Health Files: GNO Half-Way Point

Welcome to my happy place.


I cannot stress enough how important this gym has become to my life. So much so that if I cannot get there at least 4 times a week, I become a mess. Half-way through week three of the Girls Night Challenge (month 2.5 of being a Member), I noticed that the little knee pain I was experiencing a couple weeks back wasn’t getting better but worse. I took 3 days off and decided to hit the workouts at a moderate level.

I am mad at my body and it’s beginning to eat me alive.

I am upset that just as I begin to see results, I need to scale it back. This has caused a bit of a snowball effect where my anger is causing me to reach for a bag of chips or that I accept the cinnamon bun my mom offers me. The anger leads to disappointment which has left me in a state of depression. It isn’t a deep set-in depression were I can’t get out of, no. It’s just been a difficult couple of weeks because of the knee injury (and maybe a couple of other things). And I am writing this blog post to just talk about the highs and the lows of a health journey.


(not my cigarette butt)

In just four weeks, I’ve learned some habits that I feel will last me a lifetime. My eating habits have gone from reaching for candy throughout the whole day to not even thinking about a sugar fix. It’s gone from spending all my money on eating out to saving a couple bucks because I am packing lunches. I’ve learned to appreciate a good homemade salad dressing, learned the art perfectly stemmed broccoli and grateful for that smoothie in the mornings. These habits have saved me. They have in general made me a happier person.

For the most part, my mind has felt clear and my body has been running like a well oil-machine. For the most part, I’ve been sleeping 8 hours a night. My mood has been mostly in a good place. But ever since my knee has started to bother me and I had to take some time off to recharge, I noticed the habits slowly turning back into old ones. Last week was the hardest week. I had to take time off work to really think things through and get in my head in order to finally get out of it. It was also last week that I finally clued in to why I had been feeling so negative. It was my knee (mostly).

Upon returning to the gym, I decided to modify certain workouts. Take a break from most jump movements and ask for modifications on other things. The coaches have been very good at giving pointers, even members/friends have reached out and helped in getting my knee to where it needs to be. I know it’s going to be a journey to get back to pain-free but here I am, still working out, putting down the chip bag and emailing the physio-therapist.

It’s the beginning of a new week and we have two weeks left in this challenge. I am ready to tackle it. With a clear mind and a determination to finish strong. These last two weeks, I won’t be cheating (except for Saturday night when I have scheduled two back-to-back family parties). We will see how I do.



Face Files: The Idea of Perfection

Face Files: The Idea of Perfection

This post is in collaboration with my friend and former makeup addicted colleague Steph.Chantel Beauty. We met up one day and decided to tackle this subject together. You can go check out her post here.

Months ago….


I was a eating a bagel and drinking coffee with lots of cream and some sugar. I saw my pink lipstick leave a stain on my coffee cup and it honestly gave me so much joy to see that shade of pink. It’s so unnatural and pretty. As a lipstick wearer, I love seeing my lip mark on every cup I touch. On the day that I began writing this blog post, it was the first time in a week that I had gone all out on my makeup. I used some new eyeshadows and just had FUN. But as I went through my routine of: primer, foundation, highlighting and contouring, in my mind; I couldn’t help but think of my search to ultimately have a perfect face. Immediately that love for the pink stain vanished and it was replaced with guilt.

I don’t want to get all bummer-like or theoretical because 1. I don’t have the capacity to be theoretical and 2. I don’t want to come across as preachy and a party pooper. I just want to talk from the heart. I want to express a nagging feeling I have every time I look for a primer, go to a wax appointment or search out the skin treatment that will give me that fresh baby skin that I so desperately want. (Okay maybe I am going to get a little dark, so brace yourself.)


The feeling isn’t always present, especially not when on the hunt or at checkout, the feeling comes after I’ve long applied the makeup, maybe when I post a selfie and likely when I watch Keeping Up with the Kardashians. It’s the feeling that I am not doing enough. It will never be enough. The pores on my skin will always stick out like craters. The hair on my chin will always sprout back (unless I invest in laser treatment..) or my hair will always need loads of effort to make it into smooth, perfect curl. And it’s bullshit.

