My experience with HelloFresh

Disclaimer, I should start off by telling you I am a terrible cook. I burn rice, I overcook fish, don’t even ask me what sauté is. My go to meal is mac and cheese.  I am hopeless in the kitchen, or at least that is what I thought.

This year, I decided that even though I am no Gordon Ramsey I wanted to start to develop some basic cooking skills. With an upcoming wedding I wanted to start eating healthier, with a new house I wanted to save money by cooking at home, and with a fiancé that is a whiz in the kitchen I wanted to contribute more. It was time.

However I was off to a bad start when I realized how overwhelming the dark web can be. Millions of “simple” recipes that require dozens of ingredients and endless marinating hours. Just when I had accepted that Uber Eats would continue bankrupting me monthly I was told by a friend to check out HelloFresh.

Discovering HelloFresh

HelloFresh delivers “cook from scratch” fresh meal plans straight to your door. What I liked about the idea of their meals, is that they also provide you with easy-to-follow recipe cards. The cards have step by step instructions and all the delicious ingredients pre-portioned ready to go. I also loved that the meals were quick to make (the ones I chose took about 30 minutes), and you know everything that is going into your meal so you know that it is not just delicious but also healthy.

So many options to fit your needs 

After doing some more research I found out that there are so many different options with HelloFresh, so it is easy to find something that fits your food preferences and budget.  You can order the Pronto Plan, which provides you with 3-4 quick, easy, and delicious recipes for 2-4 people. For the vegetarians there is the Veggie Plan, which offers three amazing vegetarian recipes. The third option is one for the kids too, the Family Plan makes sure the little ones will enjoy their meals and maybe even want to help out in the kitchen. It offers 3-4 recipes for four people. 

I decided to give the Pronto Plan a try since I was planning to cook for just two people. Even though I don’t eat red meat, there was such a variety of options to chose from. Some of the options were a little outside of the box like the Roasted Veggie Tagine. Others, more simple like the Turkey Meatballs with Spaghetti and Parmesan.  I ended up choosing these two along with the Chili Chicken with Green Bell Pepper and Basmati Cumin Rice.

A few days later there it was right on my doorstep, a HelloFresh box. Inside the box I found icepacks that were there to keep the food fresh as well as all three of my meals. Just as advertised it came with simple instructions and perfect food portions ready for cooking. 

The Experience 

Meal #1 Roasted Veggie Tagine 

The first meal that I decided to make was the Roasted Veggie Tagine with Nutty Couscous Pilaf. While the cooking level for this one is only a 1 it was such a unique dish with such amazing flavours. I can’t say that slow cooked stews are my go to in the kitchen so I loved that I had a chance to try something new. The combination of the sweet potatoes, homemade fig jam, and the nuts was so different but they all fit together so perfectly. The best part of it all was that the portions were so big I had left overs for days.

Meal #2 Chili Chicken 

Next up was the Chili Chicken with Green Bell Pepper and Basmati Cumin Rice. I knew I would love this dish because it was described as ‘a spicy food lovers dream’ and I sure love spice. This dish consisted of the perfect combination of fresh peppers, chicken, ginger, and garlic to add a little extra flavour. The homemade sauce was mouth watering and the best part when you break it down the actual cooking time was only about 10 minutes.

Meal #3 Classic Turkey Meatballs with Spaghetti and Parmesan

Last up was the Classic Turkey Meatballs with Spaghetti and Parmesan. I loved the twist on this traditional meal. As I had mentioned one of my main goals was to start eating healthier and so by switching up the ground beef meatballs for turkey ones I could enjoy the pasta guilt free. The homemade tomato sauce was simple yet delicious.

I absolutely loved cooking with HelloFresh. Not only did it help keep my busy life a little less busy by delivering the food right to my door and providing me with easy and fast recipes, but the food was also delicious. I never thought I would be able to make a tasty Tagine dish, but thanks to the easy to follow directions of HelloFresh and their ever changing unique menu options I now feel like a bit of a whiz in the kitchen.

