Category Archives: Fitness

Baby Bump 25-week Fitness Update & CanvasPop Giveaway Winner!

Hello darlings!

Today’s post will be rather short because I would like to announce the winner of the CanvasPop giveaway!

and the winner is

If you didn’t win, don’t be upset; peeps at CanvasPop were super nice and provided all of my readers with a discount code CANDIES35 to get a rebate of 35% off any order until April 30. Just in case you are wondering, I am not getting any percentage of sales if you do end up using their services; I do, however, truly believe that you will be really happy and satisfied with the service and quality you will receive from CanvasPop.

Without further ado, the winner is… *Drum Roll!!!*

giveaway winner

Congratulations, Danielle! I will be contacting you shortly in order to provide you with all details on how to redeem your prize!

And here is a quick check in of my baby bump at 25 and a half weeks.

25.5 weeks

The baby girl is growing!… GROWING VERY FAST!… and so is my belly! *Haha!*

I’ve been really active this week. I attended my first prenatal aqua class on Monday, which was super fun!

I also decided to cut down on running and started biking/spinning instead. It was a nice change, but I definitely had to do some adjustments. For one, I have to keep my back straight up instead of leaning forward or otherwise the bump is in the way. *#PregnancyProblems haha!*

spinning

In addition, I’ve been focusing on toning my arms and legs with an occasional dance HIIT from Gina or, as many of you may know her, Fitnessista. *Fun, fun, fun!* By the way, have you heard? She is expecting too!!!

SoliBeat

And, of course, I’ve been taking relaxation quite seriously! *LOL!*

Lush bubble bath

I’d like to hear from you now. Is there anything that you would like me to share with you in terms of how my pregnancy is going? Cravings? Workouts? Pains? Hopes? Fears? Please, do let me know!

Have a great weekend!

xoxo
Olena

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Filed under Fitness, Health, Pregnancy

Swimming & Pregnancy

Hello beauties!

I hope you had a great weekend and spent Easter with your loved ones!

I think I mentioned to you recently that I was going to join a prenatal aqua class. Well… It finally happened! I had my first class yesterday, and I must admit, I had a blast!

First of all, it was nice to be for once surrounded by ladies pregnant just like me. *Call it sense of belonging! Haha!* All ladies I had a chance to talk to were super nice and fun. Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to develop some new friendships with other mommies-to-be.

pregnant

I must admit, I rocked my 2-piece bathing suit with PRIDE. It’s my baby girl who is in there, after all, and not donuts. *Fine… Maybe a piece of cake or two! Wink, wink!* 

Finally, our instructor was very friendly and the class was super fun. I was pleasantly surprised that I got a chance to work on all major muscle groups: core, legs, arms, even my back. We even did some stretching exercises. In addition, I thoroughly enjoyed jumping in water. It didn’t even feel like I was 25 weeks along!

light as a feather

Source

There are plenty of benefits of swimming during pregnancy *or in general*:

  • A low-to-no-impact activity and a great cardio at the same time,
  • Reduced stress from lower back,
  • Lowered pressure on joints,
  • Resistance training: feel the burn!
  • A very enjoyable and fun workout option!

Last but not least, don’t forget to enter a chance to win you free canvas print from CanvasPop. *See details here.*

IG giveaway

All you have to do is follow this link: a Rafflecopter giveaway. You can have up to 8 entries to increase your chances of winning by fulfilling all of the options. *Just saying! Haha!*

What is your favorite aqua workout?

xoxo
Olena

3 Comments

Filed under Fitness, Pregnancy

My Non-Fitness Obsession & CanvasPop Review and Giveaway!

Well, hello there, beautiful people!

It’s a long weekend here in Canada and you are about to enjoy it even more!

