Leg warmers, Miss Weasel and the gym

Let’s get straight about this. I’ve never been a gym bunny. In fact, I’ve only stepped inside of a gym twice in my life – and I was quite happy to keep it that way.

Leg warmers, tank tops, sneakers and headbands are all a little too Fame for my liking.

Up until 3 weeks ago that is. Ah don’t get me wrong, not the leg warmers and headbands – just the gym attendance.

So 3 weeks ago I started joining some of my colleagues before work every morning for a one hour workout.

We start with a 1 mile run on the treadmill, 45 minutes of weights, another 1 mile run and then some stretching.

Those efforts in turn, have prompted me to improve my diet by increasing my protein and decreasing my sugar intake.

And then the result of that is more consistent energy levels throughout the day, clearer skin, better sleep and improving posture.

There’s just so many benefits I can’t count them all.

Who knew?

 

 

Music I’m loving: Dan Mangan

I’ve been a fan of Canadian songwriter, Dan Mangan for quite some time now and today’s blog is a review of his new album, ‘Oh Fortune’. (http://www.danmanganmusic.com)

The first thing that stands out about the album is how evolved his sound has become – it has his same great gritty vocals, but it’s a much lusher and produced sound than previously.

If this album had a time of day it would be the middle of the afternoon.

It’s a little too heavy in it’s beat to really travel well late at night, but it’s great for when you’re looking for something with a little more energy to keep you company.

I’ve included a live video of the single, ‘About as helpful as you can be’ – one of my favourite songs from the album and a great blend of the orchestral and his distinctive vocals.

Music I’m loving: Adam Cohen

Recently I stumbled across Adam Cohen’s new album, Like a Man, and in particular the lyrical and tender single ‘What other Guy’.

With his father being the great Canadian songwriter Leonard Cohen, I was immediately intrigued to investigate the album – and have certainly not been disappointed.

It’s Adam’s third solo album (http://www.adamcohen.com) and is full of lovely romantic ballads and simple acoustic songwriting – making it the perfect accompaniment for a road trip.

If this album had a time of day, it would be that magic hour around midnight when the world has quietened down and the light has shifted to a deep still blue.

I’ve included the video for ‘What other guy’ below to give you a feel for the album

 

 

Thanksgiving: what are you thankful for?

Being a vegetarian, I’m not one to get excited about a turkey dinner (actually quite the opposite).

But I do feel inspired by the spirit of Thanksgiving and taking the time to sit down and give thanks for the abundance in my life.

What appeals to me even more about this antidote to sense-of-entitlement, is that you can develop a practice of gratitude at any time of the year.

It’s easy to start just by noticing all the goodness in your life.

Here’s my gratitude test: count off ten things that you really appreciate in your life today… Was that difficult or easy?

If you’re really struggling to find your gratitude, try tuning into today’s news. From earthquake to war to poverty to rioting to jail – sometimes it just takes someone else’s perspective on suffering to realise how ridiculously lucky we all are.

Thanksgiving in Canada: where does it come from?

I’m sure that even the Aussies out there would know that America celebrates Thanksgiving in November, but did you know that Canada has its very own Thanksgiving in a separate month?

That’s right; in Canada Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in October – and has been since 1957 when the date was finally locked down.

The tradition of giving thanks goes back to the First Nations people celebrating a bountiful harvest, but Canadian Thanksgiving is usually credited to early voyagers in the 16th Century giving thanks for surviving the perilous journey to Canada.

In the 1800s, Thanksgiving became an occasion to give thanks for the end of war and rebellion and then after World War I, Remembrance Day and Thanksgiving were celebrated together up until the two days were separated in 1931.

So although today this tradition speaks to the celebration of an abundant harvest, it has also historically represented a time of giving thanks for the peace that we live in.


 

Why I love Alberta: the smaller picture

One of the things I love about Alberta is that you can take a look out on a sweeping field or a grove of trees – and not even realise just how much life is bustling away in the smaller picture.