For more information and to check out some of the delicious recipes make sure to visit their website at HelloFresh.ca

Happy cooking my friends,

xo

Mia

My experience with Pure Barre

My Experience with Pure Barre

I have been an athlete my entire life, but as a tennis player a lot of my focus was on speed and endurance. Since quitting tennis, I have been trying to keep my fitness up, but to me a  workout always meant cardio. That is why I was a little skeptical when a friend of mine invited me out to a barre class at Pure Barre fitness in Yaletown.

When I thought of barre classes, I thought of them as a sort of ballet class that wouldn’t really be much of a workout. I was completely wrong.

While I might not of gotten the sweat that I get in cardio classes, I got a workout unlike any other. The barre class was so much harder than I thought it would be because the class focuses so intensely on specific areas like core strength, stabilizing muscles in the shoulders and hips, and enhancing flexibility. This is reached by isometric exercises and continuous small moments that “burn out” the muscles. Because you are constantly moving and engaging small muscles you that you are really working deep in the muscle and targeting trouble zones like your hops, thighs, glutes and core.

Within just minutes of my first class my legs were shaking uncontrollably and the next day my body was so sore. As I said, it was so much more of a workout than I originally expected.

After a few weeks of combining barre into my weekly cardio routine, I started to notice a difference. I was already looking more toned in my arms and thighs and my posture was noticeably better (something that I thought was impossible). I have really fallen in love with my barre classes.

What to expect from class

You start the class with a light cardio warm up that targets everything from your toes to your fingers.

Once the warm up is done, it is straight to weights to target your arm muscles. You use one set of lighter weights and one heavier and again constant movement targeting shoulders, triceps, biceps, and upper back, while also moving into lunges and squats to make sure your entire body is engaged.

After weights it is straight to thigh work. To really “burn out” your thighs you use a combination of band work, ball work, and resistance against your own body weight.

This will be the moment when your legs really start to shake as you focus solely on one side of your body for several minutes before giving it a break.

There isn’t much rest for your legs as you transition quickly into seat work, targeting the glute muscles again using the band and ball for resistance.

Once you have really got a shake going in your legs (and as they say, embrace the shake), you make your way down to the floor for a very intense ab workout.

While it might be short, it is anything but sweat. You will once again use the ball to target both your lower and upper abs.

Finally you end the class with some back work and bridges before a very thorough stretch.

Types of classes 

Pure Classic 

The class that I have been doing the most and what I described above is the classic barre classic. The classic class is the original barre class that utilizes the ballet barre to perform the small, isometric movements I spoke about which are good for burning fat and sculpting muscles.

Pure Empower 
Looking for a bit more of a cardio workout? Look no further than the empower class. This is a more fast paced and dynamic workout that is 45 minutes long. It is definitely a challenging class that is more cardio centric but at the same time there are modifications for all fitness levels.
Pure Reform 
This really is a total body workout and is focused on more resistance based strength training as oppose to just body weight. I loved that it combined elements from Pure Barre classic, but had the added element of resistance bands and sliders to just give you a bit of a different workout.
Overall I am really loving my Pure Barre classes. After just a month of taking these classes I am seeing a difference when it comes to my arms and glutes. I am seeing my body becoming more toned and lean, and again my posture has improved ten folds. I am excited to see where these classes take me as I continue to mix them into my weekly workouts.

For more information about their classes make sure to check out their website;  http://purebarre.com/bc-yaletown/

Happy workouts my friends,

xo

Mia

 

30 Things I have learned by 30

This week I hit the 30 milestone. I must admit, it is weird saying goodbye to your 20’s. I mean they were there for a whole 9 years. During my 20’s I accomplished so much. I graduated university, started my career as a broadcaster, bought my first house, got engaged.

Before turning 30, I hate to say it, but I was a little scared. I was feeling old. Kind of like the best years were behind me. Did I accomplish enough? Did I miss out on opportunities? For the first time in my life I was questioning decisions.

It didn’t last long though. I slapped myself across the face and snapped right out of it. I realized just how blessed I am and how many amazing things I have accomplished. I bought a house with my future hubby, I have my dream career as a national broadcaster, I have an amazing family and friends that support me through thick and thin. The best years are still ahead.