Today’s post will be somewhat different because I would like to talk to you about a passion of mine which is NOT fitness related. *HA!*

Is that even possible

For those of you who have been following my blog for a while or those who know me in real life, it won’t come as a surprise… But I am OBSESSED with photography! I absolutely love taking pictures, editing them and looking at beautiful images taken by other photographers. The whole ordeal is very therapeutic to me!

photography is the memory

Source

I’ve never been exceptionally creative. However, I do always feel that I can express my creativity through the pictures I take.

I think this hobby started when my dad asked me to take a picture of him and our dog when I was a teen. I was mesmerized by the entire process of my dad taking pictures by carefully adjusting camera settings and then developing film. It was magic happening in front of my eyes.

When I was 20 years old, I bought myself my first camera… Let’s just put it this way… People would be flabbergasted if I didn’t have it on me.

That being said, taking pictures is great, but what’s even more important is preserving them. I’ve always been terrible at printing out my photographs! I paid dearly for my laziness when my laptop crashed in 2013: 4 years of memories were completely erased… I was devastated! *Thank God for Facebook and picture sharing!*

no

That day I vowed to myself that I’ll get better at saving those precious memories. I still have tons of pictures to print, but… I, for one, created a picture frame wall on our staircase to celebrate my relationship with my hubby which was later joined by a beautiful canvas of our wedding picture.

stairs

I don’t know if you, guys, believe in destiny or things coming true when you really want them to happen, but get this… A couple of weeks back, me and Justin were looking through some of our pictures, and Justin said something across these lines, “Babe, you know what, we should have some of our pictures printed out on a canvas.” Obviously, it was like music to my ears and he had no convincing to do.

Here is where it gets crazy. A few days later I was contacted by a company called CanvasPop to see if I would like to review their product. Now… my readers know that I’ve never posted any reviews on my blog to date. I must assure you, this is not due to the lack of interest from companies. I just refuse to accept any offers that go against my values or could potentially jeopardize my bond with all my dear followers. So even though the request was very tempting, I decided to do my homework first and headed straight to their website www.canvaspop.com.

Made with Love — behind the scenes with CanvasPop from CanvasPop on Vimeo.

This is where I got really excited. Upon only a few minutes on their website, a pop up chat appeared in the bottom right corner. A very friendly representative, Steve, asked me if I needed any assistance, and, when I told him that I was simply surfing, he encouraged me to let him know should I have any questions. *WOW!* 

The website is super user-friendly and very easy to navigate. I had lots of fun clicking through endless options like adding text to pictures, changing up filters and effects, creating collages (from IG pictures!!!) and triptych images. Furthermore, there are multiple canvas sizes, frames and edge choices available.

And then… I said, YES, ABSOLUTELY!

Once again, customer service was exceptionally fast and efficient when it came to ordering and shipment of my order. Upon sending my request, I received a digital proof of the design to ensure that I was satisfied with how it looked. And even though I was told that it would take between 7 and 10 business days to receive the canvas, it took only 2! The picture came out very bright and lively, just the way I imagined it, and the mirrored edge made it look complete!

My hubby, without any hesitation, put the canvas up on the wall in our living room right above the TV, so we get to enjoy looking at it every single day. You be the judge! *We are one good looking couple, eh?! Hehe!*  

CanvasPop

I can assure you that I am very pleased customer and I will definitely be printing my images through CanvasPop in the future. I have soooooo many decorating ideas for the nursery for our baby girl!!!!!! *I’m already 24.5 weeks! Time FLIES!!!*

Finally, CanvasPop was super generous and offered a great discount to all of my dedicated readers. Any of you can get a rebate of 35% off your entire order by using a discount code: CANDIES35 from now till April 30, 2015. To make things even better, one lucky gal or pal will also win a free 16 x 20 canvas with the .75″ frame depth + free shipping!!! The giveaway is available only to the residents of the U.S. and Canada. All you’ve got to do to enter the draw is to participate in the Rafflecopter giveaway in the link below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will be closed at 12am on April 10th (Eastern Time). I will contact the winner via email, so please make sure that you provide me with one.

