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“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.

5 Things You Should Consider When Looking To Hire A Trainer

I am working with a trainer for the second time in my life. The first time was while I was pregnant with Max (because I needed someone to force me to dial down and modify my workouts) and now postpartum. For years my workouts have always been with my team, a personal strength coach during my years playing tennis or workouts I created for myself. Getting back into a groove in the gym post pregnancy has been tough. Well, at least for me it has been. My body just wouldn’t move the way it used to and I was SO DAMN WEAK. I could have easily used my pelvic floor and wrist issues as an excuse to delay the hard work that was waiting for me because I was getting so discouraged but I figured if not now then when? And let’s be honest, when you’ve just had a baby people give you a free pass and tell you that you look great no matter how washed you look. If you’ve had a baby you know what I’m talking about, “Oh girl please, you JUST had a baby like yesterday and you look amazing!” But for my mental health and self confidence I had to get moving again and enlisted the help of a trainer.

There’s been so many of you sliding into my DM’s lately asking for advice on trainers like; how to find one, who is reputable in the city and why I’ve made SWAT my home for training and workouts? For me, the choosing SWAT Health was an easy decision. I needed someone who understood my limitations that came with postpartum fitness. That means, having the knowledge to put me through a Functional Movement Screen before taking a couple weeks to focus solely on creating a solid foundation again. With the plan of eventually progressing to a more intense program. A trainer who could be creative enough to come up with challenging workouts with the proper modifications for my wrist injuries. Not an easy task when it’s impossible to load any weight onto your hands. Most importantly, even though I am retired, I want to still train like an athlete. This meant the person chosen for the task probably needed to have been an athlete at some point too or experience training them, in order to come up dynamic workouts I would enjoy. I couldn’t think of anyone better than SWAT Health’s Co-Founder Kyle Ardill. The SWAT concept is based on a 360 approach to health and wellness incorporating chiropractic, physiotherapy, and massage into their offering. Since my body needs serious rebuilding right now, I am taking advantage of ALL of it. It’s been a crucial component to my journey because Kyle, Darcy (Chiro) and Phil (RMT) can all communicate to ensure they are providing me with the right rehab program within their respective disciplines to get me results. The education of the PT staff at SWAT is so diverse, the team has you covered whether you’re looking to do power lifting, HIIT/cross training, athletic based training, or group class workouts.

Kicked off my training program on January 8th with an FMS – Functional Movement Screen

So how do you find the right personal trainer? Things have gotten a little interesting in the fitness industry because of social media and it has certainly turned into a hot topic. With so much information at people’s fingertips thanks to the   internet and weekend fitness certification courses, becoming a personal trainer has replaced “handbag designer”, and “DJ” as the new fallback career in 2018. But here’s the thing folks, knowledge in personal training is not measured in a  CanFit Pro certification or having a big social media following. I think it’s also important to point out, a person’s physical appearance on Instagram doesn’t necessarily tell the whole picture. Looking fit doesn’t always mean someone has the knowledge base to train clients. There are loads of folks on the internet sharing their transformation before and after photos and using this as marketing tool to get clients and actually charge them money, which is appalling. More often than not, these transformation trainers as I like to call them, usually have leaned out because they stop putting garbage in their mouths, stopped binge drinking and started working out a bit. Not because of any well thought out training program they expertly developed for themselves. Yet, they are selling training to uneducated consumers who think they are getting a deal because their prices are competitive. And nobody should just assume that someone is a fitness expert because they have the word “fit” in their IG handle. I could go on and on but I think the point here is that people need to be informed, know what to look for and expect when hiring a professional in the field of fitness. If you’re thinking about a finding a personal trainer to help you achieve your fitness goals, I applaud you for making this first and very important step in your fitness journey.

Here’s 5 things you should consider when looking to hire a personal trainer:

  1. Certification vs. Experience. This is usually the first mistake many people make when they begin their search for a trainer. Instead of doing their due diligence and finding out how what a trainer’s experience is in terms of diversity in disciplines, they feel satisfied knowing that the person they have chosen to train them is certified. If you’re pregnant or a new mom, the goal should be to find someone who has worked with prenatal and/or postpartum clients. You may want to know if that person has experience training an athlete, has worked with a rehab client, who has the knowledge base to change up a client’s programming on training day if they are stressed or walk into a session injured.  Someone who is passionate about fitness and continues to educate themselves through courses and programs. A trainer who reads and does research, always wanting to learn because things are always evolving. Anyone can get a certification in personal training in 48 hours but not just anyone has the extensive knowledge base to tackle a wide range of training scenarios. You want a trainer that can provide a wide range of results for a wide range of the population.
  2. Authenticity. Yes folks, your trainer should be authentic…in other words living the lifestyle. And guess what? Your trainer should also be fitter than you, not the other way around. Ever. I never could understand how people would spend their hard earned money on a trainer that looks like a bag of milk. Your trainer shouldn’t be eating their weight in chicken wings or drinking energy drinks/soda. You wouldn’t hire a dentist with bad teeth, a lawyer that has never won a case or an accountant that doesn’t have their books straight. You need someone that has some credibility. Someone who is not a contradiction to the system. Someone who not only talks the talk but walks the walk.
  3. Results. What is a coach/trainer without results? Results are everything. Take the time and do your research. Ask your potential trainer for “receipts” aka show you results they helped their clients achieved. If they can’t show you results you can applaud and admire, then how can they help you reach your goals?
  4. Good Communication. This person should be an excellent listener and communicator. They have to hear what you’re saying. They can’t simply force you to do what they think you should be doing. It has to be a two way street; where they are providing you information and recommendations based on their experience in similar types of situations and the information you have given them. You both should be working together as a team. Your PT should be open and available to answer your questions and concerns outside of training via phone, email or in person. Last but not least, an excellent trainer will be able to fully explain why they are having you do the exercises in each of your workouts.
  5. Personalized Programming. There are a lot of IG famous people, Insta coaches and a plethora of template programs that people are purchasing online. You cannot pay money for a program that is not personalized. I repeat, you cannot pay for a training program that is not personalized. If that is the route you choose to go, there are tons of free options available online. Your program should be created specifically just for you based on where you are and what you want your end result to be.

