Thursday, January 24, 2013

DIY Honey Lemon Lip Exfoliant

It's been cold this week. Like, really cold. So cold that Derek's afraid to let the dogs go out for more than 5 minutes at a time because he doesn't want them to freeze....they're our babies ya know :) It's been so cold that I've been sporting fleecy PJs to bed, with polar fleece socks and microfleece sheets. Did you know that there were so many kinds of fleece? I did. And I love it.

I've pulled out my mitts, my scarves and my new winter coat. You can't go out, not even for a minute, without bundling up in your woolies. I know it's January and that I live in Canada, so I really shouldn't be shocked by this weather, but it's been a long time since we've felt such frigid temperatures and I don't like it one bit. I swear to you that I am a true red & white Canadian, but we live in the southern parts of Ontario and you won't catch me moving north anytime soon. Like never.

This weather has been wreaking havoc on my skin. I moisturize every day, but my hands have been feeling drier everyday and my lips....oh my poor, dry flaky lips. They have been in a sad state my friends. No matter how much lip gloss or chapstick I use, I can't keep them soft and smooth. Yesterday was the final straw. I couldn't stand the sandpaper feeling any longer, so I decided to take action.

Several years ago, I bought a lip exfoliant and conditioner from Mary Kay. These products were the bomb-digity of lip products. They kept my lips smooth and soft all year long. The set was a tad pricey, and while I don't mind paying for quality, I have a hard time blowing my skincare budget on something I can easily make at home. I did a little research on what ingredients work best for smoothing and conditioning my lips and I went to work on making my own homemade version of a lip exfoliant.

Honey Lemon Lip Exfoliant
3 tsp coarse brown sugar (I used organic Sucanat)
3/4 tsp lemon juice
3/4 tsp olive oil
3/4 tsp honey

Mix the lemon juice, olive oil and honey together in a small bowl. Add the brown sugar and mix until it forms a wet paste.

Wash your lips and pat dry.

Gently apply the exfoliant to your lips and leave for 20 - 30 seconds. Using your finger, gently rub the exfoliant in small circles around your lips.

Use warm water to wipe the exfoliant off  your lips and pat dry.

Now I had a picture of my lips covered in the scrub mixture, but it looked like I had the plague, so I decided not to bless your eyes with that sight. If you have any questions about application, just drop me a line :-)

smooth, clean, shiny lips...and yes, I am sporting one of my sexiest fleece PJ tops here ;-)

Now it's time to moisturize!!!

Use your favourite lip balm or chapstick to give your lips an extra boost of moisture and shine.

Um, I've gotta say not only does this exfoliant work amazingly well and it also tastes pretty darn good.  :-D

*Note: The skin on our lips is very delicate, so you should not exfoliate everyday. I exfoliate once or twice (if my lips are REALLY dry) per week. If you are going out for a night on the town and are planning to wear a full coverage lipstick, you should definitely use this exfoliant to ensure a smooth coverage.*

What's your favourite lip moisturizer to use during the cold, dry months?

Do you love the Winter or are you just counting down the days 'til the first day of Spring?

Have a great day,


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pumpkin Protein Bites+ a Plan

Good morning!

I did alot of planning this past weekend when it comes to my upcoming eats and workouts. As I always say, PLANNING = SUCCESS and I'm determined to succeed at my clean eats goals and to get 4 workouts in this week.

Last week was a bit of a bust for us because we've been spending extra time with Derek's dad, who's in the hospital (he's ok - he's just needing a little attention from his doctors) and Dora, our sweet rottie girl, who got spayed last Tuesday. She was a little out of sorts and we wanted to keep a close eye on her as she recovered, plus we thought she deserved a little extra TLC.

