31 Days Later

31 days ago I committed to drinking at least one smoothie a day for the month of August. I’ll admit that I was primarily motivated by Charissa’s Colourful Smoothie contest. I wasn’t even sure I’d be stick to my goal because I was going away for 11 days and blenders aren’t exactly easy to pack in a suitcase, but after just a few short days of drinking colourful smoothies I found myself craving these produce creations. The challenge quickly turned from hoping to win prizes to wanting to improve my eating habits such as incorporating bigger breakfasts into my diet. I can tell a difference in my energy levels, sugar balance and overall well-being since starting to drink liquid nutrition.Colourful-Smoothie-August-2013-Challenge-Copy-510x253While smoothies can easy pack in unnecessary calories or added sugars, if you stick to a 40:60 ratio of greens to fruit you’ll be sure to have a nutrient dense and tasty beverage. If you ever find spinach to be overpowering, add a banana, more milk or chocolate to mask the flavour! I found myself drinking smoothies for breakfasts and snacks because those were the times I needed to prepare meals that were not only easy to make but quick to clean up. What’s great about smoothies is that they can keep in a refrigerator for up to 3 days so you can make them in advance for times when you are hungry but in a pinch. When I wasn’t in the kitchen I opted to snack on a Starbuck’s Strawberry Vivanno (1/2 the protein, non-fat milk) or the Raspberry Rapture blend from Booster Juice. Charissa also had a lot of low-sugar variations, my favourites being the Wild Blueberry Shake, Lemon Meringue Smoothie and Dark Chocolate Protein Shake.Smoothies 1Most of my combinations included a banana, spinach, skim milk, vanilla protein powder, ice and another fruit such as strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, mango, orange or kiwi! I enjoyed switching it up with the addition of frozen cucumber/peaches instead of ice, cinnamon, cacao powder, shredded coconut, instant coffee granules, vanilla, cottage cheese, silken tofu or even tea (chai or green). For “how-to” breakdown of making smoothies be sure to check out my WIAW: Smoothie Edition post.

Smoothies 3So even though I learned a lot about what does and doesn’t work (complimenting flavours, the ripeness of fruit and blending techniques) I still haven’t quite mastered photographing my creations. Even nice bowls or unique garnishes (fruit sections, oats, cereal, seeds) don’t mask the weird colours created using the most flavourful combinations.

Smoothies 2I really enjoyed this challenge and I hope Charissa makes it an annual event. I can only imagine how much work Charissa put into tracking everyone’s consumption and for that I am truly grateful. ♥ Molly

“Those who think they have no time for healthy eating, will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” – Edward Stanley

August Favourites

Can you believe it is August already? I typically fall culprit to saying that “time flies” at the beginning of a week or month, but I just can’t get over the fact that we are over half way through 2013.

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At the start of July I set a few goals for myself. I am happy to announce that I have accomplished most of them and feel pretty satisfied with the progress I that have made on the others. When I found myself in a pinch as to what to blog about, I fulfilled the objective of creating two DIY posts. I successfully participated in MIMM (#1#2, #3, #4) and WIAW (#1, #2) by adding a personal twist to each! I also really enjoyed commenting on posts as I got to know fellow bloggers on a more personal level. Blogging is a learning curve and I’d love to hear what sorts of posts you enjoy reading or find boring. I really do value the insight some of you share through remarks.

With September fast approaching I am going to cut myself some slack and go easy on my August goals so I am only setting 6 as opposed to 10. After all, I am headed to Myrtle Beach mid-month so I don’t know how much free time I will have between packing for my trip and buying items for residence. I’m also planning on continuing to soak up the sun, stay active and maximize my social gatherings with friends from home before I move away. I’m going to try to pre-write a few posts although I will have my laptop with me on vacation. If anyone would like to do a guest post I’d love to feature your writing. This being said, come September I won’t be able to blog every weekday like I am used to, so I should begin transitioning to fewer posts. It’s hard to practice scaling down because I like sharing my finds, eats and activities on a daily basis. Sigh.