The Latest Wellness App That Will Keep You Motivated in 2018!

I think most of us have good intentions when it comes to sticking to our health and fitness goals. That being said, we’re all human so it is not uncommon to get sidetracked along the way. And let’s be honest, staying motivated during the cold winter months can really be a difficult task. I’m personally finding it extremely difficult getting back into shape post baby, not to mention humbling. There’s been countless times I’ve wanted to bail on my early morning workouts so I have been relying heavily on wearable technology and apps to help me stay accountable because this has NOT been a walk in the park.
Carrot Rewards App + So Sasha

Carrot Rewards

You guys have heard me shamelessly express my love for loyalty programs over the years. I decorated Maxie’s entire nursery with items from retailers on Aeroplan’s eStore just so I could earn extra miles to go towards our first family vacay.  Well, a few weeks ago I discovered on a brilliant app called Carrot Rewards available on both Apple and Android. I’ve been using it every day since as a way to help encourage me to make healthier choices and better all-round lifestyle choices, while earning points and miles towards my favourite loyalty programs. Intrigued? Thought you’d would be. Here’s how it works…

Carrot Rewards App - So Sasha

The app is designed to help educate and reward Canadians for making better, healthier choices for themselves, for their families and for the planet. By being active and doing quizzes to learn about healthy living and wellness, Carrot users earn points from their favourite loyalty programs including Aeroplan® Miles, More Rewards® Points, SCENE®Points, Petro- Points, and Drop points and I’m told there are more loyalty reward partners to be added over the next few months.

Honestly, the app’s subtle way of getting users to increase and track their daily steps, become more physically active and make better food choices makes it one of my top fitness trends of 2018. I’ve been personally earning extra Aeroplan miles by opting to take the stairs instead of the elevator and choosing to walk to do some of my errands instead of driving around the city. The app was named Canadian App of the Year in Mobile Syrup’s 2017 Reader’s Choice Awards, and I can see why. With the app’s compatibility with my Apple watch, the steps from my workouts and runs are also accounted for and there are so many chances to earn bonus rewards when I scroll through the app by sharing my own meal prep recipes, taking quizzes on nutrition or inviting friends to join Carrot Rewards.

The “Tip of the Day” also serves as a gentle reminder for things most people may overlook

Many  Canadians fall short on Vitamin D in the winter. Turn to your diet to up your levels. Try salmon, mushrooms, eggs and fortified products like milk, soy and tofu.”

Carrot Rewards App - So Sasha

Carrot Rewards App - So Sasha
Photos by Jess Baumung

For more information, visit Carrot Rewards on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and follow along via #CarrotRewards, #WellnessRewarded and #WalkLearnEarn. Download the app for free on your Apple or Smartphone.

Carrot Rewards - So Sasha

 This post has been sponsored by Carrot Rewards, however all views and opinions are my own!

How To Safely Use hydraSense for Infant Nasal Congestion

Becoming a mother means you will pretty much be wearing your heart on the outside of your body for the rest of your life. You will worry constantly about your child. You just can’t help it even if you tried. It’s an innate quality I think women have that is embedded in our DNA. It’s even worse when you are a first time mother desperately trying to learn the ropes of a new role that can be considered the toughest job on earth.

HydraSense for Babies

HydraSense for Babies

Hydrasense for babies

Maxwell has just turned five months and the learnings are endless. Just when you think you have mastered one thing and settled into a groove there is a sudden plot twist and you are back to square one. One of the most surprising discoveries came very early on just days after having Max. She had terrible nasal congestion that made it challenging for her to eat during her first week and putting her to lay down to sleep was nearly impossible. She screamed her head off, especially at night typically when anything gets worse. As new parents by the second night we were so panic stricken we rushed her to the emergency room. I remember the looks on the triage nurses faces as if to say, “We have another overreacting new mother over here thinking her newborn is dying” accompanied by an exaggerated eye roll. Seven hours later and we were told all was fine and that babies just have a lot of mucus post delivery because in the womb they are surrounded by fluid. Fast forward to today, we are still experiencing some nasal congestion to be quite honest and I think at this point it from a combination of a couple things. One, we live in a condo where air circulation and dryness can be much worse than inside a house. Two, the winter months don’t help either as the heating inside makes our place extremely dry. Plus, I am convinced that she is beginning the teething process, which can also create some congestion in the nasal passage.