In terms of my workouts this week, this is my plan:

Sunday - rest  *food prep day*
Monday - core & zumba
Tuesday - spin & weights (chest & triceps)
Wednesday - rest
Thursday - zumba or the Fitnessista's Booty Burning Walking Workout & weights (back & biceps)
Friday - active rest (long walk with dogs most likely)
Saturday - 90 minutes kundalini yoga

Now when I say I had a food prep day on Sunday, I am not kidding!!! I spent 3 hours planning, shopping and prepping some clean foods for the week. All of my efforts should give us some easy grab 'n go options for busy days this week and I definitely was thankful for my prep work last night when I didn't get home from the gym until 8:15 p.m. I certainly was in no mood to be cooking up a big meal and I loved having healthy, nutritious eats at my fingertips.

I made:

1. 'Cheezy' Broccoli Soup (from the Eat Clean Diet Vegetarian Cookbook)
2. Hard-boiled Eggs (for Derek)
3. Chocolate Peanut Butter Pumpkin Protein Bites
4. Bananarama Protein Pancakes
5. Vegan Mexi-Style Quinoa

My original plan was to make a batch of the Fitnessista's Pumpkin Amazeballs, but I didn't have any natural nut butter at home, so I thought it'd be a tasty twist if I added some Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter instead. Seriously my friends, these turned out to be Ah-Freakin'-Mazing!!! I was so happy that I remembered my measurements, so that I could share this recipe with because you really, REALLY must try it!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pumpkin Protein Bites
Makes 7 1" balls

Inspired by the Fitnessista's Pumpkin Amazeballs

3 tbsp chocolate protein powder
2 tbsp unsweetened coconut
1 tbsp oats
2 tbsp Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp pure pumpkin puree
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

In a small food process, pulse the protein powder, coconut & oats until it resembles a fine powder.

Add the remaining ingredients and process until well mixed.

Using your hands, shape into 1" balls.

Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

P.S. - as long as you use a vegan protein powder, such as Vega, these are VEGAN baby!!

Two of these make a fantastic pre-workout snack. (So you might as well use that 7th bite as your taste tester, since it's clearly the odd man out!!) These are so handy for nights when I go from work straight to the gym. It gives me the energy to push through my workout without wanting to gnaw off my arm when the hunger pangs start.

What's your fave pre-workout snack??

Have a great day!


Food for Thought:

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Source: Pinterest via Gloria Dallas

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Dancing Queen

I love to dance. And I mean LOVE.

I started taking ballet classes when I was a little girl and I continued on with tap and jazz until I was 18.

I gave up classes once I moved out on my own to go to university, but you could often find me out with my girlfriends on the weekends lighting up the dance floor at our favourite clubs until the wee hours of the morning. I spent many Friday nights dancing on the speakers with my bestie, Krista, at our fave dive hotspot singing at the top of our lungs and shakin' our groove thangs like nobody's business :-D

At the time, it was a fun and social activity and I did it because I loved it. Dancing brings me joy. You can express yourself through movement, and for me, it frees my spirit.

Now, I love using dance as my cardio workout a couple of times per week. Who would've thought?! Dancing for the *burn*. Zumba is definitely my favourite dance workout and becoming certified as a zumba instructor is one of my current goals. I go to a class at the Y every Monday night and I look so forward to that one hour where I can just let the stress of the day go and enjoy my time at the gym.

Our instructor at the Y incorporates alot of latin and bellydance moves into her choreography --- whew! talk about working your core!!! --- and I've been thinking that I need to look into adding some new dance classes into my life too.

Have you ever taken a dance fitness class other than zumba before?

Dance is becoming a really popular workout option, not only because it's FUN, but also because there are a ton of positive health benefits that you'll experience when you get a little crazy on the dance floor.  
  • Improves your posture and tightens your core
  • Burns calories!!!
  • Stimulates your mind by memorizing routines and dance steps
  • Increases your flexibility and agility
  • Improves your co-ordination
  • Releases endorphins and promotes a sense of well-being
  • Reduces tension and stress
  • Promotes social interaction
Who wouldn't wanna dance with all of those benefits?!

Have you ever turned your workout into a dance party? What's your fave dance-themed workout?