It was during this epiphany that I decided to write down why I am thankful for my 30 previous years and some of the important lessons that I have learned along the way. I find that when it is down on paper I have a better understanding and appreciation. So here goes nothing, 30 things I have learned by 30…

30 Things I have learned by 30 

  1. I guess I should start with I learned that 30 isn’t old: Yes, apparently I am older than half the population of the world but at the same time 30 isn’t old. It is the age where you are hopefully out of debt and figuring out your life. That sounds like the start and not the end to me. 
  2.  You can say no: Throughout my 20’s I felt like I had to please everyone, especially as a freelancer. I felt like I always had to be available for everything and I would constantly feel burned out. I have since learned that people won’t hate you if you decline an offer and trust me you will feel so much healthier and relaxed if you aren’t trying to fit a million things into one day.
  3. Hard work actually does pay off: This was something my mom and dad used to tell me to make sure I did my homework or practiced my tennis serve. During the 20’s I started to doubt this theory. I was struggling to make ends meet working 10 jobs. I was waking up at 5 to go work my TSN radio job and staying up until 3am bartending. I was considering giving up on broadcasting all together. However, I kept working and fighting for what I love and at the end of the day I landed my dream job and couldn’t be happier. 
  4. If you love what you do, it truly doesn’t feel like work: you know the old saying, if you love what you do you won’t work a day in your life. Well by 30, I have realized that while it may still feel like work at times, loving your career  will truly make you a happier person. Since landing my amazing job with the Weather Network work is actually fun and that has changed my attitude towards the rest of my life. It is amazing how your career can really impact your entire outlook on life.
  5. Work and life balance should be top priority: As much as I do love my career (in case you didn’t notice from the previous note) the one thing I really realized this past year is that at the end of the day, you aren’t going to remember a particular day at work but rather a particular moment and experience. Whether it is with friends, family, partners, yourself it is the moments in life that truly matter. It is so important to make yourself, your health, and your happiness a top priority.
  6. Listen to your body: In your college days and throughout your 20’s you feel like you are invincible. Work hard, party hard was the motto and many times I would burn the candle at both ends. As birthdays come and go, I have realized that I don’t gain anything by late nights, and my body loves me so much more when I get eight hours of sleep and it is balanced. 
  7. Not everyone has to love you: Listen, being loved is an amazing feeling, but at the end of the day not everyone is going to have the same opinions as you and that is ok. Working in media, I have a lot of people telling me just how they feel about me through social media. While most of it is amazing and supportive, I do get the odd individual who feels the need to critique me. While I used to let comments hurt me, I have quickly learned not to let the negativity into your life and rather focus on the people that do love you.
  8. Even at 30 you don’t have all the answers: I am pretty lucky with my life. I have a job I love, I am getting married to the man of my dreams, I have an incredible family and friend group supporting me, but during this time I have realized we all have our own path that we reach in our own time and if you aren’t where you want to be in life that is ok, because 30 is the new 20. 
  9. Friends will come and go: At 30 I have realized that everyone who enters your life will leave a mark, but sometimes the physical person doesn’t last in your life forever and that is also ok. As you grow, you find out more about your own values and sometimes they don’t match with everyone in your life. As I turned 30 I realized time is very valuable and it is important to spend it with the people that make you a better person.
  10. Wear sunscreen: At 30 I have realized that wrinkles are indeed real. I also realized that taking care of your body is so important both physically and mentally. It is important to put self care in your daily routine and sunscreen is a must.
  11. Never go to bed angry:  This is something I am still working on every day but every time we do fight I realize how petty and small it is in the grand scheme of things. Life really is too short to be upset over the small things.
  12. Communication is key: As a journalist and report, you think I would of learned this one a long time ago, but no it has indeed taken me a good 30 years. I have quickly realized how misunderstandings can turn into fights for no good reasons so if you have something on your mind figure out how to communicate that, it will be a weight off your shoulder.