Hyrasense - So Sasha

After Maxwell’s three month check-up I began using HydraSense products to help with her moderate nasal congestion as recommended by her doctor. We love that it’s a 100% natural source with seawater with more than 70 marine trace elements. They are actually the #1 nasal saline solution brand here in Canada for children and contains no medications, additives or preservatives – making it the #1 choice for Canadian mamas. Combined with our Dyson humidifier that we have set up in our room not far from her bassinet, we have seen quite a significant difference with Max’s mucus levels.

At home we apply HydraSense’s Ultra Gentle Mist twice daily During her morning wipe down and again during her bedtime routine. The nighttime application is critical because she is generally more stuffier at night and the last thing I want is for her sleep to be interrupted because of a congested nose while we are sleep training her. The bottle may  appear  large and what you would expect for an adult product but the tip is ultra soft and specially designed for use in the nostrils of infants.

Hydrasense

Hydrasense

hydrasense

To administer the spray, I put her on her back and turn her head to one side and press down on the applicator for 1-2 seconds in the upper nostril. I repeat the process on the other side and generally wait about a minute or so as she sometimes sneezes everything out. If not, I then use a nasal aspirator to remove any mucus debris still obstructing the nasal passage. The HydraSense Nasal Aspirator Kit is perfect to use during those times where there is stubborn mucus that has hardened inside your baby’s nose. It was at the top of my packing list when I was preparing for our trip to Barcelona in December and I even keep a vial or two in the diaper bag in case I need to clean her nose on the go. It comes with hydraSense EasyDose vials and the nasal aspirator has a tube with a mouthpiece and a hygienic filter that allows you to gently suck out any mucus while also prohibiting it from passing through the inhalation tube. Prior to using the aspirator, it’s best to apply 1-2 drops from the EasyDose vial into each nostril (make sure to not re-use a vial after it’s been opened). Then insert the aspirator into entrance of the nose and inhale through the mouthpiece to gently remove the mucus as needed. Once finished, I gently lift her up to allow any remaining mucus to drain out on it’s own. The final step; soak a tissue or cotton ball with hydraSense and wipe around the nose. Max has gotten so accustomed to this routine that I can even sometimes get a giggle out of her when we are use the aspirator.

Hydrasense

Hydrasense
Photography by Jess Baumung

Check out hydrasense.ca for more information on hydraSense products. To make sure this product is suitable for your baby, always read the instructions and follow the label. If your child’s symptoms persist, please contact your healthcare provider.

This post was created in partnership with hydraSense for monetary compensation and/or product however all views and opinions are my own.

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

Tips & Tricks for New Moms On The Go

Whether you’re a first-time mom like me or a someone who has been blessed to be a mother more than once, I am sure you can all agree that EVERYONE thinks they are an expert when it comes to parenting. I have never in my life received more advice from friends and strangers alike until I gave birth to Maxwell. While some has been solicited, the majority has been unsolicited and I can’t say that it all works for us because let’s be honest, every baby is different. But as Maxwell and I near the end of what I like to call the “fourth trimester” I feel like I am slowly starting to get into my groove and things are feeling less chaotic. So many of you that follow me on social media have been super supportive and your “You’ve got this!” messages and comments really helped me on the days I wanted to throw in the towel. So, here’s the deal…I have taken some tips from my inner circle and have developed some of my own along the way during the last three months that has helped me navigate this new world of motherhood. Having a newborn by no means makes me an expert either but I wanted to share a few things that has worked so far with us and has kept both mama and baby happy and healthy.

Supplements for Newborns

Giving your bub supplements can significantly help ensure that they get what they need for healthy development. We have been giving Maxie a probiotic formulated for babies in addition to vitamin D3 drops since the day she was born. While probiotics are helpful to maintain balanced gut flora in your little one and to help with tummy troubles, vitamin D3 drops help their bodies absorb and use calcium plus phosphorus for strong bones and teeth.

At home we use PediaVit Vitamin D3 Drops for Maxwell and love it. It contains no sugar/sweeteners, corn, starch, gluten, wheat, yeast, artificial flavours or preservatives. PediaVit Vitamin D3 Drops also come in a gravity bottle specifically designed to release the appropriate dose of 400 IU (10 mcg) every single time, which is just one drop. This makes things super easy as there is no measuring. And as fussy as babies can be in regards to administering pretty much anything into their mouth that’s not breastmilk or formula, the drop can easily be taken during their feeding by placing it on your breast (or bottle) nipple and they don’t notice a thing!

Diaper Bag Prep Like A Boss

So here’s the thing, in the first of couple weeks I got so accustomed to just staying inside with my little squish, not having to worry about having to prepare for the outside world, that I felt extremely overwhelmed when it was time for us to leave the house. I have a few diaper bag options and of course had all the necessary items that I would need on the go however I just got so stressed out trying to leave the house. It takes so much longer to get two people ready. I worried that I may leave something important behind. But the absolute worst part was that by the time I thought I got all our things together so we could leave the house, she would want to eat again which would be followed by another diaper/clothing change. I kid you not, the first handful of times it took me over two hours to leave and once I got so fed up I just decided it wasn’t worth going anymore.

