Category Archives: Holidays

Happy New Year!

Can you believe it’s the last day of 2015?!

I can’t help but to reflect on what a wonderful year it has been.

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I have so much to be grateful for! Our baby Sofia and 4-legged baby Bella, our family and friends, old and new.

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And last but not least, my beloved husband.

I’ve definitely had some tough situations to deal with this year and he’s always been there for me. As they say, through thick and thin till death do us part. He is my best friend, and I still can’t fully grasp how lucky I am to have this man in my life and that two of us created our beautiful precious baby.

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I know it will probably sound absolutely crazy, but when I was pregnant, it seemed like a miracle that there was someone growing in my belly. And now, I am a mom. I LOVE being a mom! It is such a rewarding feeling.

being parents

I haven’t been much in the blog world this year. I guess, it’s mostly because I wanted to live my experiences and not to spend a lot of time writing about them. That being said, I am so grateful for my blog friends and readers. You are like an extended family to me and I value more than you can ever imagine!

I am so excited for 2016! It will be a year full of firsts for Sofia. It’s so inspiring to watch her push her boundaries each day. My aspiration for 2016 is to grow too. I want my little girl to be proud of her mommy.

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I am wishing you all a beautiful year ahead. Make it memorable. Make it count. Tell your family and friends how much you love them and appreciate them, don’t wait for special occasions to do so. Love. Create new memories. Share smiles. Don’t forget about people in need. Don’t be greedy. Get stronger day by day. Be healthy.Be happy. Explore new horizons. And be the best possible version of you not for everyone else but for YOU!

Happy 2016!

xoxo
Olena

 

3 Comments

Filed under Family, Holidays, Uncategorized

Snacking Doesn’t Have To Be Boring! #SeasonEatings

Hi friends!

How have you been?!

There is sooo much happening in our household! Sofia is growing so fast and I’m full of conflicting emotions: I want to see her grow but at the same time I just want to stay in this moment.

It was a big month for us with Sofia’s baptism.

Sofia's Baptism

She also just turned 4 months old.

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Since I’m breastfeeding exclusively, it does take a lot of energy. It doesn’t come as a surprise that I find myself looking in the fridge for a snack more often then usual. However, just like during pregnancy, I want to make sure to opt for healthier options. First of all, everything I eat gets passed on to my baby girl. And with the holidays just around the corner, I want to look my absolute best! *Is it too much to ask for? Haha!*

These past couple of weeks I was experimenting with healthy snacks that not only satisfy my sweet pre-holiday cravings, but also provide me and my baby with nutrients.

Probably one of the best recipes I came across is these No Bake Peanut Butter Bites. They are super delicious and fast & easy to make.

no bake peanut butter bites

First, soak 1 cup of raisins in warm water for 10 minutes. Then, add 2/3 cups of oats, 2 tbs peanut butter, 1 tbs chia seeds and 1/4 cup chocolate chips. Blend together until well mixed. Make 1 inch balls and put in fridge to set for 15 minutes. *Try not to eat them all at once because it’s not snacking at that point, more like pigging out. Haha!*

Another scrumptious snack I made recently is these Chocolate & Peanut Butter Chickpea Cookie Bars. They definitely take a little longer to make, but they are definitely worth it.

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While preheating the oven to 350 F, rinse and dry 2 cups of chickpeas. In a blender, mix chickpeas, 3/4 cups of maple syrup, 2 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp baking soda until smooth. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and poor batter into it. Lightly press 1/4 cup of dark chocolate chips. Bake for at least 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes and then transfer to a rack for another 30 minutes to set. Cut in bars or squares and enjoy!

If you don’t have time or desire to make anything, you can always resort to the following ideas:

  1. Fresh fruits: I personally love snacking on apple slices with peanut butter!
  2. Vegetables: how about a few slices of tomato sprinkled with feta cheese and olive oil or baby carrots & celery with tangy hummus?
  3. Nuts: toss together your favorite trail mix and pre-measure it in serving sized ziplocks.
    By the way, if you are not aware, Nuts.com  has entire page dedicated to various healthy snack ideas.
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  4. Holiday flavored teas to satisfy sweet tooth: I’m addicted to David’s teas! Check out a set I bought for myself this week. I have tried mulled wine, hot chocolate and Alpine punch flavors and I’m in love!
    12 teas of christmas
  5. It’s not really a snack, but try fooling your stomach by lighting some candles at home. At the moment, I’m in love with Vanilla Snow Flake from Bath & Body works. *I bought it last year, so I’m not sure if they still have it to be honest with you.*

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What are your favorite holiday snacks? Please, do share, it’s always fun to try something new!

xoxo
Olena

2 Comments

Filed under Health, Holidays, Kitchen Adventures, Running, Weight Loss

Happy Birthday to candies & crunches!!!

Guys! I can’t believe it, time flies and my blog turns 1 year old today!!!

happy birthday

Even though, I haven’t been particularly active in the blog world over the past few months, don’t worry, I am here to stay!