Have a great day!


Inspiration for the Day:

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Baked Cinnamon Pear Steel Cut Oats

Oatmeal is quickly becoming my breakfast obsession for the winter of 2012-13. I really don't remember what I did before I discovered the awesomeness that is steel cut oats. They're so versatile and I've been finding myself making all sorts of oatmeal concoctions in the slow cooker, on the stove top and now baked up in a warm and delicious casserole.

This, my friends, is what comfort food for breakfast looks like.  I decided to change things up a bit because I've been obsessively cooking with pumpkins and apples since September, so pears were my fruit of choice this time 'round. I combined fresh pears with cinnamon and Sucanat and the result was an ooey gooey fruit explosion tucked away under a hearty oatmeal topper.

Baked Cinnamon Pear Steel Cut Oats
Serves 4 - 5

2 large pears, chopped
2 tsp cinnamon
1 c steel cut oats
2 c almond milk (or soy milk, coconut milk, dairy milk)
3 tbsp Sucanat (or brown sugar)
1 tsp vanilla
pinch sea salt

Preheat your oven to 400 and grease a medium-sized casserole dish.

Place the chopped pears in a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of the Sucanat and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon. Mix until the pears are well coated and pour into the bottom of the casserole dish.

Sprinkle the steel cut oats over the pears.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, the remaining cinnamon, Sucanat and vanilla. Pour over the oats and pears.

Cover your dish and bake for 45 to 55 minutes until the liquid is absorbed.

Ooey gooey goodness.

Top your oatmeal with your fave toppings such as maple syrup, chopped walnuts, coconut or raisins. My favourite way was to top it with some plain non-fat Greek yogourt drizzled with just a teeny weeny bit of maple syrup or honey.   

Store the leftovers in your refrigerator and re-heat in the microwave for a quick, CLEAN and healthy weekday breakfast.

What's your favourite oatmeal topping?

Have a great day,


Friday, January 11, 2013

Winter Workouts - Keep Active, Keep Motivated

Hi! Are you as happy to see Friday as I am ?!

This first full week back to work has been L-O-N-G!!!!

Luckily, it looks like we're going to have a pretty lowkey weekend. We have tickets to go cheer on the London Knights (GO KNIGHTS GO!) and I'm planning to go to yoga tomorrow morning, but other than that I'm on no kind of schedule until Monday. {Bliss!!}

I am definitely one of those people who tends to go into 'hibernation-mode' in the winter. It's dark when I get up in the morning and it's starting to get dark by the time I get home from work and I find that my energy is totally zapped by the time dinner is done and cleaned up. This can make it very difficult to find the motivation to get anything accomplished in the evenings, especially a good workout. If I go to the gym right after work, I'm good, but if I go home first, I'm totally setting myself up for failure because once I get home, I do not want to leave the house again.

It's not exactly the winter blues, I just hate going back out into the cold after I've come in and decompressed for the day. Instead of beating myself up about missing the gym, I've been pinning different circuit workouts and treadmill or elliptical workouts like crazy on my Workouts/Run board. I've also decided to take a crack at making up some of my own circuit workouts to do at home. As soon as I get home from work, I tie up the sneakers and get to business. By 6:30 p.m., my workout is done, dinner's started and I still have time to obsessively watch Season 1 of Homeland snuggle with Derek and the pups before bed.

I do love the gym and prefer to do most of my workouts there, but on the evenings when I just can't get myself back out the door, these circuits have been doing the trick.

Here is one that I did this week that I really enjoyed. My biceps and triceps were aching from a workout that I did earlier in the week, so I decided to focus on my core and lower body. It took just under 30 minutes and I definitely felt the*burn* (V-Sits kill me). I used 5lb weights when I did the lunges and squats to make it a little more challenging, but you don't need weights to get results.