But now all is good and we can be out of the house in an hour or less which seemed impossible just a few weeks ago. For the expecting mom’s – here’s how you can make this process a bit more seamless:

  1. Start Small. Instead of packing up for a whole day out on the town, try just going for a long walk or a trip to the local coffee shop. This requires much less for you to have  on hand. Once you have nailed the short outings, then you will have the confidence for longer ones.
  2. Pack The Night Before. This is a gamechanger and saved my life. It totally eliminates the stress of accidentally forgetting something important. I had actually left the house twice without extra diapers and a change of clothes earlier on and just take a guess who had a poo explosion. When you’re not rushed to be anywhere you can take your time which significantly lowers your stress level.
  3. Keep Separate Bags From Your Partner. Sounds selfish but trust me, it’s worth it. I had to learn the hard way. Réjean would often take my bag and when it was time for me to use it, I would open it up to find that he had not replaced the diapers he used or worse, I would find a soiled diaper hidden in there from when he was out and didn’t have a place to dispose of it. Not cool!
  4. Do Weekly Inventory Checks. Babies grow FAST. If you like to keep extra changes of clothes in the bag, make sure to take look at the onesies and pants in there. You would be surprised, not swapping out these items for just two weeks can leave you stranded with clothes that no longer fit if you’re out and need to change your kid.
  5. Simplify Bottle Making On-The-Go. If you are exclusive formula feeding your bub or use it occasionally for supplemental feedings, find one of those pre-portioned formula containers so you can easily make bottles on the go.

Swaddle for Non-Swaddlers

Some babies love to be swaddled and some HATE it. There are so many benefits to swaddling your child, and I was very keen to find any way to promote sleep because this mama needed her sleep too. But Maxie hated it. There was something about her arms being held down that drove her nuts. Apparently she’s not the only one. So many babies prefer to sleep with their hands up that there are now swaddle/sleep sacks that allow you to swaddle your baby with their hands up in their favourite position making them more comfortable at night which promotes sleep.

Car Travel Without Meltdowns

It is not uncommon for babies to have a meltdown when they are put in the car. I have assumed it has to do with the car seat as babies generally love motion. I knew Max would have to go with me to work and I wanted her accustomed to the car seat as soon as possible. We are now at the point where she is either so relaxed she’s sleeping or cooing away in the back.

photography by Elaine Fancy
  • What I would do is put her in the car seat at home for short periods of time, even if we had no plans of going anywhere. Started with 5 minutes, then 10 and then worked our way up to 15 minutes without crying.
  • A fed and changed baby will be able to tolerate a car ride much better than a hungry one with a soiled diaper. Try to time your departure so that your baby has already been fed and changed before leaving. Also, important to note the way babies are positioned in car seats actually promotes bowel movements. It took me a bit to figure it out but she would have massive poo explosions by the time we reached our destination on several occasions. Having them in the car seat earlier before leaving and then taking them out to help get those bowels moving is also a great idea…so hopefully you both can avoid any diaper disasters while on the road
  • We never put Maxwell into the car if she is crying. The meltdown will only increase once she’s in there and feels restricted by the car seat. I like to put the car seat bucket into her stroller and walk her around the condo or push the stroller back and forth gently. That motion tends to settle her down and by the time we get her wheeled to the car, she is good to go!
  • During the car ride we play soothing music or no music at all and little accessories like a mirror over her car seat also helps to keep her entertained. What can I say, the kid loves to look at herself and can do so for hours.

The learning curve with a newborn is steep and each week there are learnings as we discover new tricks. Products like PediaVit take the guess work out of keeping our littles healthy and happy. To learn more about Vitamin D3 Drops and the rest of their supplement family head to PediaVit.ca Make sure this product is right for your baby. Always read and follow label instructions.

Stay tuned for more of my newborn and baby tips and tricks by following the hashtag #YouveGotThis

This post was sponsored by PediaVit but all opinions are my own!

Travel Tips for Wanderlusters

If you’ve spent any time exploring foreign destinations, you know that traveling is the only thing that you can buy that makes you richer. But as exciting and adventurous travel can be, it can be unpredictable at times. The interesting thing about traveling, no matter how frequently you do it, there are always elements you can’t control; flight delays and overbooked flights, shitty weather, exchange rate spikes, lost (expensive) luggage, foreign viruses, hotels misplacing your reservation – the list can just go on and on. But for those who have wanderlust in their veins, the potential risks are all worth it. There are a few things we can control though! I am prepping for my next adventure to Paris and thought I would share some of my most useful travel hacks with helpful tips from some of my favourite savvy travellers.

How to Avoid Jet Lag At Any Cost 101

  • Adjust your sleep before your departure. It’s natural to find it difficult to get on a different time zone when we travel, but shifting our bedtime a couple days in advance so it’s in line with your destination’s time zone works wonders – trust me. If falling asleep is a occasionally challenge even without throwing travel and time changes into the mix, then ZzzQuil may be your answer. Although ZzzQuil is created by the makers of Vicks NyQuil, it’s not for colds. It’s not for pain. It simply just for sleep. It contains diphenhydramine, a small compound used to relive occasional sleeplessness. When you can donate a full night to sleep and use as directed, it reduces the time it takes for you to fall asleep. It helps me get the rest I need while traveling so I can wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day in a new city. Savvy Traveler Tip: Pack ZzzQuil in your carry-on with your other emergency travel kit items as a precautionary measure, in the event your luggage gets lost or misplaced.