This blog provided me with so much more than I have ever expected. The community and people I’ve met here and the support I’ve recieved are incredible. I thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart for being there for me and simply for being you. I’ve learnt so much about myself along the way: Spartan Trifecta was simply the icing on an already delicious cake!!! *Haha! You get what I mean! Don’t you?!?!? XO*

The year to come will be the most amazing year yet! *PINKY SWEAR!* 

LOVE YOU ALL!!!

xoxo
Olena

10 Comments

Filed under Holidays, Running

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

Absence Makes The Heart Say ‘What The Hell Is Up With This?’ I’ve Missed You!!!

Hello my darlings!!!

Holly guacamole, I’ve missed youuuuu! *Secretly, I hope you’ve missed me too! Haha!*

I miss you so much

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A week prior to my vacation, I’d been super super busy, trying to spend as much time as possible with my hubby and our Belly-Button *our almost 6 months old German Shepherd puppy whose name is actually Bella, but who also goes by Belly, Bellissima, Bells, and even Pest, when she is really a pain in the a@@ lol!*; unfortunately, they are not with me on this trip. Anyhow, over the past week, my access to Internet in Ukraine was quite limited. So to make up for this long disappearance, I’ll share with you a few pictures from my trip so far. I am super super sorry for being away for sooooo long!

 Paris, France

Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe
Seine river

Seine river

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower


Ukraine

Easter celebration

Orthodox Easter celebration

In a village

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Independence Square, Kyiv

Independence Square, Kyiv

Currently, I am back to Paris. However, my plane to Spain is only a few hours away. In all honesty, I can’t wait to be there already to relax a bit. It’s been a really emotionally charged trip so far, and it’d be really great to unwind.

The Spartan Race is only 3 weeks away! Eeeeesshhhhh!!!! How’s your Spartan 30 push ups for 30 days challenge going?! I’ve been slacking!!! *Bad, bad girl!*

How have you been? What’s new in your world?

xoxo
Olena

 

20 Comments

Filed under Fitness, Holidays, Travel

The Art of Packing Your Travel Bag & The 5-4-3-2-1 Rule To Travel Lighter

OMG! I can’t believe it’s Monday already! And I am actually pretty excited!

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Okay, guys, don’t be so shocked. It is indeed possible to be excited about Monday!!!

Fine, I’ll admit to it. There IS a reason I am happy today. I’ve been keeping it from you for a while and I can’t hold on to it anymore out of my pure excitement!

don't put off your happy life

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I’ll be travelling to Europe in a week and a half!!! I KNOOOOOW, this is so excting! I haven’t been there in almost 3 years, and this time around I have Ukraine, France and Spain on the itinerary. I’m super stoked to see my family and friends, and explore all places I’ve never been to before. Woop woop!

travel does the heart good

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Needless to say, last two days were spent brainstorming on what gifts I should get and for whom. I might have had a bit of a panic attack and a mental break down, but then I decided to be a big girl and took the situation under control. I was surprisingly lucky when I went shopping, I am almost done! The only big tasks left are: to book a couple of bus tickets between cities in Spain, hotels in Paris and Barcelona, and… well… PACKING!

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I really liked the idea behind the 5-4-3-2-1 rule to pack lighter.

pack lighter

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Obviously, I need to make sure to include my workout gear too: a sports bra, 2 tops, jogging pants and light-weight running shoes *more on that tomorrow*. I am super excited to go for jogs in new places, therefore, it’s a must. Also, the Spartan Race is only 6 weeks away!!!

Here are some more suggestions I came across online.

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What are the things you can’t travel without? How do you avoid taking too mucg with you?

xoxo
Olena

25 Comments

Filed under Fitness, Holidays

Fun Saint Valentine’s Day Facts, Mini Cheesecakes & 90 Partner Body Weight Exercises In 9 Minutes

Happy Valentine’s Day my lovelies!

Valentine's Day

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Here are some interesting facts about this holiday for you to start off this day of the right foot. Haha!

Valentine's facts

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I am not sure if these facts are true, but they are certainly fun! What do you think?!

You probably won’t be surprised, but I was really inspired to make a cheesy *literally* dessert to sweeten up the day of love. My choice fell on the mini cheesecakes! Mostly because they are very easy and quick to prepare, and they do not require to be cooled overnight. Which means that you can still make them for your loved one *or yourself! Why not?!?!* 

Mini Valentine's Cheesecakes ingredients

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 2/3 Oreo baking crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Filling:

  • 2 (8 ounce) package Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 natural vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs

Mini Valentine's Cheesecakes 1

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease 12-cup muffin pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together Oreo baking crumbs, sugar, and butter with a fork until combined. Measure a rounded tablespoon of the mixture into the bottom of each muffin cup, pressing firmly. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 5 minutes, then remove to cool. Keep the oven on.
  3. Beat together the cream cheese,sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla until fluffy. Mix in the eggs.
  4. Poor the cream cheese mixture into the muffin cups, filling each until 3/4 full. Bake at 325 degrees F for 25 minutes. Cool completely in pan before removing. Refrigerate until ready to serve and decorate.

Mini Valentine's Cheesecakes 2

Voila! Enjoy!

Workout Ideas for today

Why not take advantage of the holiday and workout with your partner? How about these 90 Partner Body Weight Exercises in 9 minutes?

Let’s spread some love!

What is your favorite Valentine’s Day desert? Do you ever incorporate partner body weight workouts in your routine? How?

xoxo
Olena

13 Comments

Filed under Fitness, Health, Holidays, Kitchen Adventures