Now tell me, if you were to get a canvas, what picture or pictures would you print? Why?

Happy Easter!

xoxo
Olena

15 Comments

Filed under Fitness, Giveaway, Pregnancy, Reviews

Return to the Blog World

Hello loves!

I know, I know, it’s been FOREVER! And no, I haven’t forgot about you all. *How could I? You are my LIFE!!!* I’ve really really missed you.

Oh I missed you so

So why did I disappear from the blog world?

First of all, it was summer. The weather was beautiful and it would be a shame to stay inside. Also, I embarked on a 30-day EMPOWER yoga challenge. After doing it for a few days I realized that if I kept on blogging, I wouldn’t have any time for my hubby *go to work, get home, eat, walk the dog, workout, you get the point…*.

At around the same time I received a couple of requests from a few of my blogger-friends to participate in ‘Why I Write’ *or something along those lines* challenge. The more I thought about it the more I started to realize that at some point blogging started feeling more like a full-time job instead of a hobby. That’s when I decided to take a break. I want this blog to inspire you and I want to enjoy writing it as well.

Obviously, this break took longer than expected. However, I feel good about it. I was able to focus more on me and my family. I’m full of ideas. AND I AM FINALLY BACK!

Here is a quick overview of what has happened in my life since my ‘disappearance’.

Empower Challenge

yoga

Trip to Varadero, Cuba

Varadero, Cuba

5K Electrodash Run

Electrodash

Our 1st Anniversary

Celebrating our 1st anniversary

My birthday

Big 28

 JDRF (Juvenille Diabetes Research Foundation) fundraiser

JDRF

CIBC Run For the Cure Gala

Gala

Weekend at a cottage

weekend at a cottage

I’ll write more on each of these events in the near future. However, there is something else that I’d like to do. I will make some changes to my blogging habits. I’ll be posting twice a week or so instead of 5 days a week. I have yet to decide which days would work the best for me and for you. This way I will be able to provide you with more fun and informative posts without burning myself out. Sounds like a plan, right?!

Now it’s your time to take a pedestal.

How have you been? *I have sooooo much catching up to do, even though I was really trying to keep track of all major events in your lives!!!!*

What are your thoughts on blogging less vs. more? Also do you have any preferences for days to read my blog? What would you like to read more about?

I’m all ears!

 

xoxo
Olena

27 Comments

Filed under Fitness, Health, Holidays

Spartan Beast & Trifecta That Almost Didn’t Happen (Part 2)

I KNOWWWWW! How could I leave you hanging like that?! Well, I just did! *It was done with love lol!*

If you missed the first part, here it is: Spartan Beast & Trifecta That Almost Didn’t Happen (Part 1)

at the start line

That’s me at the start line. Worried, ecstatic and everything in between. Understandably so! The furthest distance I’d ever run before was 16.8 km and there were NO mountains! This being said, I had my water and gels, AND a friend to run with. Joe ran with me the previous two races too *read more on Spartan Sprint – here, and on Spartan Super – here*; however, we ran at our own pace. This time around, we decided to stick together: Running such a long race is more of a mental game than anything, and we knew that we would need to be there for each other emotionally.

I didn’t have much time to stretch, even though the start was pushed to 10.40 am, but at least I was able to calm down after a whirlwind of an adventure of us getting to the race. I was calm and composed. The plan was to go at a steady pace up hill and speed up on trails as well as while going downhill. I had 6 Gu’s with me, but I was shooting to take one every 5-6 kilometers or so.

The race started out with a gentle hill, but that didn’t last for too long. I considerably slowed my pace, and I was glad I did. The hill was getting really steep. At times, I even had to grab on to trees and their roots to climb huge rocks. It was FUN! Unfortunately, I started getting cramps in my glutes, so I would stop every now and then to massage them a bit.

butt cramps

Source

I am really grateful that my friend was really understanding. I knew, however, that once I got to the flat or downhill path I’d be able to fly, and that thought definitely kept me going. In addition, the weather  was overcast, so I didn’t have to worry about the heat.