  • Avoid or limit alcohol in flight. As tempting as cocktails at take off may seem, especially when settling in for a long trip, altitude changes and dry cabin air dehydrates passengers and can increase the effects of alcohol. So friends, rule of thumb is; one drink in the air is equivalent to two or three on the ground. So as relaxing as a few glasses of vino may seem at 35,000 ft, the chance of worsening jet lag symptoms when you arrive is not worth it.
  • Opt for overnight flights. Red eye flights usually get a bad rap but, they can actually be a savvy travellers best kept secret to avoiding jet lag when crossing multiple time zones. You’ll have dinner at a normal time and be much more likely to get some sleep than on an afternoon flight, allowing you to stick to your normal schedule as much as possible.

     Book Like Like A Boss

  • Fly on a Boeing 767. Just because you may not be able to travel in first class, doesn’t mean you can’t still be comfortable in economy. If you happen to be choosing between similar priced flights and one happens to be on a Boeing 767, do yourself a favour and choose that one. Why? This particular aircraft has less of what I refer to as “Miserable Middle” seats than other planes. If a Boeing 767 isn’t an option, you can always check out SeatGuru.com, a site created by TripAdvisor. Trust me, you’ll thank me later. You can get a layout of the plane and determine which seat will be best for you. It’s so damn detailed, it even has information on seats susceptible to heat/cold, seats with lots of bathroom traffic – the worst, and info on equipment boxes under seats.
  • Choose the window and aisle seats when traveling in a pair. Whenever I’m traveling with someone else, I always select the window and aisle seats for us. Sounds a bit weird I know, but when people go online to choose their seat, they are less likely to choose an empty middle seat if there are empty aisle and window options. Meaning, theres a good chance you’ll get the entire row to you and your friend – amazing! Worst case scenario, it it’s a full flight and someone ends up nabbing the seat between you two, you can just ask to swap with them.
  • Go stealth with your browsing mode. When you first start your flight search, try using “private/incognito” browsing mode so airlines cannot track your website visits, a common and well calculated play often used by TV Host and Lifestyle Blogger, Melissa Offner of Melsays.comwho has spent the better part of her life exploring and surfing the world and over the last year has traveled coast to coast across the United States and Canada in a van with her hubby:
Melissa Offner of Melsays.com in on the road in California

“I like to open a private window when booking flights so airlines can’t raise the fares on me if I visit their site multiple times. I also use a variety of aggregator websites to shop prices and always look out for special deals before making my final purchase.”

  • Booking round-trip flights is so 2016. Booking round-trip travel seems more cost effective and is definitely easier but sometimes flying with two different carriers and booking two one-way tickets can be a lot cheaper than booking that desirable round-trip. And if significant cost savings isn’t enough for you to put in the extra work, it may also get you better departure and arrival times because you mixed and matched flights.
  • Fake where you are when you book. Your P.O.S. or “Point-of-Sale” is where your ticket is purchased and can 100% affect pricing due to what is known as regional prices. So this means, the price of a plane ticket can be much lower in a country with a lower standard of living or also when travel companies are attempting to break into a new market destination.  For example, you will find different fares on Expedia.ca than you will on Expedia.co.jp, the Japanese version, or on an international carrier’s website by changing to the airline’s home country. But please, proceed with caution and remember you will be seeing prices in local currency – not yours, so make sure you convert before booking.
  • Avoid US airlines, if possible. For those of you who have traveled extensively internationally, you have learned that foreign carriers almost always have better amenities than U.S. ones, and yes, even if you’re traveling in “Cattle Class” – providing hotel towels, blankets, pillows and even food without having to pull out your credit card.

Travel Hacks While in Transit

  • Get into the airport lounge, even if you’re flying economy. Killing hours of time before your flight boards or during long lay-overs or cancelled flights is the worst. Actually, scratch that, passing this time by and spending an exorbitant amount of money on airport food is the worst. Having premium airport lounge access is a definite game changer, will redefine the way you travel moving forward and guess what? You don’t need to have a certain frequent flier status to obtain access. Airport lounges often sell day passes, allowing you to pay access to them. They can be a bit pricey though but you can sometimes find steep discounts if you purchase them online in advance. Also, check your credit card to see whether or not being a cardholder can obtain you lounge access.
  • Stay warm and cozy AF. The chilly cabin air during a flight can be such a nuisance, especially if you’re underdressed. Gone are the days where every single airline provide you with blankets, unless you’re in business class of course, so it’s always best to travel with layers you can pile on or your own blanket to keep you warm like Canada’s most well traveled and infamous stylish twins Cailli and Sam Beckerman of BeckermanBlog.com
Cailli and Sam Beckerman
Cailli and Sam Beckerman from Beckerman Blog in NYC

…Both of us always travel with a fleece blanket, eye mask and neck pillow. We sleep with our neck pillows on backwards so that the snap is in the back. That way, when you drift off to sleep, the neck pillow catches your head when it falls. Like a donut! LOL”

