Fit Girl’s Guide – Week Two Recap

In a shocking turn of events, I’m delayed writing up my Week Two Recap and it’s already Wed, Oct 31. Halloween! I’m a deer! (If I get a cute picture and not just a poorly lit picture in my office, I’ll post it on the A Flimsy Plan insta.) With this spoooooky season coming to a close, let’s hit up another recap of my Fit Girls journey! (Syntax? What’s syntax? I’m not fixing that sentence!)

Fit Girls Guide Week Two Recap

So, How’s It Going, Erin?

Honestly, Recap Readers? I’m feeling like I maybe cheated myself by not deciding to do the Fit Girl’s workout plan. I have a fairly good workout routine of my own established – I’ll give it it’s own post despite the fact that it’s pretty boring – but I’m wondering if it’s maybe not really much of a challenge if I’m not changing my habits a ton? Should I have thrown myself in whole hog, balls to the wall?

To be honest, I’m a very all or nothing type person. I stay busy all the time because I’m afraid that if I stop moving, I’ll never start moving again. I genuinely have to remind myself that working out three times a week is something to be celebrated – it doesn’t have to be “seven days or you’re a failure”. One of the repeated mantras I’ve come across in the Fit Girls Community is “Progress, Not Perfection” and one of my hopes is that by the end of these four weeks I’ll start to grant myself this grace.

And if my university theatre teachers are at all reading this – I know. You’ve been telling me that I don’t need to be perfect since I was 20. I’ll get there one day.

Keep It Positive! What Did You Like This Week?

This week, I took such joy in the dinners.

For my adult working life, I’ve always been reasonably good about prepping lunches and making breakfasts at home – I feel like nothing is a bigger waste of money than buying breakfast on the go. (Now, I’m less good about having prepped lunches and breakfasts on the weekends and this challenge has forced me to do that, but we’ll talk about that another time.) Dinner is a different story. Intellectually, I know that I have lots of food in the pantry and freezer so I don’t often buy ingredients for dinner… but the problem is, I’m not great at looking at my ingredients and coming up with a dinner idea. I often think “I’ll just pick this up on my way home” or making one of my go-to 5 minute meals.

This challenge has made me have to change that. The dinner recipes they have provided are real, grownup dinners and also super easy and quick. This week I made lasagna rolls (!!!) and polenta with shrimp (!!!). There are no words for how together it makes me feel.

And What About The Low Points?

Sticking to the meal plans has been pretty easy because the food is delicious, easy and leaves room for flexibility and treats with the snacks.

That said, I’ve definitely still been drinking a little bit too much wine. (Before you start worrying about me – the plan technically allows for 10 oz of wine a week. So “a little bit too much” is pretty easy to go over if you go out on the weekend and also get a glass of wine when you go to the theatre… suddenly that’s 15 oz over the week!)

And on Saturday, my roommate was inspired to do meal prep – yay! – and was in the kitchen for three hours – less yay! – right around dinner time. I finally gave up, ordered some Vietnamese on Skip the Dishes (only $12! so frugal!) and then headed out for my evening plans. I ended up throwing the lasagna rolls I was going to eat into the deep freeze so now I have a homemade healthy “frozen meal” for one of those lazy evenings once the challenge is over!

It’s a lose-win, really!

Is a lose-win a thing? Discuss in the comments section.

Fit Girl’s Guide – Week One Recap

If there’s one thing my readers know about me, it’s that I’m an actress. Oh no, wait, that’s not what this post is about… Let’s start over. If there’s one thing my readers know about me, it’s that I love challenges. Challenges are essentially the only way I actually achieve anything in life because I truly thrive on external validation. (Hashtag, maybe not the best quality? Hashtag love yourself?) Anyway, today is a not a deep dive into my psyche, today is a recap of the first week of my most recent challenge – Fit Girls Guide‘s 28 Day Jumpstart.

The Why

I’ve owned the Fit Girls 28 Day Jumpstart ebook since probably 2016 and dabble in it here and there. I usually do a pretty okay job of doing the first week (I love their roasted veggie power bowl and it is 100% my go to lunchtime meal prep) and then I don’t make any lunches for the weekend and then I go to Bottlescrew Bill’s on the Friday to work on my beer passport and then that is that. Sooo… that really shows some real stick-to-it moxie, right?

Yeah, I need to work on that whole accountability thing…

I’m also doing a little No Spend Month with some friends on Facebook and, though I’ve re-framed that into “mindful spend”, my biggest area of mindless spending is on dumb convenience food so following a proper meal plan definitely helps with that.

