running happy

Here are some tips to maximize your run:

  1. Relax. You might think that is impossible when your legs are pumping and your breathing is heavy, but try practicing a little relaxation. Start with your shoulders. Drop your shoulders. Relax your arms and your hands. Roll your head, relax your upper muscles. Then move down, relax your hips and let your legs move effortlessly. You’ll find a big difference in your technique, not to mention your overall enjoyment of running once you master the art of relaxation.
  2. Breath through your nose. Our impulse when we run is to draw in as much air as possible, so that means breathing through your mouth. Try taking deep breaths through your nose. This will not only help with your relaxation but will allow your body to run at a pace that is right for you, rather than forcing a faster pace by breathing heavily through the mouth. Think of yogic postures where you breath in through your right nostril and out through your left.
  3. Enjoy your surroundings. What better time to notice those spring buds coming up or the blue sky. Even if it’s raining or dark, look up and see the moon and the stars. Feel the rain on your face (it’s quite refreshing!). Running is the perfect pace for enjoying the scenery. Make the most of your runs and see what nature has to say to you.
  4. Run on the balls of your feet. Try making as little noise as you can while running, avoiding thumping down on your heel. Running shoes are terrible for promoting “light” running with their heavy heel padding. (I will be experimenting with barefoot running soon, stay tuned!) Run as if you are on eggshells, treading lightly while keeping your upper body tilted slightly forward. A lighter runner is a faster and more efficient runner.
  5. Vary your pace. Running can get monotonous. Pick up your pace if you’re feeling a little frisky, or slow it down if you’re feeling rugged. One of the benefits of running is you can do whatever you want, so run however you feel. Vary your running with sprints, long, slow runs and hills. Not only will you improve your skills, you will find the technique and stride that is right for you.

Happy running!


say “cheese”!

Here is something I really cannot understand. Fellow runners who do not smile when we pass each other.  When I run, I feel fantastic! Okay, maybe not while I’m chugging up that hill, but generally I’m happy. And what makes me even happier is seeing other runners.

Running is a mind sport. It’s your mind that keeps you going all those kilometers. It’s what’s in your head (or what you tell yourself) that gets you up those hills, that gets you out the door and what makes you sign up for those races. Once your body is trained, it’s all in the mind.

So when I pass other runners it’s not a competition. There is no race (and even if it were, I would still smile). Endorphins are firing, the sun is shining and we’re lucky to be healthy. To be able to run! So I often wonder, what is up with people who don’t smile back? Could be they’re lost in thought, oblivious to their surroundings. Very possible and I often find myself lost in thought as well.

If you happen to be a runner, smile back when someone smiles. It feels good, its encouraging and above all, it says we’re in this together.


Lisa’s Twice-Baked Granola

Also known as Hairy Legs Granola, here’s my favorite recipe for homemade granola.

1.5 cups oats
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup sliced almonds
2 cups various dried fruits*
1/2 cup flax seed (ground)
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
dash salt

* I especially like dates and dried cranberries. Raisins are good too, as are dried apricots. Try dried apple, or if you like sweet, dried pineapple. You can use almost any dried fruit!

Various dried fruit

I always make small batches because I like to mix and match the dried fruit and nut combinations. Small batches give me the opportunity to make different flavors.

I use 1 cup of the regular oats and 1/2 cup of organic oats. Toast the oats in the over at 350-degrees for 5 minutes. Then I toast the sliced almonds and then the coconut. I toast everything separately because all ingredients toast at different speeds. It takes a few extra minutes but ensures the coconut doesn’t burn and your oats get nicely toasted!

Organic Oats

While toasting, I cut up the dried fruit. Dried fruit has sugars which make them sticky. To ensure the fruit doesn’t stick together I mix with ground flax seed. Then I dump all ingredients in a big bowl and start my “glue”.

The “glue” is the wet mixture that holds everything together. Start by melting the butter over low heat in a saucepan. Add honey and a splash of almond and vanilla extract. I’ve never known any recipe to mix these two extracts but the smell is just heavenly that I cannot help but use them both! Then a dash of salt to even out the sweet flavors.

Melt together the honey and butter

Once the mixture is melted I slowly drizzle over the dry ingredients, ensuring everything gets covered. Then I press into a pan and bake for 5 minutes at 350-degees. Remove from oven, let cool and ta-tah! You have delicious granola! Try it with some plain yogurt!

Really delicious granola


Skinny Jeans.. The self-esteem killer

I love fashion just as much as the next girl. In fact, for someone who is not in fashion as a profession, I follow the trends pretty closely. I enjoy it. I like clothes, especially shoes and scarfs.

