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Money Mindfulness: A Renewed Way To Look At Your Finances

Stress. We all have it and there are different causes. Relationships, work and health are probably the first ones that come to mind but 30% of Canadians claim financial stress as one of their biggest worries. THIRTY PERCENT! Credit Education Week runs until November 16th and last week I attended a money mindfulness retreat here in Toronto put on by Capital One Canada to learn a bit more about the topic and how I can take techniques I use for my own mental health and pain related issues and apply it to finances.

Captial One Money Mindfulness Retreat

Captial One - Money Mindfulness Retreat

So what is it about finances that command so much negative energy over people? I have not been able to stop thinking about it since the event. Could it be because the topic of personal finances can be embarrassing, if you seem to not have your sh*t together? I would imagine most people would feel more comfortable not only speaking openly but actually doing something about their relationship and work-related stress. Whereas with financial related stress, I’m certain it just gets internalized. Combine that with procrastination in finding tools to proactively manage money, or worse, denial, and one can find themselves in a mountain of debt. According to a Capital One and Credit Canada Debt Solutions study, we worry about our finances every day for about an hour. Just to put that into perspective for you, that’s about the same amount of time we spend a day eating. So the question is, what are we going to do about it?

The goal of Credit Education Week is to help empower Canadians and give them the tools and knowledge to help mitigate financial stress. At the event last week, we got a chance to go through several activities to gain more insight on just how much financial stress impacts the daily lives of Canadians, which apparently ranks as the second largest day-to-day worry behind overall health. Followed by a series of mini workshops that included mindfulness, meditation and yoga practice with Joga House Founder, Jana Webb, that got me thinking about how I can approach my own money management in 2019. Never having student debt, multiple credit cards or poor spending habits, which I know makes me an anomaly, I am already ahead of the game I guess. However, there’s always room for improvement and I am down for anything that can help me reach my financial goals faster.

Captial One - Money Mindfulness Retreat

Photography by David Pike

I’ll admit it, mindfulness and money conventionally aren’t two things that you would think should go together but once we got into the activities and a did a few mindful practices, it all started to come together for me. For those who aren’t really familiar with what “mindfulness” is, it really is just the practice of awareness. A heightened awareness, or simply being cognizant of why and how you’re doing something. Taking a mindful approach with your money combined with meditation or yoga can significantly lower the stress and anxiety around money. While I can give credit to myself for being fiscally responsible in terms of avoiding debt, I do love to shop. I mean, who doesn’t? The bad part is that lately I’ve been treating it like a legit pastime. Leaving the house to browse and shop without a plan or agenda, leading me to make a slew of unnecessary purchases, when I should be creating a list and only buying what’s on there. Sounds like the basics but you’d be surprised how many make the same mistake. There were tons of other valuable information shared but here are a few highlights that definitely stood out to me during the retreat that you may find useful:

Mindful Money Monitoring

Be aware of the numbers when it comes to your financial statements. Understand that the money going out must be lower than the money coming in. Be wise when it comes to paying off your bills, specifically when it comes to car loans and credit cards with revolving credit balance. Making minimum payments still incurs interest! Last but not least, understand the importance of having a good credit score because it really does matter. It can be the difference between getting a home (or not). Want to improve your credit score? Credit Canada Debt Solutions has some useful tips on their site. It’s also beneficial to keep track of it and Credit Keeper can help you do that. It’s a useful online tool created by Capital One that gives you access to your TransUnion credit score – for FREE. It’s refreshed weekly, so you can check your score regularly.

Get Comfortable with Budgets

Nobody likes to hear the word budget. I used to think that word had a negative connotation but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. My coach used to always say, “If you fail to plan…you plan to fail!” and having a budget is essentially having a plan for success. I am embarrassed to say this but Réjean and I don’t budget plan together so that is one of our priorities for the new year. I discovered some helpful tips on how to create one and a link to a free budget worksheet on Credit Canada’s website that you can find here.

Goal Getter

It’s impossible not be successful when you set goals for yourself. Creating a budget for yourself, especially if it’s more on the strict side, can be easier to handle once you have an idea of the big picture. Set immediate, short and long term goals and you will probably find it easier to make scaling back on spending more manageable.

Getting your finances together can seem like a daunting task but it doesn’t need to be. Thanks to Capital One Canada and Credit Canada, there are some amazing resources out there to steer you in the right direction. With it being Credit Education Week (and 2019 right around the corner), there’s no better time than now to set some financial goals. To learn more about CEWC and to discover what events are taking place in your city head to www.cewc.ca.