This race was definitely the most challenging at 24 kilometers long. This time around there was much more mud on slopes, more heavy weight lifting, lots of crawling under the barbed wire be it on a flat surface, incline or in water.There was a fair share of people who were feeling sick, throwing up and unable to walk anymore, which was a good reminder that it’s good to have ambitious goals, but it’s important that they are manageable too. That being said, there was a lot of inspiration all over the place! People constantly making sure that everyone is okay, offering their help to those in need, a lot of cheering and smiles. However, I never imagined I would see anything like this.

comradery

I actually saw these guys while running down a very slippery and muddy hill. I was barely able to keep balance on my own when I noticed one of the guys bringing down the wheelchair and another carrying his friend on his back. I even teared up a bit for how great witnessing something like this was!

wheelchair under barbed wire

I forgot about any pain I was experiencing right that moment!

Some of the obstacles I enjoy the most are the rope climb…

climbing rope

Monkey barrel roll *I really have no clue how to call those! It was the first time I ever did it, and I LOVED the challenge!!!*…

barrel

*That’s me sweating there on the far right with a red Camelbak! Haha!*

Oh, and monkey bars, of course!

monkey bars

*As you can see it on my face, it’s a piece of cake haha!*

I would be lying if I said I was able to avoid all burpees!

I slipped on the traverse wall…

traverse wall

And I didn’t even attempt completing this challenge and went straight for burpees. *The finish line was about 100 meters away and I had sever lower back pain.*

the iron ring burpees

*Can you see through those rings how excited I was? NOT! Haha!*

As I mentioned before, there were a lot of obstacles that included lifting heavy objects. I was really surprised that most of the times girls had to lift the same weight as guys. Even though I completed all of them, I was really struggling, especially when the weight was distributed unevenly. Definitely something I have to work on!

The second half of the race was mostly run on trails which felt AH-mazing!!! There was also a lot of walking, crawling, swimming in water which was very refreshing and welcome.

And guess what? I actually have a decent jumping over the fire picture this time around!!! The fire was so high that I totally thought that it was gonna be one of those pictures again.

jumping over the fire

 *Aren’t you proud of me?! I, personally, can’t believe I was even able to jump so high after the longest race of my life so far, forget about the face and shape! LOL!*

Want to know another fun fact? I almost broke down crying when the girl was putting the medal around my neck. I was happy, I was overwhelmed, I was tired! To make things even better, my hubby decided to take his coat and turn away as I was running the final stretch, so it took me probably 15-20 minutes to find him. *Mind you, I could barely walk, and and my brain was fried and I couldn’t recall what he was wearing.* And he, poor thing, was still waiting for me at the slippery wall! *I actually was able to see him when I zoomed in on the picture above, looking away, waiting for me to arrive. Haha!*

Anyhow, once I found him, I was a happy trooper again!

at the finish line

Do I have any regrets? Of course! I am definitely saddened *and ecstatic at the same time* that the Spartan Trifecta is complete. Now I need to find another worthy and exciting challenge to complete and train for. Also… Ummm… I regret not taking a granola bar with me, my stomach was definitely unhappy from not eating anything but gels from 7 am till about 5 pm!!! Haha!

Have you ever been upset about completing your goal? What are your favorite obstacles? Any near missed big races?

xoxo
Olena

16 Comments

Filed under Cardio, Fitness, Health, Motivation, Race Reviews, Running

Spartan Beast & Trifecta That Almost Didn’t Happen (Part 1)

Hi loves!

I’ve missed you! I am sure many of you would like to have an explanation as to why I haven’t posted in a while. I won’t go too much in detail, but let’s put it this way: It’s summer and sometimes I feel like I start seeing my blog as a job *which is not*, so I pull back a bit. I like to be excited about my posts and chose not to write instead of posting just to post. That being said, I love you all and you mean more to me than you’ll ever know!