Sometimes it takes me a while to come around. Take for instance the pointy-toe pumps that were all the rage a few years ago. It took me a while to adopt the pointy-toe shoe trend. But when I did, I sported (admittedly) both boots and shoes with pointy toe.

The confidence crusher (A.K.A. skinny jeans)

Fast forward a few years later and out come the skinny jeans. I didn’t take to this fashion trend straight away either. I stood on the sidelines, watched and waited. I definitely witnessed a few misses, but when the time was right I jumped in. It felt odd at first, wearing jeans so snug. I had always worn my jeans loose, not baggy, but relaxed. The way I thought jeans were suppose to fit.

There is nothing relaxing about skinny jeans. I always feel the need to suck in my tummy or hid my back-side with a tunic. Let’s be honest, skinny jeans are a pain in the butt. If you have even the slightest love handles, it shows. A little tummy, it shows. They are fault-finding jeans. I guess they are called skinny jeans because only very skinny people can wear them.

Not wanting to end this blog on a bad note, I will say this in favor of the skinny jean. They are a great incentive for working out and staying in shape! And, they now have high waisted skinny jeans. Which are more comfortable than the traditional styles and help hold in any excess around the mid-section. Phew! Now, let’s wait and see what they come out with next.. and I hope it doesn’t have the word “skinny” in it.


Pinterest.. the new “it” site?

I recently came across yet another social site that lets you share all the things you love on the world wide web. I finally got on Twitter and am just learning about Tumblr when along comes 

I found out about Pinterest through a friend on Facebook. What drew me to Pinterest is all the pretty pictures. Seriously! Check it out and have a look at all the cool things you can see on one page. Granted, it is a bit girly as there is a lot of fashion, food and home decor.

Pinterest reminds of the wedding blog site StyleMePretty, “for style obsessed brides” (yes, that is the official tag-line). I cherished this web site while I was planning my wedding. All the ideas! The photos! It gave me inspiration and I spent countless hours scrolling through wedding after wedding.

How Pinterest works: Once you sign up (it oddly takes about a week to get “approved” by the Pinterest staff), you install the “Pin It” button which lets you grab an image from the web and add it to any one of your “pinboards”.

Check out my.. See anything you like?


Great Expectations

Seems everyone is talking about expectations lately. New buzzword for 2012?

There is something to be said about our expectations in this age of super-technology. Stuck without a clue where to fill up on gas? Just fire up your handy Yelp app and locate nearby gas stations. Or the instant translation app Word Lens, offering real-time translation. Not to mention the plethora of content at our fingertips through Wikipedia and Google. It is no wonder with all at our disposal that our expectations are a little high.

I think Louis C.K. says it best, “everything is amazing right now and nobody’s happy.” And why is that? I think its because our life expectations have been raised and with higher expectations, higher the chance of disappointment.

Seth Godin is talking about expectations. In his blog entry, You will be disappointed he says sooner or later something (or someone) won’t meet your expectations.

Expectations keep rising, and promises keep being made. We keep bringing more magic into the world, but rising expectations mean that there’s more disappointment as well.

The point is that our expectations will not always be met. The alternative, as Seth points out, is what? Retreat and hide and not take any chances? It’s an easy choice.

It is an exciting time to be a marketer. The stakes are high, least we disappoint the masses.


Wishful Wednesday

One of my favorite things about getting married was getting to pick my wedding dress! Every bride is different and has her own style (and budget)! Just for fun, I thought I’d share some of my favorite dresses that I found while I was looking. Oh what fun!

Alice Temperley's Long Jean Dress

Without a doubt, this dress (above) is among my top faves! Maybe it’s the hippy look, the sheer simplicity or the beaded cut-outs, or all the above! I’ll never forget this dress by British designer Alice Temperley. I even had my own dress tailor made to follow the soft, flowing skirt! Simply the best!

Jenny Packham's Claire (left) and Eden (right)

No wedding gown list is complete with mention of Jenny Packham. Having travelled to Toronto’s bridal gown boutique, White, just a few times to try on Ms Packham, I am a huge fan! The gown that first caught my eye from Jenny’s collection is Claire. A dress designed in memory of her friend. Coming in a close second is Eden. Do you see a trend here?

While admittedly I didn’t look at many of Claire’s gowns, Claire Pettibone has a timeless, romantic essence to her dresses that did not go unnoticed. I’m hard-pressed to pick any one Pettibone design simply because I haven’t studied them long enough. But if you like what you see so far, check her out at http://clairepettibone.com/

Without further ado, the designer I love to love… Australian fashionista Johanna Johnson! Right up my alley, Ms Johnson does bridal gowns like no other. Simple (ah, love that word when it comes to weddings) and lovely. What do you get? Simply lovely! She even inspired my jewellery choice, but I’ll save that for another day!

The timeless Johanna Johnson


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