This post is in partnership with Capital One however all views and opinions are my own

“You Can Have It All, Just Not At Once!”

You can have it all. Just not all at once!” I’m not quite sure where I heard that for the first time. Could have been Oprah. Could have been someone’s Instagram caption. Who knows. Just kidding, it was definitely Lady O. But I never really understood what it meant until I became a mother. I am sure all you mama’s out there will agree with me, it’s  bloody hard to keep it all together and I only have one baby. How the hell do y’all do it with multiples? I had delusions of grandeur that my modified mat leave was going to afford me time to do all of the things; hang with Max, learn how to edit videos, take cooking classes, host a mommy group for other new mother’s and periodically work on projects somewhere in between. Hahaha, well that has NOT been the case. A slew of amazing working opportunities have come my way and I’ve found it difficult to say no consequently creating a workload that has not only caused some anxiety but has also interrupted my ability to create a harmonious balance that I so desperately need. Taking on more than I probably should because…well, because life and bills need to be paid. But you know what? It’s f*cking tough when you’re self employed and your household requires two incomes to stay afloat. The blog and my branded partnerships comprise most of my time however, there’s also modelling gigs, consulting projects, guest speaking and commercial work also taking it’s share. So, full time hours. Full-time mommy. Struggling to somehow also fit in workouts, family time, a social life, and Réjean. Jesus, I just realized I typed out that list probably the way I am currently prioritizing them. Welp. Not intentional at all and yet another indication that I need to make a change.

Poppy's Collection - So Sasha

Poppy's Collection - So Sasha

Poppy's Collection - So Sasha

Poppy's Collection - So Sasha

Poppy's Collection - So Sasha

Poppy's Collection - So Sasha

That begin said, I will be going on a short hiatus for a bit, taking some much needed time to focus on my little nugget who seems to be growing at lightening speed right before my eyes. After my trip to Le Monastere des Augustines, I realized I need a proper re-set. My life and my brand is based on wellness and if I am going to talk the talk, I better be walking the walk. So, I have booked a vacation. Like, a real vacation not a press trip. I will be spending my first Mother’s Day away in México and will be drinking all of the margaritas. Our departure day cannot come soon enough, let me tell you. I also just really want to enjoy the rest of Maxwell’s first year, rather than having my head buried in a laptop or phone most of the day. Therefore, there won’t be as much action on my blog and social channels during the month of May. Unless it’s work I have already created prior or organic stuff I just feel like posting in the moment if I feel like it because exhaustion, weather inducing seasonal depression and lack of time has literally depleted my creativity.  I chose a career change to be able to be my own boss and creative my own rules, so it’s about time I action a plan that let’s me have as close to everything at the same time as possible.

And yes I know,  life looks glossy and perfect sometimes on the gram…but it really isn’t.  I try my best to share my experiences; the good, the bad and the ugly. Do y’all remember the dog eating Maxwell’s shit the other day? If you see me killing it at work, just know there’s other things that have fallen by the waist side that week in order for me to get shit done. I don’t even remember the last time I cooked a proper dinner for our family because I just don’t have the time.  That’s sort of become Réjean’s job tbh and I have had someone come in bi-weekly to help with cleaning until until a few weeks ago but I’ve fired them and realized how tough it is to fit in cleaning 1200 sqft while trying to juggle admin work and a baby at the same time. If you see me taking extra time to do cool things with Maxie like Giggly’s Baby Spa in the middle of the week, best believe that something work related was sacrificed and depending on how the day went, may have even skipped my workout.

Poppy's Collection - So Sasha

Poppy's Collection - So Sasha

Poppy's Collection - So Sasha
Photography by Nicole Cohen. Styling by Elizabeth Phipps

On Maxwell: Poppy Collection’s Anjali Romper // On Me: Zara’s Embroidered Dress With Perforations

I am not really sure what direction I will take going into June but I have a vague idea. An update will be shared once I am back in full effect. Just wanted to thank you guys for all your support. Honest to goodness, it’s all your the comments and DM’s that have gotten me through.

*Special thank you to the amazing and talented Nicole Cohen (@BlondeCoffeeBean) and Elizabeth Phipps (@Somersette_) for creating these magical images that I will not only cherish forever but is making me seriously reconsider baby #2.