Plus, I just bought a smart scale. I haven’t had a scale in over 13 years and I am obsessed with watching my body water and muscle mass levels fluctuate. I haven’t become a crazy person with the scale yet but… uh… watch this space.

The Plan

Fit Girls Guide is focused on easy, meal preppable, delicious whole foods. They don’t exclude any food group (though they do offer suggestions of substitutions and modifications for almost every preference/requirement you could imagine) and they account for everything in moderation. Progress, not perfection is the goal! The ebook is also full of wisdom, inspiration and fun dog pictures – it genuinely feels like chatting health with your bbf (best best friend).

Specifically, 28 Day Jumpstart offer a 4 week meal plan – 1 breakfast recipe, 1 lunch and 2 dinners that rotate through the week for easy of prepping and finances. However, they also have a ton of alternative meals so if you aren’t a creature of routine and consistency like me (I could genuinely eat savoury oats every single morning), you can mix it up. Additionally, make sure you treat yourself to a 200 cal snack of your choice (tons of suggestions included!) and a square of dark chocolate every single day.

There’s also an exercise plan that I’m not actually following because I only workout well during fitness classes. And barre just also just low-impact, bodyweight movements… just like the Fit Girls exercise plan. I’m doing fine.

So… How’s It Going?

Mostly good! I mean, I already know that I love Week One (overnight oats, that veggie bowl I talked about and alternating pita pizzas and sweet potato tacos for dinner) so this should be no surprise.

That said, I did goof a bit on the weekend. I knew I would be going out on Friday for a Paint Nite with my fam to celebrate my mom’s birthday, so I accounted for that (a little extra wine, a delicious buffalo chicken wrap and doing spin for the second time in a week on Saturday morning) but then Saturday night got a little bit away from me. I wanted to work on my novel but was having trouble focusing at home, so I headed over to an old classic – Earls Shepard Flats for a glass of happy hour wine and a new location. But then this lady sat down next to me at the bar, instantly befriended me and… well, I had a little more wine, a little more Salmon Zen Bowl and a little more bites of pumpkin pie than I expected.

But hey, what can you do? Progress, not perfection. And not that the scale is the be-all and end-all of all things, but I always expect it to pop up a bit after the weekend due to water retention and sodium nonsense and today it didn’t. So I’m not going to beat myself up.

Goal for this week? Actually make all your meals at home and stick to that mindful spend challenge, Erin!

(Oh, and if you want to follow along, you can find me on insta as Fitgirlera.)

No-Spend April – Week Three

No-Spend Week Three
Week Three

I keep thinking I skipped writing about No-Spend Week Three and I’ve messed up – and then I realize that I’m currently in Week Four and April has just been a bit of a runaway blur. I still have over a week left! I should be less smug about “no-spend”.

The Spends

  • Truth time: I bought a set of chairs and a new couch last week. (Note: Couch was bought on my mom’s HBC credit card so she can get points and I will be reimbursing her when the bill comes due, so not until May.)

This is literally the opposite of “No Spend”.

But hear me out! I’ve been looking for a new living room set since last summer. Despite being a fully functional adult and actually having a pretty cute house, I’ve never actually picked out my own, new furniture and bought it. Right around January, I picked out the chairs I liked at Ikea and the couch/chaise I loved at The Bay. Since then, I’ve just been waiting for a good price and, coincidentally, Ikea had a living room sale and The Bay put their couches on sale for 55% off, which is the best sale I’ve seen since the summer.

So, since this spend was from savings, it’s something that I would have spent a ton more on if I waited until May and it was mindful… I think it fits into the philosophy of “No-Spend April”.

  • This week also contained my pre-selected social outing – it was my friend’s 30th birthday and his girlfriend planned a whole surprise day for him (board game café, beer and chip tasting, Escape Room, Pin Bar). To be honest, I originally wasn’t going to go. I even texted her and was like “Ugggh, it’s No Spend Month!” And then I thought about it. About how I would probably regret it if I missed it, about how I shouldn’t be an anti-social shut in, about how I had budgeted myself one night out this month. And about how, really, life is about moderation and normally I would go out every weekend and have so many self-dates so I was still doing better. So I went and it was so much fun and so good to see my friends.

The No Spends

Groceries were $23 this week and I’m just killing it.

Maybe because I did purchase my new living room set this week (though it won’t be moving in until early June), but this month really isn’t feeling like a No Spend Month anymore. Not in that I’m spending a ton, but I’m just not feeling deprived, which is what I expected. It’s really just about making better choices about what I’m spending my money on and focusing on my goals.