Today’s blog is about the smaller picture and some of the creatures that are bustling away amongst the grains and the dirt and the grasses.

I do recognise most of these little guys, but the second one down – any one know what that is? (a variety of ladybug?)

 

 

 

Why I love Alberta: the big picture

Alberta is a beautiful province with a range of spectacular and diverse scenery.

From endless prairie grasslands to lush river valleys to the Rocky Mountains, it’s no coincidence that a number of feature films have been shot on location in Alberta.

Today’s blog is the bigger picture of what I love about Alberta and I hope these photos can capture some of that ‘big sky’ feeling for you that I have come to love.

 

 


 

 

 

 

How to recycle paper in Calgary: top 3 tips

It may surprise you to learn that paper recycling has been around for almost as long as paper itself.

It first began as a modern municipal system back in the 19th century when sorting centres were opened and curbside pickup was first implemented.

Although recycling was first piloted in Calgary in 1991, it was actually only in 2010 that the citywide blue recycling bins were introduced. (see Tuesday’s blog post here)

In it’s first year, approximately 70,000 tonnes of material from blue carts and community recycling depots was recycled.

Today’s post is a top 3 tips on recycling paper, and how you can do your part.

First tip, is to make sure that you put your papers in loose and not bundled up. You don’t need to sort it out from plastics or metals – it gets sorted at the other end.

Secondly, take off any plastic wrappings from magazines. Although it may contain paper, you can’t recycle any mixed packaging such as toothpaste tubes, frozen juice containers.

And thirdly, try to reuse it as much as possible before it even hits the recycle bin.

Ask yourself – what’s in your weekly garbage and is there anything more that you can do to keep reducing it?

I’ve included a 2 minute video for you to get understand how paper is made from tree to paper:

 

How to recycle plastics in Calgary: top 3 tips

Despite the fact that plastics recycling has been around since 1990, Calgary only got its citywide recycling last year!!

As a result, there is still much confusion in the city about what can actually be recycled.

So for those of you in the dark, today’s blog post is a top 3 tips for recycling plastics in Calgary.

Firstly, you can’t recycle styrofoam, plastic drinking cups (including coffee cups) or any other plastics that don’t have a number 1-7 on the bottom of it.

Secondly, it needs to be clean of food residue. This means you need to wash it before you put it out in your blue bin. Otherwise they are considered contaminated and won’t be recycled.

And thirdly, don’t bag it up. Put the items into your bin loose; including plastics, paper, cardboard, metal cans and tetra paks. It gets sorted at the other end.

If you follow these three simple tips, you’ll be doing your part to make a difference in the city.

If you want to know more you can find a simple guide from the city here: http://bit.ly/nnF03F

 

 

3 old habits that I’m letting go of

Just as surely as I’m learning 3 new habits (see Tuesday’s blog post), so too I am letting go of 3 old habits.

And here they are, at the risk of appearing human –

1. Running traffic lights. I’m no lead foot when it comes to driving, but I do have a tendency to squeak through the lights at the last minute just when they’re changing. So I asked myself – is it really so important that it can’t wait another 30 seconds? Hence my recent commitment to slow down and stop at every orange light.

2. Not saying how I really feel in order to ‘keep the peace’. Over the years I’ve been one to avoid conflict by just not talking about it with the others involved. I’ve come to realise what a disservice this is to myself and others – and on the reverse of that what a tremendous opportunity it is for greater intimacy when we do talk it out. My workplace (www.businessinstincts.ca) has been instrumental in modelling this new habit for me.

3. Not challenging my old (and out of date) beliefs.  At times I find myself making bold statements that may well have been true twenty years ago, such as ‘I’m not sporty’, but this is certainly not true today. This past year I have learnt to ride a motorbike, embraced swing dancing and begun hot yoga – to name just a few. And in doing so, found out that so many of my old beliefs about myself are no longer true – and perhaps never even were.