  13. Kill them with kindness:  I know this is another cheesy cliche line but in 30 years I have realized just how true this is. Again, not everyone is going to like you, but there is no point in giving them the upper hand. Being kind to both the lovers and the haters is only going to make you a stronger person, and make others look weak.
  14. Collect moments not things:  I wear the same jeans every time I go out and I haven’t worn one of my 20 pairs of heels in years. I couldn’t tell you the last thing I bought, but I could tell you every amazing thing that happened on my last vacation. At the end of the day you won’t remember your favourite dress, you will remember your favourite moments and that is what counts in life.
  15. Don’t compare yourself to others: This is also something I am still working on everyday, especially working in media. However I am constantly reminding myself that I am exactly where I am supposed to be and this is my path in life. Instead of worrying about others success I am learning to be proud of and happy for them.
  16. Your parents are cool cats: I spent my teens and some of my 20’s avoiding my parents like the plague, but as I have grown older I am so much more appreciative of all of the sacrifices they made for me to make sure I had amazing opportunities in life. The older I get the more I want to be surrounded by their love and actually want to be seen with them in public.
  17. Guilty pleasures are ok, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise: I wrote this one while watching the Bachelor. At 30 I have realized you don’t have to be sorry for anything you do. Do you and be happy and that is what really matters.
  18. Look ahead not backwards: I constantly find myself getting upset or anxious about things that have happened in the past, but at 30 I am finally starting to realize that what really matters is what is ahead of you not what is behind.
  19. Being afraid will only hold you back: Listen, at the end of the day we are all going to die, but if we are afraid of going after the things we want in life we may never realize our true potential. Sure you will fail and you will fall, but you will never succeed unless you go for it whole heartedly.
  20. You cannot worry about the things you can’t control:  I am a bit of a perfectionist so every time things aren’t perfect I panic. At the age of 30 I am finally starting to learn that some things are out of your control and if you worry about them it is just going to drive you insane.
  21. Change isn’t as scary as you think & necessary to grow: At the age of 28 I made a big life change. I gave up my job  and moved across the country for the man I love. I was petrified of this unfamiliar territory. However everything worked out at the end of the day, and I am in a better place than I have ever been. Sometimes change is necessary and will help you better your life. 
  22. Loving yourself is the best thing you can do: When I was 20 I hated how I looked in pictures, now I look back and loved my strong athletic body. I realized that I am always going to have things to critique about myself, but one day I will look back and regret not enjoying how I looked and felt at a certain age.
  23. Wine is good for you:I don’t know if that is factual but hey I always feel a little better after a glass of pinot gris and I won’t deny myself a glass after a long day or a good day or a fun day.
  24. Competition is good in the right amount: Listen, constantly feeling like you are competing against someone isn’t good, but competing against yourself to better yourself and be the best version of yourself is a good thing if you ask me.
  25. Finding your passion is important: your job is one thing, but finding what your true passion is will make your life really matter. Having something you care about and enjoy (like my blog) will bring more meaning to your life.
  26. It is important to count our blessings: I have been so lucky to travel to some amazing places, but during my travels I have realized how lucky I am in to live in a Canada. We are truly fortunate here and realizing that our problems are so miniature in the grand scheme makes life so much more enjoyable.
  27. Pain is inevitable but necessary and even healing: In my 20’s I suffered plenty of heartbreak both in relationships and with losing loved ones. Yet every heart break taught me more about myself, my values, and my strength and made me realize what I deserve in my life.
  28. Do not settle for anyone or anything: I  dated a few guys in my 20’s that  I knew weren’t the right ones, but I just loved the idea of being in love. Thank God those relationships didn’t work out because it lead me to the right person for me. Whether it is your love life or your career you deserve to have it all, do not settle.
  29. Opening your heart is scary but important: I think I have always had an open heart, but as I turned 30 I realized just how important it is to be willing to let people in to your life to be truly happy. If you are closed off you will never be able to experience true love.
  30. You shouldn’t feel guilty to treat yourself: In my 20’s I would feel guilty for every single penny that I spent. In my 30’s I have realized life is all about balance. I have worked hard for my money and if I want to spend it and spoil myself (in reason) I shouldn’t feel guilty.