Those who follow me on Instagram know that I’ve been keeping myself very busy lately. I have A LOT to talk about! However, today, I’d like to tell you all about my Spartan Beast *and Trifecta* that almost didn’t happen a week ago… I am sure you’re dying to hear all about it! And, yes, you read it right… IT ALMOST DIDN’T HAPPEN! And no, I am NOT being a drama queen here. *Pinky swear!*

no drama

Source

So let’s all go back to Saturday, July 26. My husband and I went over to my brother-in-law for a BBQ. All I was talking about was how nervous I was and if my hubby thinks I should have another piece of bread to load up on carbs. Needless to say, nobody wanted to hear anything about it. *That’s the bitter truth, people! Haha!*

stop-talking

Source

My heat was scheduled to start at 10 am on Sunday. It took us about 2.5 hours to get to the venue the previous time, so we decided to leave at 6 am. I woke up around 5.15 am to get dressed and walk Bella for as long as possible. *She had to stay in her crate all day long, and I felt horrible about it.* 

It was around 6.15 am when Justin decided to double check the address of the location. *Please, don’t ask! I guess I was too nervous to even think about it!* That’s when I had a mini heart attack… It WAS at a different location and, according to a GPS, it was about a 3-hour drive!!! What also was weird is that it gave us a different name of the town: Gracefield, QC instead of Lac-Sainte-Marie, Qc.

We headed out the doors and went to Tim Horton’s to pick up a bagel cream cheese as a pre-race snack. The trouble started when we got onto the highway: It started raining cats and dogs! At some point, Justin wasn’t able to control the car for how much water was on the road; nevertheless, I tried to keep my composure. It wasn’t long lived… All I can say is CONSTRUCTION all over Montreal. It seemed to appear out of nowhere. We drove there just a day ago. Nothing made sense. We were driving in circles for at least 30 minutes!!! By that time I was freaking out all the way.

this is too much

Source

Since it was early Sunday morning and the highways were empty, Justin was able to catch up a bit. We were going to be there just-just…

You think this was the worst?! Imagine my horror the moment we saw our friends driving in the opposite direction as we were about 5 minutes away from the location!!! There was a ‘slight’ error on the Spartan Race website. They put ‘rue’ (street) instead of ‘chemin’ (way) in the address. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!!!! There are pretty much 2 identical addresses in 2 different towns within 20 minutes from each other with the same first three letters/digits of the postal code!!! And the GPS didn’t give us options!!!!

are you f-ing kidding me

At that point, we realized that there was no way we’d make it for the 10 o’clock heat, but we’d be okay for the last one departing at 10.30 am. I tried to keep my nerves under control… It’s definitely heart breaking to even consider that something you’ve been working hard for so long may not happen after all!

When we got to the correct address, there was no signs or a mountain. Thankfully, we saw some random people passing by who were able to guide us as to how to get to our destination. We got to the venue at 10.27 am. I was literally shaking. It was so bad that I had to ask a friend of mine to attach a chip to my shoe, I couldn’t pass a tie wrap through a hole. At least, I was there!!!! 24 kilometers later, I’d be a Trifecta Finisher! It was now all up to me to make it happen…

at the start line

TO BE CONTINUED…

xoxo
Olena

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Filed under Fitness, Health, Race Reviews, Running

Trip Recap: Granada, Spain – The City Of Hidden Gardens

Today is a very special day because I’m inviting you to  see and somewhat ‘experience’ Granada, a truly magical place I visited in April.

If you’d like to catch up on my previous adventures in Europe, don’t be shy to check out these posts:

So many things had gone wrong *Note: not necessarily bad either! HA!*, and yet despite it all, my brother and I had grown closer than ever before!