Deep down, I know: I am supporting an industry that wants to mold me into the ideal beauty. That in order to be considered beautiful I need to fix everything on my face, body, hair. In order to be considered one of the beauties: I need to fit into a box. And to a certain extent, it’s true. Our society still has a perception of beauty that is out-of-reach and EXPENSIVE. 

And I don’t want to say: it’s all for nothing. This is where my mix-feelings come from because I want to be beautiful. I am vain. I am human. With that comes the feeling of wanting to be accepted. On top of that, I fucking love beauty. I love the innovation some brands have done with products. I love the way we can play with colour on our face. I love that liquid eyeliner is something some of us want to conquer and perfect. I love the science behind it. I love the inspiration of it. And I do love idolizing beauty, so much that it hurts. What holds us back is seeing beauty in a narrow perspective.


For a minute I want to just blame myself because it’s easier. But that doesn’t answer the why I feel this. It doesn’t address the fact that there is a certain type of beauty that still dominates our Instagram feeds, magazine covers and basically all of our screens: cell phone, tv, film. S/he’s fair skinned, s/he’s fair haired, s/he’s likely of European decent and s/he’s a wealthy, a perfect beauty.

I think trying to understand the why is a complicated topic. I’ve only scratched the surface on this topic. There is so much that I don’t even know where to start. I started with a personal feeling. What I experience on the daily. What we see on social media, the perfection-reel, the ideal can be toxic. It isn’t real. It isn’t our daily. That is why, I will never photoshop a makeup beauty photo. I may change some lighting on a photography but I would never airbrush my pores (although I really want to) or make myself appear skinner. I want to be as natural, authentic and ruthlessly myself.

We are all beautiful. If we want to be. And I don’t mean you need to be trimmed and primed 24/7 or ever. I mean, you need to be authentically beautiful. The most beautiful and inspiring people in the world are those who are unforgivably and ruthlessly themselves. We need to constantly be working on ourselves. We do need to strive for our very best. All in a healthy and gentle manner.

With that, I’ll leave you with the beauties that keep me real every fucking day of my life.






Much love,




Health Files: GNO Progress Report

I’ve been struggling with writing the GNO blog now that I’ve settled into the meal plan routine. I’ve gotten bored with reporting back to everyone the meal plan. I am finding that if I am organized: I stay on plan. If I am at work: I stay on plan. If I am at home: I’ll snack here and there with kinda on plan snacks. Instead of recapping what I had to eat the last few days, I kinda want to talk about where my head is at but more importantly how I am doing emotionally.

We live in a society where we are bombarded with DIET CULTURE where we are mostly being told to control what we eat. Stop eating this, it’s bad! Don’t drink this shit, it’s bad! On top of that we are now at the peak of fitness culture. So naturally, I’ve gravitated towards wanting to eat healthier and loose my extra weight.

I’ve been a student for the last couple of years where I’ve had access to a gym. I’ve been using it for a year now but haven’t seen any improvements. This is where Fitbody Bootcamp comes in and basically saves the day. What I love, loooooove about this gym is the approach they take with nutrition. Food is 80% responsible for our weight loss journey. For me that’s been a hard pill to swallow. I love pizza. I love Chinese takeout. I love nachos. Thankfully it all hasn’t been taken away. Yes, currently they are a treat but these sorts of foods SHOULD be a treat. 

Friday’s Cheat Special Meal



When I first joined, I started doing nutrition consultations with one of the coaches. We talked about what I usually ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We talked about snacks too. For me, my trouble areas were lunch and snacks. I had a tendency of eating out for lunch and snacked on candy throughout the day. I’ll be honest, I didn’t quite stick to my goals. It wasn’t until I entered this challenge that somethings just clicked and I just committed to the journey.


I think finally committing to this journey is key. Motivation falters. But if you’re truly committed to this then you can overcome whatever fails you. I am not going to lie: the food has been really yummy. I’ve basically been eating smoothies for breakfast, protein with veggies for lunch and dinner and nuts and fruit for snacks. But the flavour profiles I am mixing and matching on a daily basis is what is keeping me on track. On top of that being realistic on how slow this process can be is also helping me. To be honest, I am not looking at this as a way to loose the most weight in a very short time period. I am using this challenge to break some habits and learn new ones.