Anyway, it is August which means it is time for some “favourites”. I noticed that I do things a bit backwards by posting my “favourites” at the beginning of the month as opposed to the end (recap format), but I can’t help myself from getting excited about the new fashion trends and cool décor. Here are some items I am hoping to purchase this month!

August Favourites1. Crocheted Fruit Coasters 2. Full Steam Ahead Nail Polish 3. Catherine Street Pippa Purse 4. Instant Mom 5. Anchor Necklace 6. Pinterest 7. Strata Dress 8. Garmin Swim Watch 9. Handwritten Quotes 10. DIY Headband

As for my goals, here are some realistic endeavours I hope to achieve this August:

Blog Goals

  • Editing: My posts have been getting pretty long which I know can be discouraging for followers. Not only are they time-consuming to read but they also take a while to write. I am hoping to cut out unnecessary details so that I am able to focus on improving my grammar and spelling mistakes. The perfectionist in me despises the fact that I always have at least one error in every post. I haven’t been very thorough about re-reading before publishing. This being said I am not an English major, so don’t hold your breath on complete accuracy!
  • Photography: Lately I have been skimping on my photos by using my iPhone instead of my DSLR. Some people can capture great shots with their phones but mine never seem to be in focus. As a result, the quality of my photos is lacking so I would like to get into a routine of bringing my camera with me on more excursions. I am also hoping to read a Food Photography E-Book so that I can become more creative when capturing pictures of my recipes. Even though I have Photoshop I don’t actually know how to use it, so for the month of August I am going to try and learn how to do basic colour enhancing and photo editing. When I began my blog my intent was to showcase more photos than words so to match this desire my posts need to be switched up a little!
  • Schedule: I recently purchased a new agenda and I am going to sit down and pre-plan some blog posts. I want to create a schedule so that each day features a different type of post. This way I can continue to offer posts including DIY projects, Recipes, Nutrition Facts, Everyday Living Topics and even Reviews. Come September I know I will be thankful if I already have a topic for each day of the week. It would become very monotonous if each post was about the same subject or in the same format.

Personal Goals

  • Exercise: On my vacation I will naturally be living a more active lifestyle so I don’t expect to be swimming laps in the ocean. This being said I don’t want to forgo the exercise regime I’ve created this summer so I am going to challenge myself to run on the treadmill or beach even though I am not a natural, fast or very good runner. I would like to focus on increasing my endurance level in running since my swimming stamina is already pretty good. This will also be beneficial come September. It will be a lot easier to run outside or on the treadmill than to try and work around the available free-swim time slots at the gym.
  • School: School used to be my “constant”. It was something that went well despite everything else that was going on in my life. Even when I was dancing 24/7 I managed to keep great grades and stay on top of my homework. People tell me I am “naturally” smart although I am not very confident in my academic abilities. Since I took time off from University I am a bit anxious to return. My intent is to mentally prepare myself so that I don’t go into University with an all-or-nothing mindset. I am used to getting over 90% but I have decided to take this year as a learning curve and to set my standards lower. In reality, first year doesn’t really count towards your final GPA.
  • Nutrition: The reality is I don’t like breakfast. I yearn for the day that I will wake up hungry but I always seem to crave coffee or protein shakes instead. Eggs, bacon, French toast and waffles have never been my thing. I admire the people that can eat cold pizza or dinner food, in the morning! Sure, I enjoy oatmeal but I much prefer eating it as a snack. This month I am participating in a Smoothie Challenge hosted by Charissa from “Colourful Palate” so I hope to have one each morning. Be sure to join in the fun! Lately I’ve been seeing some pretty interesting combinations and I am intrigued to try them for myself (Sweet Potatoes, Avocado, Oats). After all, breakfast is suppose to be the most important meal of the day and with school on it’s way, I need to practice fuelling my body so that my concentration remains is enhanced to it’s peak.Colourful-Smoothie-August-2013-Challenge-Copy-510x253

Well that was long winded and went against my goal of keeping my posts concise. Whoops : ) Happy August! Do you have any travel plans for this month? Have you set any intentions for yourself? What types of posts do you enjoy reading most? Would you like to see more recipes, DIY projects or personal messages? ♥ Molly

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off the goal.” – Henry Ford