  • Special meal requests. I know it’s rare to get served a meal on a plane these days but it still happens from time to time depending on the carrier and your destination (but is usually reserved for long haul flights only). This one requires some advance planning and maybe forgoing the meal everyone else is getting but you request a special meal, such as vegetarian or kosher, you will actually get served before the rest of the passengers. Meaning, you can go to sleep sooner without having to wait for the entire dinner service. More importantly, those special meals usually taste way better!
  • Not a lover of food fare in the air? That’s ok, neither am I. If you have a picky palette, eat super clean or have dietary restrictions then it’ s always best to not depend on food choices picked for you by someone else – aka an airline. I almost always pre-plan and pack a tasty and healthy meal before my flights, especially if they are a long haul jaunt. I go to my local grocery store or stop somewhere on route to the airport and pick up a wholesome salad with protein and a few snacks to keep my hunger at bay, which turns out to also be far more affordable than making purchases at the airport.

But the best advice of all comes from food writer, savvy traveler and new Mommy to Luka, Solmaz Khosrowshahian, who pens the travel content heavy website TheCuriousCreature.com – who believes having an open mind leads to the best travel experiences:

In my opinion, the best travel hack is learning how to adjust your mindset. By letting go of all expectations and judgements you can experience cultures and destinations as they truly are., not as you want them to be. Also, I strongly believe that locals know best. When visiting somewhere I haven’t been before, I reach out to random strangers (at stores, online or on the street) to get their recommendations. Most people are more than happy to share their faves and, in my experience, they places they’ve sent me have ended up being some of my fondest memories.”

And on that note, I am currently packing and prepping for my next adventure tomorrow to Paris. First time doing a long-haul flight pregnant, so I have no doubt I will develop a few more travel hacks throughout this journey. Stay tuned!

I created this blog post as a paid collaborator for ZzzQuil. All opinions and advise are my own and I only work with companies I genuinely love and have used prior to being contacted. To ensure this product is right for you, always read and follow the label.

4 Things I Didn’t Expect During Pregnancy

Well, well, well…most of you that read my blog also follow me on social media so this will not be news to you but…we are expecting our first baby this summer. The official announcement was posted on my Instagram account exactly a month ago today and while most of you may have thought it was something I was itchy to share, it was quite the opposite. As this is not Rejean and I’s first pregnancy, we suffered a miscarriage last fall (ICYMI, you can read about it here) and were devastated. After the initial joy of discovering I was with child; panic, anxiety and fear immediately set in. I’m not so sure about Rej, but I was absolutely terrified history would repeat itself and I would end up with another non-viable pregnancy and I was unsure whether I could handle another disappointment . I knew even before taking the home test that I was pregnant but to be completely honest with you, I was in complete denial for the first two months until my naturopath confirmed that my HCG levels were soaring through the roof and that there was no mistaking the fact that there was a little bean inside me.

So what next…? After carrying for almost 12 weeks the last time around, I thought I had this first trimester thing figured out but apparently I knew nothing because EVERY SINGLE PREGNANCY IS DIFFERENT. While most women gloat about how amazing their pregnancy experience is, it is not all roses for everyone, trust me! The first four months for me were insanely difficult but thankfully I am starting to finally feel like a normal human being again with the occasional bout of nausea. We are safely in our second trimester and almost at the 20 week mark. I cannot believe how fast the time is going. As the anxiety starts to fade a bit day by day, it is replaced with more and more excitement…and can only hope that the rest of the pregnancy is smooth and stress free.

There’s so much shit that has thrown me for a loop during the first 18 weeks and because I am a control freak, I wish I could have anticipated them but that’s not real life. It’s impossible to foresee the pregnancy future and for one reason or another, a lot of women only stick to sharing the positive sides of their pregnancy. So on that note, I’ve decided to share some of the things I discovered on my own, that I wish SOMEBODY had told me.

DISRUPTED SLEEP CYCLES

Majority of women talk about suffering from severe exhaustion during their pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. I remember feeling like I was in a coma during my first pregnancy but this one has been a very different experience. Rather than wanting to sleep my days away, I was barely getting 3-4 hours of sleep a night during the first couple months. Pregnancy insomnia is definitely a thing and thankfully it’s not harmful to the baby however it can get rather annoying. I assumed that this issue would occur later into the pregnancy with the physical changes to my body making it more uncomfortable to sleep but these early onset sleep issues for me were caused by emotional changes, stress, anxiety and the need to urinate a few times a night.

I did figure out a few ways to help with getting more sleep in recent weeks because after this baby arrives, I don’t anticipate getting much sleep at all:

  1. Drink plenty of water during the day and minimize water intake after 7pm
  2. Eating to sleep works wonders. Eat a healthy dinner to avoid heart burn and just before bed have a late night snack, something high in protein to help keep blood sugar steady throughout the night
  3. Make your bed a comfortable cocoon to help induce your sleep once you climb between your sheets. Make sure to bolster or add a pillow underneath your feet, tuck a pillow between your knees and sleep on your side. Still struggling to get comfortable? Do not pass go or collect $200 – and purchase one of those full body pregnancy pillows. It will not disappoint – I swear by mine!
  4. Exercising during the day will give you the energy you need earlier on but help you feel tired later on so you can get rest at night
  5. When you’re carrying another human being your body temperature is elevated causing you to feel like you’re overheating at times. Feeling hot and sticky does not set the stage for a good night’s sleep. Consider adjusting the temperature in your home or closing a vent in your bedroom to create a cooler environment for sleep.