(Click on workout to get a larger image)

*Before you go trying out a workout that I've put together, I want to note that I am not a certified personal trainer or trained expert in fitness. This is simply a workout that I put together for myself that I enjoyed and thought you might enjoy as well. Please make sure that you check with your family doctor before you start a new exercise or nutrition program, and most importantly, listen to your body.*

Do you have any tips on how to stay motivated through the cold winter months?

Enjoy the day and have a fabulous weekend!
I will see you on Sunday with some pictures from the week.


Food for Thought:

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday ~ Clean Eats

Good morning! Happy Wednesday.

Whew, it's been a looonnnggg time since I've come around these parts to share a day in the life of my eats. I'm sure many of you shared amazing holiday treats and sweets over the past few weeks, but I was so busy stuffing my face with said treats that I didn't read a single WIAW post or snap a single pic!

I enjoyed all of my eating indulgences over the holiday season, but I have to admit that I'm pretty happy to get back into a healthier eating routine ( oh so snug pants are pretty happy too!). 

As you know, I'm really excited to be using The Eat Clean Diet and Vega's Thrive Forward program as my inspiration as I start the journey to clean eating. I've been using The Eat Clean Diet Vegetarian Cookbook ALOT since Christmas (thanks to my fab hubs who bought it for me!).

Here's a peek at a day in the life of my eats:


I made an AWESOME Baked Cinnamon Pear Steel Cut Oats casserole on Sunday and I've been enjoying leftovers every morning since. I love it topped with plain non-fat Greek yogourt and a drizzle of pure maple syrup.

*recipe for this coming VERY soon*


Brown baggin' it is absolutely the way to go. I've been going to the gym right after work, so I bring lunch and lots of snacks to work with me. This was Monday's lunch: leftover Festive Sweet Potato Salad, clementines, two plain brown rice cakes with 1/3 of an avocado to smash ;-) on them later, 2 light Babybel cheese rounds (leftovers from Christmas) and a sample of chai guarana  tea that came with an order of  David's tea.


These open-faced english muffin pizzas came straight out of The Eat Clean Diet Vegetarian Cookbook. It's fast and delish! As a side, I made some parsnip fries with dijon for dippin'.

Not too shabby, right?!

What have you been munching on now that the holidays are behind us?

If you're looking for more healthy meal inspiration as we jump feet first into 2013, make sure you head on over to Peas & Crayons to see what other bloggers have been feasting on.

Have a GREAT day!


Monday, January 7, 2013

Thriving Forward

Hi! Happy Monday!!

How was your weekend? Saturday was a good mix of everything I love in a weekend: kundalini yoga in the morning followed by coffee with the girls, groceries, tidying up the house and then chillaxin' with a movie. Derek was out with friends, so I had the house to was kinda nice to have a lonely girl night!

On Sunday, I slept in 'til 10 a.m.! It was absolutely blissful!!! I had a family reunion and potluck in the afternoon, so I spent the rest of the morning whipping up my Festive Sweet Potato Salad - I added a chopped apple and it was fantastic - and Tosca Reno's Ooey Gooey Banana Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding. Both of these dishes are healthy AND clean and I got lots of compliments on both. WIN!!! I had just enough salad left to bring with me to work today and this was all the bread pudding I brought home ----- um, it didn't quite make it 'til today ;-)

As you may recall from my post last week, one of my goals was to fully embrace the Eat Clean Diet. So far, I'm doing great and I already notice a difference in how my body feels. My stomach no longer feels bloated and unsettled like it did over the holidays when I was enjoying every sweet treat and cheese tray that was passed my way.

To compliment my clean eating goals, I've also signed up to follow the Thrive Forward program that's been developed by Brendan Brazier (creator of Vega).