I think I’m going to continue with a No Spend May (I have waaaaay too much stuff in my pantry still that I need to cook through), excluding a shopping day with Claire for my upcoming Vegas trip. I have finally found a roommate that I like, who will be moving in for May, which means a little help on the household expenses, but I don’t want to be going too wild just because of that. Gotta save for the future. Be the ant and not the grasshopper and all that.

The Yoga

I am two days behind on the challenge and I am totally okay with that. I am getting so much better at finding the space in my day and prioritizing my yoga. 30 days to make a habit, right?

Things I Ate at the Calgary Stampede

Okay. Dudes and dudettes, you may or may not know that I am currently on vacay in BC for a week. I usually spend my vacations touring around places I haven’t really been to before but this year I dropped all my extra cash on London, so instead I’m just relaxing out at my parents’ place in Kimberley. It’s been a lot of reading beach trash, drinking boxed wine and brainstorming blog post ideas so I don’t fall behind again. It’s awesome but it’s probably making me lazy. I don’t want to let the Stampede fall too far in the past, since it closed on Sunday, but I am on vacay, so let’s keep it real easy and start off by talking about “Things I Ate at the Calgary Stampede” (I know, I know, be so jealous).

tophies
bbq and mikes
Pulled Pork Sandwich
At Stampede, you’ll quickly learn that there is pretty solid BBQ all over the place, specifically down the alley towards the Grandstand. How does a girl decide which barbeque stand deserves their well-earned $10? If you’re me, it’s the one with all the trophies, obviously! Most of these trophies are actually for their brisket but pulled pork is one of my very favourite meals (actually, I’m a sucker for pulled meats in general) so I went for it along with a Mike’s Hard Root Beer. Which?! Rootbeer beers are all the rage right now according to my dad who is “in the industry” (read: has a retirement job working at a liquor store) and yeah this tastes 100% just like root beer. So dangerous!

elvis
The Elvis
Guys, I get it. I now know how Elvis became Fat Elvis because I too have experienced the deliciousness that is a bacon, banana and peanut butter sandwich – in my case from The Peanut Butter Cupboard food truck. I stood in the rain for this guy and did not regret it at all – the perfect picture of salty-sweet. I might be able to recreate it at home but instead, I might just try to stalk this food truck around town instead… It’s summer in Calgary, they must be everywhere, right!?

mini donuts
Mini Donuts
And I rounded out that day of Stampeding with a little bag of mini donut – aka little clouds of sugary heaven. I somehow managed to save half for the next day and refreshed them at work by microwaving them for just 15 seconds. All my friends were so jealous.
Note: Don’t be fooled by imitators. The only place to get mini donuts is at the big yellow stand between the Big Four and BMO Centre called “Those Little Donuts”. I repeat do not go anywhere else.

Waffles and Chix
Fried Chicken Poutine
Another day kicked off with this not-so-little goodie from the Waffles & Chix stand. Waffles & Chix are actually all over the place in Calgary between their food truck and their booth at the Crossroads Farmers’ Market. But my mom and I enjoyed the fried chicken poutine a few years ago and it was so good that I have never wanted to taint the memory. This year we finally did and it was just as delicious as we remembered – all melty cheese curds and a bit of shredded cheese to fill it out, white gravy and delicately breaded fried chicken. Note that it is definitely a sharing portion. And that I was so excited to eat it that I didn’t take a picture… also, I was busy helping the little boy sitting next to me not lose his plate. It was a dramatic time. The picture above is blatantly ripped off the internet.

cheese pairing
Cheese Pairing
After all the craziness of the midway, Stampede Show Band and snowmobiles hopping over jumps (to be explained in a later post…), my mom and I needed a little Zen so we hit up the Co-op Wine Garden and enjoyed a little wine flight with cheese pairings. We have been obsessive with trying to pair our cheese and wine ever since (and we definitely have been carrying that little pairing card around with us) so that speaks highly to the success of it, yes?

nachos
Nachos and Beer at The Station
Did you know that there is a small beer garden with 20 types of wings, beer on tap and table service in the basement of the Big Four? (There’s also a ton of excellent food options down there, including some truly remarkable tacos from Anejo.) My mom recently had a cyst rupture in her knee so she needs regular walking breaks and we decided to just check out what was what in order to find a 30 minute sitting break. What a great choice! I was so thrilled with the table service, I couldn’t stop telling everyone how excited I really was. I’ve always found that wings are a lot of work for little pay-off and the nachos looked so incredible being carried by so we decided to go with them instead. They were a little bit on the spicy side but the full on potato slice they were made on were incredible and sitting in the Station was such a nice relaxing note to the end of our stampede day. Check it out next year.

mini donut popsicle
Mini Donut Popsicle
Okay, despite the fact that it was raining/hailing and I was wearing shorts, my day actually ended with a mini-donut popsicle. Last year I ate about four of these beauties – the dulce de leche base is so decadent without being overwhelming and y’all already know how I feel about mini donuts – and even though it was not popsicle weather, I couldn’t resist! Even if it meant I had an old lady comment about my shorts and popsicle combo… whatever, I gotta do me!