With a clear mind, a stronger body and a happy state I want to go forward with my health journey. I feel like this is just the beginning and I am finding myself exploring new blogs, podcasts and books on topics like nutrition, diet culture and just finding new exciting recipes without the sugar and overly processed carbs. And I want to share that all on the blog. So enjoy the Health Files. 

I hope you’re all enjoying your Easter Weekend as well!


much love,



Face Files: #GNO, Day 8 & 9



I mostly stayed on plan. I had a film screening that I had to put on (Queen Scarlet Cinema) and there was Candy. For breakfast I got to taste these lovely beasts:


It’s weird. I like the BLT egg muffins but feel slightly intimidated by them. Maybe it’s the lips full of lipstick or perhaps I need to cut the veggies a little smaller next time. The leeks are what intimidated me mostly. Perhaps, I just prefer to drink my breakfast. I feel less weird about a smoothie.

Lunch was leftover chicken skewers or whatever those dry-wretched things were. I didn’t have left over tzatziki but I did cover them in Greek yogurt and hot sauce. I am not sure if I am suppose to do that but frankly, at this point, I don’t care. Mama needs to feel good while eating. I packed a double amount of what the chicken and broccoli & cauliflower mix and ended up eating it all after that day’s workout. It was madness Monday. As usually I was ravished.

Snack consisted of the nuts and an apple. I don’t do hardboiled eggs so I replaced the nuts for it. Again, I don’t know if that okay but it works for me.

After I scarfed down my meal I had a shot of this:


Holy shit. This vitamin shot is so fucking tasty. I will admit, I’ve been bad with taking my omega and multi-vitamins. It’s said that a combination of vitamin B will give you added energy. I am not sure if that’s true or not. And upon doing a little bit of research it seems that if you have a varied diet (lots of veggies and meat) the chances of being vitamin B deficient is extremely low. Okay, so I likely won’t be buying more of these little shots. Damn, but they are soooo tasty.  I usually take a daily dose of an: omega, probiotic and vitamin D and I swear the combination of those three have kept me healthy in this seriously concerning, what I feel has been extended, flu season. So perhaps I’ll just stick to my combo and call it a day.

After work I headed over to David’s Tea to pick up their donation of tea to the screening of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Have you ever seen that Elizabeth Taylor film? Oh. My. God. Everyone was in need of a stiff drink after that film. So intense. I ended up eating some candy and popcorn during the movie. And yes, I went out for one drink afterwards which was desperately needed. I also had a Pita for dinner since I had no time to run home and back. This is why preparation is key and maybe a little more willpower.


After the day I had the day before made me determined to stay on plan. I mostly did. I know, I know, bad Karla. The morning called for the Banana Nut smoothie. This time I put in a vanilla based protein. Vanilla based proteins are not my favourite. I must prefer the chocolate. It was a change but one I likely won’t do often. I also made my daughter a smoothie.

Lunch was more exciting. I finally got to taste the spaghetti sauce. I made slice some sweet potato in half and stuck them in the oven in the morning so they would be ready by lunchtime. I decided to cut them in half for better portion control. I’ve had a combination of this dish before. I think next time, I’ll add some grated beets on top for a more flavourful and colourful dish.


My past self would’ve doused this with cheese. So much cheese. But I found the creaminess of the sweet potato enough. Seriously, this dish was fantastic. You seriously have to try it.

I may have snacked on a handful of this mix of dark chocolate, nuts and dried fruit. And a few meatballs…

I had this meal again for dinner but also had some roasted chicken from Costco which I am using for Chinese Chicken Salad tomorrow.

After dinner I headed off to the University to do some writing. Along the way there I went into David’s tea to return to tea air pot and get a drink. I went for organic le digestive which is a lovely combination of apple, mint, fennel and ginger. Seriously it was the perfect combination for the night of writing I had to do.

IMG_9829 copy

When I came home, I was feeling pretty hungry….so I grabbed 10 frozen grapes and enjoyed them before going to bed.

So week two has been a little wobbly. And to top the cherry on the ice-cream, I may have to take a little rest from bootcamp since Tuesday’s session may have been a little hard on my knee and it was quite uncomfortable afterwards. I am hoping I can make it by for Thursday but if not, I’ll have to wait and see what Friday brings. Until tomorrow!




