (reusable) adhesive that you can attach to your car’s interior for hands-free talking, or to help navigate on your next road trip. You stick that where ever you pick. Some people even have them on their fridge for when they are watching cooking videos and trying a new recipe. The possibilities are endless. I’ve yet to attach it anywhere, but will likely put it in my car.

The second part is what you attach to the back of your phone, or phone case. It also “pops” out when you pull it – kind of like an accordion. PopSockets work on most cases, unless you have a really texturized or silicone case for your device. At first I put mine right onto my iPhone – over top the Apple logo. It didn’t sit where I wanted it to, so I removed it and moved it a bit lower. To be honest, it was a little tough to get off. I think that’s a good thing though, you don’t want it to fall off easily. When I removed it to reposition it, there was no mark or sticky substance left behind. I put my case on my phone and then put my PopSocket on the back of my case.

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They come in a ton of different designs. The ones I received were custom ones that Somewhere With Us had made up. It’s a neat, affordable way to get a better grip on your phone. This makes taking selfies easier and doubles as a stand while watching videos on your device. At first I couldn’t figure out how to use the PopSocket but after watching some videos online I figured it out and how easy they actually are to use. The best part is that they are reusable, you don’t have to worry about switching devices or removing your PopSocket.

songs for your playlist // 002

New music from artists I love is something I always look forward to. For those that don’t know, I went to school for Music Business Management at Durham College. This program is really the only program that focuses on the business side of the industry while touching on key topics such as live sound reinforcement, event management and includes a variety of workshop courses that give you real life experience working behind the scenes. So yeah, I do love music and I do love business. Putting them together for an advanced diploma was super fun to study. And music news is definitely something I like to spend my time focusing on. I have a special interest in music marketing and large scale events such as festivals. On my last blog, my roomies and I would reach out to PR agencies and interview emerging artists. We sent through our questions via email and then showcased one artist per month with a special post on the homepage of our blog. I also like curating playlists as a way to share music with others, so I thought I’d do that every so often. This will be the second playlist.

Take a listen, I’ve included various artists and genres – so there is likely something for everyone.

1. Shape of You – Ed Sheeran

2. Castle on the Hill – Ed Sheeran

3. Don’t Leave – Snakehips ft. MØ

4. Drinkin’ Too Much – Sam Hunt

5. Tempted – Jazz Cartier 

6. Us – USS

Let me know what you thought of this little mix and if you’d like to see more curated playlists. Let’s chat, follow @boywhoblogs on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

should you get a dog?

It has been over a year now that I’ve had my very own dog. Raising a puppy was literally on my bucket list. Cruising through online classified ads is how I found “ellie,” my boston terrier/french bull dog mix. This dog is energetic, sassy and smart – kind of like me. 😉 After lots of research, I thought I wanted to get a french bulldog. But when I came across the photo online of ellie and her sister, I knew I found the right match for me.

Before I arranged to meet the lady who was selling her, I did a ton of research. I looked online for the best types of dog food, more information on the breed, some training tips, and anything else I could read or watch online before making the next step. Everyone has a different lifestyle and this is a big factor on if you should get a dog or not.

For me, I work pretty set hours through out the week. I don’t go out often during the week after work, so I am able to give ellie the time and attention she needs. Another positive is that I am able to bring her to work with me when I need to. I don’t everyday because I feel guilty having to take her out for bathroom breaks and for having to keep an eye on her when I am working. But it’s awesome that I can bring her in with me. For example, if I know I am going to be going out after work then I’ll bring her. This way, she isn’t alone all day and night.

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ellie likes to run and loves to play. Luckily, she is a small dog and wouldn’t require as much exercise as a big dog. I have to walk her everyday, but with Winter here – she doesn’t like to walk as much. If you live in a condo or somewhere with out a backyard, maybe a bigger dog isn’t the best idea. Another thing to keep in mind is the financial commitment that comes along with owning a dog. I saved money up before getting her. I knew I needed to cover the cost of not only the dog but all the expenses that come with it. Can you afford to spay/neuter? Can you pay for the vet bills that come along with owning a dog, especially a puppy? What happens if there is an emergency, can you handle that bill? For me, I always keep a chunk of money safe in case anything happens to her. It’s also a good idea to consider pet insurance. Also, having a credit card (that isn’t maxed out) is reassuring for me.

Not only do you have to be mindful of the vet bills, but remember you need to purchase leashes, collars, toys, likely a crate, treats and food. The list doesn’t end there.. be mindful of other things like bags for poop and the cost of anything they might chew or break too. I was lucky that ellie hasn’t been a big chewer. As long as she has a chew toy, my stuff is pretty safe.

Something else to consider is where will your dog go if you want to go away for a night, or for a week? Can you bring your dog to family events like Christmas or Thanksgiving? I leave town for two weeks in the Summer for work, but my family has always been there to watch her overnight at their places. Would you be comfortable with/can you afford a dog sitter or a boarding kennel? These are only some things to consider before getting a dog.

I have to say, being a dog owner has been awesome for me. I love how excited she gets when I see her. She is well behaved around other people and with other dogs – but she’s still a puppy. I was lucky to have a super easy housetraining process with her. Even though I said I would never get a dog in the Winter, last Winter I took her out every hour for the first week or two so that she wouldn’t have any accidents in the house. I love dressing her up in fun clothes and costumes too. Best of all, I love having a personal heating pad to keep me warm and to cuddle up with when I am lazy, hung over or tired.

If you recently got a dog, or are thinking of getting one then check out my post on Raising a Puppy. You can also follow ellie on Instagram: @elliethefroston

cooking for one // southwest tacos

It’s taco tuesday! And if you haven’t tried corn tortillas, today is the day to pick them up from the grocery store. I buy the smaller sized tortillas and put three right on the rack in the oven to get them a little bit crunchy before dressing them up with all the fixings for a tasty dinner idea. I’ve also just put the tortillas on a frying pan as is and let them get that same crunch. These tacos are a nice change from traditional tacos with beef, cheese, lettuce, tomato and your seasoning and salsa/sour cream. To make these, I experimented with some things I wanted to use up in my kitchen.

I used ground turkey, but beef would be great too, and prepared it just like you would any ground meat you were using for tacos. I buy the taco seasoning that comes in a package because it’s convenient and quick. The first step is to brown the meat up with a little bit of diced up onions in a frying pan. Once the meat is brown, drain the grease from it and add water and the taco seasoning in. You’ll let this simmer until the water disappears leaving your meat full of flavour.

Instead of using iceberg lettuce or romaine hearts, I used a salad-type mixture with cabbage, kale, shredded carrots and a tiny bit of radish in it. This totally helps shred time off the preparation by avoiding the cutting and cleaning that you would regularly have to do with a head of lettuce.

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I added some more veggies. I had some frozen corn, so I popped a handful of kernels in a bowl with water and then microwaved this so the corn wouldn’t be cold or frozen on the taco. I drained the corn and added it on top of the salad mixture. Next, I cut some thin pieces of an orange bell pepper to add some more flavour and a little bit of crunch to it. Once the meat is done, throw it on top and then of course, top it off with some shredded cheese. I like marble cheese personally. For sauces, I added some hot sauce and a bit of BBQ Ranch dressing.

This was quick and easy, perfect to try for Taco Tuesday!