HAIR GROWTH/HAIR LOSS

Most pregnant women speak praises of hair growth during their pregnancy. Around week 20, it’s highly likely that your hair gets thicker, shinier and looks more healthy than normal, all credit to those lovely pregnant hormones – particularly estrogen. Not to mention the increased blood circulation and metabolism pumping mega nutrients to your hair and nails. Well turns out, everyone’s prenatal experience and every single pregnancy is quite different. I was thoroughly looking forward to the luscious locks of my dreams but I’ve ended up not having any hair gains at all and worse – suffering from prenatal hair loss. Sounds a bit weird I know and there may be several reasons why this occurred.

My natural hair back in August 2016. 

During my first pregnancy I experienced no change to my hair but last November, almost 30 days after my miscarriage, I started to notice a change to the texture of my hair, thickness and length. Initially nobody else seemed to notice the difference, not even my hairdresser who I see on a weekly basis. I am pretty sure at one point she thought I was absolutely nuts. By the end of December the changes were clearly noticeable and enough to not only make me worry but had me feeling a bit depressed. I know it sounds a bit shallow, but I took pride in my beautiful, natural hair that took what felt like a lifetime to grow to the length it was. I was almost certain that when I found out I was pregnant at the end of last year, my hair would start returning to it’s healthy or at least healthier state. Sadly, I have yet to see a difference, even with daily prenatal vitamins and folic acid supplements and it appears that I am still shedding a considerable amount of hair on a daily basis. After playing web detective, which I’m not normally an advocate of, I discovered that hair loss during pregnancy can occur for a variety of reasons; with hormonal changes being one of the top culprits. Whenever the body experiences a drastic hormonal change, your normal hair growth cycle can be halted or disorganized causing excessive hair shedding or what is called Telogen Effluvium. Usually caused by dramatic emotional experiences during pregnancy also explains the state of my locks after the emotional distress I experienced after my miscarriage. Nearly half way through this pregnancy, I am going to have to wait for the condition to correction itself and to see any improvements until at least six months postpartum. In the meantime, here’s what I am doing to help reduce the hair loss during this time:

  • Eat fruits and veggies that contain flavonoids and antioxidants that may add some protection to the hair follicles and encourage hair growth
  • Avoid unnecessary stress to the hair by staying away from tight ponytails, weaves, and braids
  • Use ultra hydrating shampoos and conditioners that contain biotin and silica
  • Avoid excessive heat from flatirons, curling irons and blow dryers. as much as possible

MIGRAINE PAIN

Migraine headaches are like the lottery when it comes to pregnancy. If you suffered from migraines prior to being pregnant chances are there’s a high probability that you will experience stronger ones during – especially early on. However, there are a few lucky ducks who claim that their migraines actually diminish during pregnancy. I unfortunately have not been the exception but rather the rule when it comes to prenatal migraines and spent several weeks hemmed up due to crippling head pain, which caused me to be sensitive to noise, smells, food and even exacerbated nausea and vomiting symptoms. What’s the culprit for this annoying head pain? If you’ve guessed good ‘ole pregnancy hormones, you guessed right! Sadly, there’s not much you can for the pain during a prenatal migraine episode but on the upside, these pain cycles won’t last forever. Most healthcare providers consider acetaminophen (regular strength Tylenol) to be the only safe over-the-counter pain relief option throughout pregnancy but I strongly urge you to consult your treating physician prior to taking any. I personally didn’t have much success with Tylenol and had to resort to a few other tactics to help me with manage the pain:

  • Meditation and mindfulness techniques
  • Exercise (prior to full blown migraine)
  • Cold compress to the forehead and neck
  • Regular massage therapy
  • Warm epsom salt baths
  • Stretching; both preventative and during an episode
  • Increase water intake

NOT ALL PRE-NATAL VITAMINS ARE CREATED EQUAL

This one sort of threw me for a loop and I think that it is one of my most surprising discoveries throughout during this time. Our mothers and grandmothers may not have been popping prenatal vitamins, or even know what they are for that matter, but our generation sure as hell has been made aware that it’s a critical part of having a healthy pregnancy and baby. During the first pregnancy, although planned, we were not aware that I should have been popping this magic pills prior to conniving and that the most important period for brain and neural tube development occurs within the first four weeks of pregnancy. With our lifestyles, nutritional habits and the state of our food being so different than it was in previous generations, it’s imperative that women get the right amount of essential vitamins and minerals during (and even before conception) to prevent neural tube defects and support your little one’s growth and development. I actually never stopped taking mine between the two pregnancies.