These are just a few of the lessons I have learned so far and trust me I know of the biggest lessons is you are always learning so I cannot wait to see what the next 10 years will teach me!

I would love to hear some of the lessons you have learned at this stage in your life. Leave a comment below and let me know!

Here is to growing my friends,

xo

Mia

The most creative Christmas gifts in Vancouver

One of my favourite parts of the holiday season is finding the perfect gift to put under the tree. As much as I love opening up my own presents, there is something so satisfactory when someone you love opens up a gift that you found especially for them.

One of my least favourite parts of the holiday season is trying to deal with crowded malls, lines, and finding gifts that anyone can purchase. If you are like me, you pride yourself in finding that unique truly special gift.

Unique local gift ideas 

I wanted to share some of my favourite and creative finds in Vancouver  for this holiday season that are sure to impress everyone on your list.

ChopValue

I came across Chopvalue while on a work assignment. I was trying to find creative gifts that were made from recycled goods.

Chopvalue is a Vancouver based company that uses recycled chopsticks to create beautiful furniture and art. The company actually recycles more than 350,000 chopsticks weekly from Vancouver alone.

I was so impressed with the beautiful tables, shelves, and even coasters. I had to pick up a few pieces for myself and my boyfriend.

Price:  Depends on what you are looking for but you can spend between $20-$2000

Pangea Maps

This is actually a gift I received this year and I am absolutely in love with it. Pangea creates custom hand made 3D maps revealing iconic waterscapes.

The custom made map that I received marks where I live in Vancouver now, and where I will be living in Squamish as well as the important lakes, and of course Ocean that outline my home.

Price: from $480

The Liberty Distillery

There is something special about shopping at Granville Island, particularly around the holidays. The lights, the decorations, the spirit, it is all so amazing. I also love that a lot of the gifts here are hand crafted and one of a kind. You can get everything from beautiful ceramics to customized jewelry.

One of my favourite spots at Granville Island is is Liberty Distillery. When you step inside the doors you will automatically be enchanted by the 110 year old antique bar. In the back of the bar is the distillery, where you can see the spirits being made and you can even try samples.

While bringing a bottle of wine for the holiday parties is always a great idea, why not make your gift more unique award winning bottle of whiskey.

Price: $70

Saje Natural Wellness

I have been a huge fan of  the Vancouver company Saje for years now. I love their travel products that really helped me when I am on the road.

This holiday season I received the most amazing gift from Saje, a diffuser. The one I chose is from their partnership with Jillian Harris and I am actually obsessed. I love how amazing my house smells and how calm the natural oils make me feel during even the most stressful work days

Price: approx $90

Ufeast Vancouver 

Sure, gifts are great but experiences last a lifetime. One of my favourite gifts was actually a ufeast dinner. Ufeast is a company that partners with local restaurants to create unique dining experiences. They combine delicious meals and hand crafted cocktails for a fun night out.

Price: around $50

Happy holidays and happy shopping my friends,

xo

Mia

 

 

 

 

New Years Resolution with the Practice Studio

I know that a few of you followed along as I shared by journey with the Practice Studio. For three months I worked with the amazing during my Whole Life Practice Journey. The journey, as I have mentioned in a few of my previous blogs focuses on four main pillars; fitness, nutrition, meditation, and life coaching.

The Journey 

While I shared the journey along the way, the lessons I learned, the changes I made, and the obstacles I overcame. I have yet to share the actual results of the experience. You know, sometimes life gets in the way and all.

Pillar 1: Fitness

When I started my fitness journey I was taking three to four classes a week and one day of personal training. Before we started the journey we set aside some personal goals that we were going to work towards over the next three months.

  • Loose 5 pounds
  • Loose 2% body fat
  • Work out at least 4 x a week
  • get involved more in outdoor activities and workouts
  • tone arms and abs

During the three months we mixed up our training routines so that I wouldn’t get bored (something that tends to happen when I go to the gym). We did workouts outdoors in the sunshine, different classes, and cardio & weight training.

By the end of the experience not only did I find workouts that I enjoyed, get a variety of training through incredible classes, and find more confidence in myself but I also reached the majority of my goals.

By the end of the three months, I lost 3 pounds, was down 1.7% body fat (the majority of the weight loss was in my arms and abs), was working out 4 to 5 times a week,  and was doing more outdoor hikes and bike rides.