Seriously, mini donut popsicles, beer in the basement, crazy poutine… do it all. But don’t go to the wine garden. That’s just for me.

London, Baby! #gratuitousfriendsreference

Happy Tuesday, blog buddies, and let me apologize for my disappearing act over the past two weeks. I swear I have a good excuse, though – I just returned from a terribly exciting, relaxing and historical trip to London with my youngest brother, Kevin. (And I promise that I would have tipped my hand and told you all ahead of time, except that apparently in my 29th year I’ve grown somewhat paranoid and decided that it probably wouldn’t have been a good idea to tell the interwebz that my house was going to be empty for two weeks…) I booked the trip on a whim after a bit of a life shakeup at the end of last year. Kevin is a writer who took a day job this year and decided to join me to take advantage of finally having a regular income. My favourite people know that I love solo travel, but this time it was so much fun to spend some time with my little brother as an adult and to have someone to laugh about shared nonsense with.

I probably won’t do a formal day-to-day recap of my trip – partially because it was just a lot of wandering around museums and streets, partially because I’m not sure that we’ve built the blog relationship where you care to hear about me sitting in nine different pubs to kill the hours between adventures. (Yes, we averaged almost one pub per day. It was pretty impressive.) I will be dropping tidbits/anecdotes here and there, though, as we return to our regularly scheduled blogging. But for today? How about a few highlights?

Tower of London
1) Did you know that people live in the Tower of London?! This has been the first thing I’ve said to absolutely everyone who has asked me about my trip because it still blows my mind. The Yeoman Warders (“Beefeaters”… yes, the uniformed men who give hourly tours – they are not “just” tour guides at all) are actually Members of the Sovereign’s Body Guard formed by Henry VII and the 37 Yeoman Warders and one Chief Warder that compromise this military group actually live at the Tower of London with their families! The Chief Warder lives in the Queen’s House… literally, her house at the Tower because it is still an active Royal Palace. There is also a doctor, chaplain and the Resident Governor living on site. I had been to the Tower of London before, but somehow this fact slipped my notice before and Kevin and I just could not stop marveling over it.

pub
2) The system of ordering in British pubs is quite different from Canadian ones, and really wonderful. Jetlagged and starving at 9 pm on our first day there, it did take us probably far too long to figure out how things were done but once we did, we were hooked. Essentially, the system in the pubs cuts out the middleman and takes a lot of the pressure off of sitting for too long or not ordering food – you can do everything on your own time. For those who don’t know (and to save you the jet-lagged confusion that I experienced), when you enter a pub proceed directly to the bar to order and pay for your drink of choice. Bring this drink to the best possible table and enjoy it (and maybe one or two more!) with your friends and conversation. If you decide to do food with your drink (and please keep in mind that there is never any obligation to do so… you’ll probably notice that most of the tables around you aren’t eating), bounce back up to the bar to order and pay for your food. In a small bar, you’ll just indicate to the bartender what table you’re at; in a bigger one, they may give you some sort of table marker. The best part of all? When you’re done with your evening, you can just leave… no waiting for the cheque because you already paid!

airbnb
3) AirBnB is always worth it. I’ve done AirBnB before but other people have always done the actual renting and I’ve just tagged along. We rented a lovely little flat in Kennington owned by a very charming and friendly gentleman, and it could not have gone smoother! It was so nice to have a private, relaxing home base in which to kick back in the evenings and to enjoy some cereal in the mornings. I think the cereal is what saved us from getting tired of restaurants on this trip!

wicked
4) If you are really thrifty and clever, you can see two professional West End shows in one day for less than forty pounds. In our case, a Wicked matinee for 17.50 and an evening showing of The Woman in Black for 12.50. It was our second last day and was absolutely thrilling.
I think that may be enough for this Tuesday… but I have so many more rambles and pictures so I’m sure you’ll see more pop up soon…