Seeing as though the health care industry has deemed these supplements so important for pregnant women, one would expect that there be a set standard amount of each vitamin and nutrient found in each pill. I found out about a month into my current pregnancy that this is in fact not the case and immediately made changes to my prenatal vitamin, choosing one with DHA (omega 3 docosahexaenoic acid that benefits vision and brain development) and also added an additional 1 mg of folic acid. Even though folic is already in my prenatal supplement, I wanted to add some more, just to be on the safe side. There is no harm with taking a bit extra folic acid because whatever the body doesn’t need, it will flush out in your urine. Here’s the basics that you should have in your prenatal vitamin:

  • 1 mg (1000 mcg) of folic acid (folate)
  • 400 IU (10 mcg) of vitamin D.
  • 200 to 300 mg of calcium
  • 75 mg of vitamin C.
  • 3 mg of B1 (thiamine)
  • 3 mg of B2 (riboflavin)
  • 20 mg of niacin.
  • 10 mcg of vitamin B12.
  • 10 mg of vitamin E.
  • 15 mg of zinc.
  • 20 mg of iron.
  • 150 mcg of iodine
  • 30 mg of biotin
  • 25 mg of magnesium
  • 150 mg of DHA

Pregnancy has turned out to be nothing but surprises so far and I’m sure this is just the beginning. Looking forward to sharing all the good, bad and the ugly with you all over the next several months until our little bean arrives.

Next Level Wonderful Pistachios Crusted Salmon

Elaborate and sophisticated meals is not what I am known for at our house. I leave all the culinary heavy lifting to the Mister. Not quite sure why but the longer the list of ingredients I see in a recipe, the more intimidated I get. Probably because the more ingredients usually means more (preparation) time and more clean up at the end. Neither of which excite me. We made a pack at home to eat dinner together every night and in the kitchen not sitting on the couch in front the TV. I know it sounds a bit corny but I think it’s been integral to the success and strength of our relationship. With our work week hours being later than most, this sometimes becomes a challenge resulting to turning to quick fix dishes that can be on the table in 30 minutes or less.

Salmon is definitely a hit around here because it’s a super easy way to incorporate healthy Omega 3’s into our diets but let’s be real here, when you’re eating fish 1-2 times a week, you need to start getting a bit creative with your recipes. With salmon being so soft and fleshy I thought creating a pistachio crust using Wonderful Pistachios with a touch of honey and mustard would be a perfect juxtaposition of both taste and texture. Occurring to me while woofing down a handful of the brand’s addictive “Sweet & Salty” flavoured nuts. Sure there’s a few other nuts I could have chosen, so why Wonderful Pistachios? Besides tasting amazing, they are a source of vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous and fibre, adding extra nutritional value to this ridiculously delicious protein option. Making this is pretty much fool proof for those of you who also get intimidated with Julia Childs-like recipes (trust me!) and literally goes well with almost anything.

PISTACHIO CRUSTED SALMON


Prep Time: 5 minutes     Cook Tim:e 20 minutes     Total Time: 25 minutes     Servings: 2


INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 salmon fillets (approx. 6 oz each, skin on)
  • half cup of crushed unsalted Wonderful Pistachios
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 1 tbsp course grain mustard (or Dijon)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp olive or canola oil

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Rinse salmon and pat dry with a paper towel. Arrange fillets on foil (or parchment paper) lined baking sheet, skin side down. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste
  3. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, lemon zest, mustard and honey. Spoon mixture and spread evenly over top of each piece of fillet
  4. Coarsely chop pistachios in a food processor, coffee grinner or by hand and combine with Panko bread crumbs and oil. Spread pistachio mixture pressing lightly to adhere
  5. Bake until salmon is cooked through to your liking and nuts are golden for approximately 15-20 minutes. Let salmon rest for 5 minutes outside of the oven before serving. Pair with a side of your choice; salad, quuinoa or grilled veggies and enjoy!

This post is sponsored by Wonderful Pistachios®, but all thoughts and opinions are my own!

Snacking Just Got Fresher with Harvest Bakes

Guys, snacking just got a little easier and a whole lot healthier this month thanks to Country Harvest who has just launched the best thing since sliced bread (sorry, I couldn’t resist myself!) I have absolutely no shame in admitting that I am a serial snacker – big time! I eat small meals with several snacks throughout the day to keep me going but just like everyone else, having healthy snacks when I’m on-the-go all the time can be a bit of a challenge.  And let’s be honest, we ALL have good intentions when it comes to our food choices however we are all prone to fall off due to the options, or lack thereof, around us when we are not at home.

Over the past few weeks we (ok, mainly me) have been eating our way through Harvest Bakes snacks prior to it’s arrival in stores to see what all the hype was about. So what exactly are Harvest Bakes snacks? I know for thing thing, they are insanely delicious but to pigeon hole them into just one thing would be unfair. Yes, they are shaped in the form of a square like bread slices but they couldn’t be farther from. A flat bread if you will but will the density and texture of a baked good that is packed full of whole grains, protein, fibre and iron. And covering all the bases and making sure all palette preferences are accounted for, there are three delicious varieties to appease all; Wild Blueberry with Flax Seeds and Rolled Oats, Apple & Cinnamon with Raisons – my current favourite and Super Seedy & Quinoa with Sunflower, Flax, Pumpkin and Chia Seeds…I know that’s quite a mouthful isn’t it? All tasty. Super healthy and the perfect snack to pack, toast or spread your go-to topping on. I have yet to try toasting them, much preferring to smear natural peanut butter over top with sliced bananas sometimes even sprinkling with a dash of chopped pistachios – YUM right?!

Photos by Jilly Botting

Harvest Bakes are now available in the bakery aisle in your local grocery store. To learn more and to discover more nutritional information head to CountryHarvest.com

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