While I didn’t reach every goal, I came close and was definitely taking steps in the right direction. Most importantly though, I gained confidence that I never had before and learned skills that I can apply to my everyday workout routines.

Pillar 2: Nutrition 

Before starting my journey with the practice studio I can tell you I sure struggled in the nutrition department. Of course I would order french fires with my burger, and yes I will have the dessert menu.

I knew that this was going to be my biggest challenge of all, but in my first meeting with Jackie I was surprised that instead of telling me what I can and cannot eat, she told me to create a food diary and also helped me come up with some goals for our journey.

  • Cut down on carb and sugar intake
  • Loose 5 pounds and 2% body fat
  • Become more confident with my eating habits
  • Cook more meals at home

One of the most memorable moments of my experience was going to the grocery store with Jackie and actually reading the labels and ingredients. I have always been a visual learner and so going through the store and learning how to make better choices was a big part of my journey.

It was also amazing to have an entire team holding me accountable, but in the most positive way possible. I would keep my food journals, and when I would slip up or cheat I wasn’t yelled at, instead I was told it was ok to indulge as long as it wasn’t every meal.

This was the biggest change in my lifestyle. At the end of the day I came close to my weight loss goals, but I have been cooking more at home, making healthier choices, and feeling better about my overall well being. I have more energy and am once again more confident in myself. Oh and about the cooking, it has become one of my biggest hobbies.

Pillar 3: Mindfulness & Meditation

As someone who is constantly on the go between work, my blog, vlogs, and then trying to have a social life in between, I struggle to find a healthy balance. Focusing on mindfulness and meditation has never really been  a priority for me.

Through the practice studio program though, I realized how important it is to focus on this aspect of my life more. During the three month period we came up with a few goals when it came to mindfulness and meditation.

  • Meditate every morning for at least 10 minutes
  • practice breathing exercises to help keep me calm and relaxed in stressful situations
  • Journal daily

I was able to reach all of my goals that I set and I must say I saw an incredible difference in my lifestyle and overall health. With the help of calming meditation practices and breathing techniques I have found ways to relax even when I have stressful events going on in my life.

Pillar 4: Life Coaching

When I first sat down with Jackie for our coaching sessions, it was a huge wake up call for me. I had never really taken the time to evaluate my life and what I was doing and if it was making me happy.

In just one sessions, I realized it wasn’t. I was working none stop to make ends meet while neglecting relationships with friends, family, and myself. We started to come up with goals on how to change this.

  • See my parents at least once every two months
  • Spend time with friends at least once every two weeks
  • Take at least one full day off a week for myself (while freelancing)
  • Try and find a job that allows me to do what I love, but also have quality time for myself.

Right away we started working towards those goals by creating schedules and calendars and really allocate my time to the right areas of my life. I was practicing better communication skills, and taking the time to figure out my true passions.

By the end of my coaching, I was having a better time with my partner, I was feeling more rejuvenated because I was acually taking time for myself, and I landed my dream job with the Weather Network. It is amazing what you can achieve if you actually set your mind to it (cliche I know but oh so true).

Next Step: New Year’s Resolution 

Now that I have shared my results, it is time to share my goals, and there is no better time to set some new goals then the new year right?

Goal setting was a huge part of the Practice Studio Whole Life Program because it truly holds you accountable to reach your goals, and it is something that I want to continue to focus on now that my time in the actual program has ended.

With an upcoming wedding and career as a national weather reporter, my physical appearance is really important to me. My goals are of course to continue to be healthy, eat right, and hey if I do lose some body fat along the way that would be great too.

My true goal though is to continue to focus on my fitness more so for my overall confidence. When I am staying active, working out, and feeling healthy I feel better about myself overall. I tend to have more energy, and that confidence shines in other aspects of my life.

I want to continue to push myself in my fitness and in my career. Strive to continuously be a better version of myself. Continue to grow strong relationships, and learn to love and forgive myself even on tough days.

And the best part is, I won’t be working on reaching these goals all alone. I am excited to announce I will be working once again with the Practice studio. Hey, pushing yourself to workout harder and to be the best version of you is always more fun with friends by your side right.

Cannot wait to continue this journey in the New Year, but in the meantime would love to hear some of your New Year’s resolution.