For those who have wanted to details on Maxwell’s gorgeous romper from Instagram, you can find it and shop more of our faves from ultimate online baby boutique, Poppy’s Collection. Insanely adorable, it’s almost impossible to not to want everything. If I feel up to it I will share Maxie’s Mexico wardrobe which will consist of Poppy’s summer pieces.

The Power of Protein and How It Can Fuel Your Day

Protein is something we are all aware needs to exist in our diets. Most of us think of meat, poultry, fish, eggs or tofu. If working out is apart of your lifestyle or you’re an athlete, you may have protein powder or bars as part of your daily routine as well. But you guys, how many of you use milk and milk products as a form of protein in your diet? I am going to guess not many think of them immediately as a protein go-to but rather think of them as a complement like milk for cereal for example or cheese on…well let’s just say cheese on any and everything because it makes everything taste better.

But before I talk about why milk and milk products are great sources of protein, let me first start with what protein is exactly and why it’s important. No matter what your dietary preferences are, protein is an essential macronutrient we all need to help maintain our overall health. Protein contributes to developing antibodies to boost out immune system. For those of you working hard in the gym these days – getting a jump on your 2018 fitness goals, we need protein to help build  and repair our muscles. Especially after a hardcore workout or training.

The Power of Protein - Dairy Farmers of Canada

The Power of Protein - Dairy Farmers of Canada

Now here’s the deal with how to best optimize your protein intake. A good rule of thumb is to distribute your protein evenly over your meals, so 30 grams during breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also, referred to as the 30-30-30 Rule. Utilizing milk products as an extra source of protein is often overlooked but I have made a conscious effort to integrate it into my day because the high quality proteins found in them help satisfy my hunger throughout my busy days.  With an increase in frequency and intensity with my workouts now that my body is a much better place post baby, I find that adding more protein from milk, yogurt bowls and even cheese into my diet gives me the strength and stamina I need to make it through the day with work, workouts and Maxwell.

The Power of Protein - Dairy Farmers of Canada

I am not sure if any of you out there track your intake of protein but to help you get an idea of the amount of protein you can expect to see from consuming milk products in your day-to-day life here’s some numbers to help put things into perspective for you:

  • A glass of milk (250 ml) contains 8 grams of protein
  • 3/4 cup of greek yogurt (175 ml) contains 17 grams of protein
  • 1/2 cup of cottage cheese (125 ml) contains 15 grams of protein
  • 50 grams of cheddar cheese (1 1/2 Oz) contains 12 grams of protein

Yogurt bowls are an easy way to start incorporating more milk products into your diet. I love added fresh fruit, chia and hemp seeds to mine for a bit of sweetness and crunch. It’s shocking how filling this snack really is. And whenever I need a bit of inspiration on new ways to add milk proteins to my existing meals, I check out DairyGoodness.ca for some recipe inspo. Below you will find the recipe details to a Bean and Barley salad that I discovered recently on the website. I made some slight modifications to it just for taste (removed the olives and used TK peppers) so it still packs all the same nutritional goodness.

The Power of Protein - Dairy Farmers of Canada

The Power of Protein - Dairy Farmers of Canada

Ingredients

1/2 of pearl barley and couscous

1 can (540 ml) of black, red, white or lima beans (no salt added)

1 cup (250 ml) of cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and sliced in half

1 cup (250 ml) of bell pepper, your choice, diced

1/2 cup (125 ml) of red onion, diced

1/4 cup (60 ml) of fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup (60 ml) of fresh parsley

1 tbsp of dried oregano

3 1/2 Oz (100 grams) of Canadian Feta Cheese, coarsely crumbled

Freshly ground pepper and sea salt to taste

Preparation

In a saucepan, bring 6 cups (1.5 L) of water to a boil and cook barley for approximately 20 minutes or until tender. Drain, cool under cold water, then drain again.

In a large bowl, mix barley, beans, and vegetables.

In another bowl, whisk reserved oil with lemon juice. Add herbs, Feta and pepper and pour over salad. Mix well and serve.

This post has been sponsored by Dairy Farmers of Canada however all views and opinions are my own

Join me in Vector’s 21 Day #TasteVectory Challenge

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Kellogg’s® Vector®. All opinions are 100% mine.

In case you missed it, I recently announced my involvement in the Vector® Challenge. If you did, you can catch the first post here. For those who have been following me for a while now, you already know that I just can’t say no to a challenge and in an effort to not do it alone, I am inviting you guys to do it with me.

Most of us are aware of the importance of goal setting, but in the real world with demanding careers, personal commitments, health issues, family, etc, it’s sometimes difficult to see them through. I am always open and honest about the issues I encounter trying to stay on track, as I too find it challenging at times, which is why I happily accept challenges like these when they present themselves.