This is a FREE online program, personalized to your interests and goals, that will show you how to improve your health through plant-based nutrition. Now I'm a vegetarian, so this is  perfect for me, but this program will still provide a wealth of information for you meat eaters too!! The program includes written e-books, video lessons, email tips, recipes, meal plans and tons of really valuable information to kickstart your journey to a clean eating lifestyle. Now, I feel like I already 'get' the general idea of how to eat clean, but what I really, really love about this program is that it touches on so many other topics such as longevity, sleep, stress, libido, weight, sustainability, etc. When you sign up for the program, you are asked to select three topics most relevant to your interests - I did that - but I will definitely be reading EVERYTHING because there is just so much information about the way food and nutrition affect all aspects of our lives.

If you're interesting in checking out the Thrive Forward program, it's not too late! Click here and sign up today. Let me know what you think - we can support each other as we clean up our diets and become the best we can be!!

Food for Thought:

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What is something that you're 110% committed to right now?
Have a great day my friends,

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Year, New Goals

Well Happy New Year my friends! How was your holiday season? I hope it was filled with loved ones and fun times and lots of wonderful memories.

Our December was really busy and I was really happy to have some time off of work to rest up and recharge with the ones that I love most. I started back to work yesterday and I have to admit that it's kind of nice to get back into a routine.

While I was off, I found myself thinking about what I wanted to say to you all about my goals for the upcoming year. I don't "do" resolutions because I think the word just sets us up for failure. I prefer to set attainable, realistic goals that I can work towards. They may be easy to achieve or an ongoing work in progress all year long. Resolutions on the other hand usually get ditched by mid-January.

 I didn't do a fabulous job at meeting my goals last year. I set a big list up on January 1st and then they got pushed under a bunch of papers in my office never to be seen again.

This year I've decided to break things down a little better in the hopes of setting myself up for success. I do have some BIG goals for the year, but I also want to keep focused by setting daily, weekly and monthly goals, so I can feel like I'm constantly moving forward instead of getting stuck in a rut with no idea where I should be heading.

I'm sure my list of goals is going to change as time passes, but as of today, this is what my goals are lookin' like:

BIG Goals for 2013
*Get involved in a charity - I participate in a few fundraisers, but am not a passionate supporter of any one charity. I really want to get involved with one of the cancer societies, a breakfast club or an animal rescue.

* Re-organize & re-decorate each room in my house - I'm ready for a change.

*Pursue freelance writing opportunities. - As you know, I did two pieces for and I really enjoyed creating material for an online publication that I personally enjoy. I am hoping to make connections with more of my favourite publications this year.

*Make a budget, stick to it and start growing our nest egg into something more substantial.

*Continue working on the blog. - I'd like to work on improving my photography skills this year and maybe, just maybe, get my own unique design layout????

Goals for January
*Fully embrace the Eat Clean Diet. - I have the vegetarian cookbook, I'm ready for the change after a very indulgent holiday and I know the concept. No excuses, I'm going to "JUST DO IT"!

*Workout 4 days per week. - Remember back when I was working out 5, 6 & 7 days per week while following the LiveFit trainer?! Well those days are long gone ---- I didn't work out once over the holidays (unless playing Just Dance 4 with my 5 year old neice counts?!) and I feel like a bit of a lazy ass.

*Start planning and budgeting the reno of our bathroom. - It's the only room in the house that we haven't done anything to and it's just plain nasty.

*Plan 4 date nights per month with Derek. - I need more quality time with my man.

*Clean out my kitchen cupboards. - Seriously, does a family of 2 people really need 18 mugs; especially since one of those people does not drink coffee or tea?! I am going to purge my cupboards, donate my discards to the local Salvation Army and clean my kitchen from top to bottom.

Because I'm a visual person, I love the idea of creating a vision board to keep sight of all of my goals. If you've been a long-time follower here on Vegvacious, you've probably seen me say that I'm going to create a vision board many times. It has yet to happen {womp womp} I saw that the Fitnessista created a virtual vision board on Pinterest and I totally copied her because it's easy and it's clean --- trust me, I can leave glue and sparkles in the strangest of places when I get into a crafy kinda mood. If you'd like to see what my board looks like so far, check it out here.

Do you have any goals or resolutions for 2013?

Have a great day,