Be prepared to laugh because we got lost soooooo many times. Actually, it all started the moment we got off the bus! *Or… wait! No… It started in the morning because that’s when a strange man started following me in Seville!* Our hotel was supposed to be about 20-30 minute walk away from the terminal, but about 15-20 minutes into it, we realized we were walking in the opposite direction. *You see, I couldn’t think straight! LOL!* But as they say, good things happen to good people. When we reached our accommodation, I was surprised to find out that what I thought was a hostel ended up being a 4-star hotel. *That’s what happens when all you pay attention is getting a good deal. Haha!*  It was pretty late and we were tired, so we called it a night and went to sleep.

Imagine my big surprise when I looked out of the window and saw this beauty!

look from the hotel room

Our plan for the day was to grab something quick to eat, make sure we knEw how to get to the train station since our train to Barcelona was departing late in the evening, and take in as much of Grenada as possible. *Dah!*

We found our way to the train station very easily, but that’s where our adventures started. We got lost! I was trying to understand the map, but it was super confusing. So my brother decided to follow his intuition and that’s how we ended up here.

rooftops in Granada

 

The view was indeed spectacular, but my legs were super sore from walking around Seville the day before: I wasn’t a happy trooper by any means, and all I wanted was to see PLACES. You know what I mean, right? *Haha!* What did I do? I planted my butt down and told my brother I wouldn’t move until I knew where I was. When I was able to finally locate us on the map and emotions cooled down, we admitted to each other that we both were wrong. *True story! I’ve got a great brother, but we all know that I’m my parents’ favorite. Haha! JUST KIDDING!*

When we came across the tea stand, I knew that all the exciting stuff was just around the corner!

assortment of tea

Pretty much around the corner was the Cathedral of Incarnation. It was intended to be a mausoleum for but Phillip II of Spain changed the location to El Escorial outside Madrid.

Catedral de la Anunciacion

There was an artist playing in front of the cathedral. We could tell he was really gifted, so my brother and I spent there some time and listened to music.

Artist in front of Catedral de la Anunciacion

 

I guess I was overcome by the beauty of location and music and decided to spread some love to. My hubby wasn’t there, and showing affection to my brother would be… ummm… wrong! That’s where this shiny knight came in to the picture. *People thought I was crazy!!!*

Flirting with a knight

 

After, we headed to the Alhambra, a palace and fortress complex built in the first millennium. On our way there, we came across a lovely shop.

work shop

I wanted to buy absolutely everything in there. I loooove little original things; especially, if I can see someone making them in front of me!!!

Not far from there was the entrance to the Alhambra.

Entrance to El Alhambra

I wish I could tell you that it was a nice walk in the park *well… it was!*, but it was almost a full blown workout walking up all those hills *which I enjoyed nonetheless*!

not a walk in a park

Not only that the place was extremely beautiful, the views from there were breathtaking.

beautiful square in Alhambra

It’s kind of strange because out of all abundance of art in the Alhambra, I was totally mesmerized by a ceiling in the mosque baths.

the mosque baths

I guess, when I looked into the sky through those ‘stars’, I imagined how countless people looked up there throughout the ages. I’d love to know what they thought about, if it brought them some peace and tranquility… Do you ever wonder about that kind of things?

Another special place on the territory of the Alhambra is what it used to be the Monastery of San Francisco. The Queen of Castille ans Leon, Isabella the Catholic, was buried there before her grandson, Emperor Charles, ordered that her and her husband’s remains to be moved to the Royal Chapel in 1521.

Isabella the Catholic

After that, my brother and I wanted to explore the park some more but somehow got confused and exited the castle instead.

In the shade

In all honesty, I wasn’t too upset about  it either, I just wanted to sit in some nice square and sip on Sangria. *Wouldn’t you?!* My brother, on the other hand, was ready to do some exercises… And he did when he saw these bars!

bars

Good for him! *No, really!!! Haha!* 

We finished off our evening sitting in a beautiful square and looking at the kids having a blast. Oh, simple life pleasures!

Fun in the evening

Do you like getting lost in new places? What was your most memorable accident?

xoxo
Olena

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Filed under Fitness, Health, Travel