Vector 21 Day Challenge

Last week I talked about how speed work and weight training somewhat intimidates me, but as they say, great things never come from comfort zones. As of August 1st, not only am I tackling both during the Vector® 21-day Challenge, I’m also incorporating them in a 2-a-day workout program consisting of both a workout and run. 

Vector 21 Day Challenge

Haven’t tried any Vector products before? Perhaps this challenge is the perfect way to get you acquainted with their ridiculously delicious Vector® Meal Replacement, energy bars and granola. The cereal, aka the “meal replacement in a bowl” is not only a great option for breakfast, but because it contains proteins, carbs plus 22 vitamins and minerals, it becomes the perfect snack option when you’re too busy when there is not enough time to make something to eat.

Vector 21 Day ChallengePhotos by JessBaumung.com

Participating is easier than you think. Simply post an image of yourself on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook every day with the hashtag #TasteVECTORY for 21 days. To ensure your entry is counted, please make sure that you tag the appropriate brand handles (Instagram/Facebook @Vector and Twitter @Vector_CA) and ensure your profile is “public” on the platform you are posting on. These pictures should show how you push yourself physically or mentally. Everyone participating in the challenge will automatically be entered for a chance to win the grand or secondary fitness prize packs valued at $1000 and $500 respectively. Winners will be chosen at random from those properly using the hashtag for the 21 days. *Contest is open to Canadian residents only excluding Quebec. Click Try Vector®, Taste Vectory® for more detailed rules and regulations. Good luck guys!

Visit Sponsors Site

Hudson’s Bay Lifestyle Collaboration: Street Friendly Activewear

HBNewYour

Although I’m frequently doing checks and balances throughout the calendar year in regards to setting goals and making sure I stay on track to attain them, there’s something about the beginning of a new year that’s always extra special. It’s filled with so much hope and excitement of both the unknown and what’s to come. A few years ago I got in the habit of writing down my goals for the upcoming year on December 31st. Funny enough, when I started SoSasha.com I created a dream list of brands I wanted to work with and I’ve been extremely fortunate to collaborate with almost all of them. Until 2015, there were only a few that I had not yet knocked off my list and Hudson’s Bay, Canada’s iconic heritage department store, was on this short list. So naturally I was thrilled when they asked me to share some personal tips and tricks that I have up my sleeve to keep me inspired and motivated to achieve my overall wellness goals in 2016. For the rest of the month of January, you will discover what keeps me going from recipes, helpful fitness related apps and devices, beauty secrets, my go-to pieces for outdoor winter running plus my favourite workout and athleisure looks that get me to and from the gym in style. The timing couldn’t be better as Hudson’s Bay has just recently launched their active wear shop online.

HBNewYou

HBNewYou

HBNewYouLole Look: Kavita Cross Back Top // Printed Running Tight // Java Jacket // Deena Duffle Bag

During the winter months, I have a tendency to dress in more muted or dark colours. Most likely a reflection of my mood due to the dropping temperatures. I’ve decided to shake things up a bit and jump on this “New Year, New Me” bandwagon, so I am trying to take a brighter approach to my workout wear this winter (pun intended), which you may have noticed as of late on Instagram. I may have actually gone from one extreme to the next, but I have added a few new killer tights to my collection; think bold and colourful patterns that can put energy in anyone’s step, no matter how gloomy and cold it is outside. My styling tip…when getting a bit crazy with prints on the lower half of your body, remember to keep it super simple up top. I usually opt for solid coloured bras and tops in white, grey or black in order to not compete with the pants.

HBNewYou

HBNewYou

HBNewYou

HBNewYou

HBNewYouPhotography by David A. Pike for Hudson’s Bay

Adidas Look: Originals Mosc Printed Leggings // ClimaHeat Marled Zipped Hoodie // Aeroknot Burnout Tank // Arianna III Running Shoes 

 Need more tights-piration? Here’s a few more of my faves that can be found at Hudson’s Bay : Nike Dri-FIT Legendary Engineered Lattice Tights // Reebok Graffiti Yoga Tights // Stella McCartney Activewear Tights // YAS Graphic Cut and Sew Leggings

Head to TheBay.com for more legging and tights options and to preview the rest of Hudson’s Bay active wear collection. Make sure to follow @HudsonsBay on Instagram for more active wear trends and get more of my tips by using the hashtag #HBNewYou

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