Face Files: #GNO; Day 5,6 and 7

I decided to take the weekend and Monday off blogging. It kinda threw me off a little bit. Not taking the time at the end of each day to just write down my thoughts and to report whether or not I stayed on track did not keep me accountable. But the weekend was busy and so was Monday. But I guess we can’t track, plan and just be organized 24/7. These last few days have been prime examples of how life can just surprise you even when you’re trying to be organized. Enough about that, let’s take a step back into the past.


The morning was a new smoothing: the banana nut. It was delicious and a welcome from the green goodness smoothie (palette still adjusting). The moment I finished it though, I got an instant headache. I thought it was from the smoothie, it wasn’t. The moment I finished it the weather suddenly changed. That would be the culprit: the weather. Does anyone else get headaches or migraines from Chinooks or just atmospheric pressure changes? Anyways, I used a chocolate flavoured protein instead of a vanilla based. It was delicious and nutty.



I ended up taking a rest day on Friday and just worked through lunch. Someone in the office brought in chinese food. It. Smelled. Delicious. So as I salivated, I reached for my salad. Since I ended up eating Chinese Chicken Salad for a little longer than planned and since my prep skills are still shaping: I had fucked myself for protein. Luckily I had some leftover steak in the fridge, so bitch I made a salad with it. I even made sure to marinate it in the super dressing overnight. And oh-my-god that salad was delicious. I am not even kidding, every time I use the super dressing I am so surprised with how delicious it is. Anyways, salad loaded and satisfied I carried on with my day. NOTE: the coworking mate that had Chinese food regretted her choice. I did not *small smug face*.

Snacks were the caveman nuts, the usual. The work day rolled along without the need for anything other than what I had already.


IMG_9703 copy


I had two meals. And maybe some candy while I caught up on really bad reality tv (ANYONE WATCH REAL HOUSEWIVES SERIES? Toronto just premiered and it is looooooney). Listen. I don’t regret having two meals and some candy. It was amazing and I savoured every single bite. The first picture is of Tamales, Salvadorean recipe. I made these myself AT CHRISTMAS TIME. Yeah, they’ve been frozen for that long but a defrost and a trip to the oven they tasted brand new. These little a$$h@l*s are not diet friendly. They are made of corn flour that have been cooked in oil: olive oil as per my mother’s recipe, to make an amazing dough. Inside of the dough is chicken, veggies and this fucking amazing tomato sauce THAT HAS FUCKING BREAD IN IT. Yeah, the tomato sauce is blended with bread. Not breadcrumbs: BREAD. I ate two of these fuckers. Then I had nachos cause I needed some “veggies”…okay, cheese.


Saturday started out great. I made the butternut squash hash and made two fried eggs. I loved this meal. It was nutritious and delicious! Haha. I made sure to eat these as soon as I woke up because I wanted to try out the Advanced class at Lethbridge Fit Body Bootcamp.


The class was pretty good. I am excited to try it out again this week. I had to stop 10 minutes before the end of class because I had to go do a Apple Cider Vinegar Shot as part of a challenge in Girls Night Out. Apple Cider Vinegar has the benefit of lowering insulin and blood sugars which can help with weight loss. Lower insulin means that our cells release fat which we use during our workouts. In regards to blood sugar, having it too low can actually be a bad thing for us. Luckily, we are eating well and a good variety of food so we aren’t in risk of starvation. But the combination of lowered blood sugar with the lowered insulin it will help breakdown the fat when energy is needed.  There have also been studies done that show apple cider vinegar to lower cholesterol. Saving our hearts.

The afternoon and evening I had to go into work for our next Art Opening, check out my first art exhibit at The Port here. I knew this was going to be hard. I drank my smoothie and I brought a tuna salad. The tuna salad is still at work. Because:


I had the veggies. I had the dip and bread. I had the brownies. I had the meat and cheese (not pictured). I showed restraint. But I still ate some things I should not have had.


Okay this blog is quite long. I’ll just fess up and say I had McDonalds. But can I just say, I didn’t feel as gross as I usually do after eating it? I know that’s bad. And this weekend which wasn’t the best for staying on plan was by the better than my usual weekend. I know I’ve been saying this a lot but my usual is REALLY bad. So I still think I am winning.

Sunday was all about prep and making dinner.

Sunday night I prepped the BLT Egg Muffins:


And made the turkey (used chicken) kebabs which I didn’t love and I had to use some tzatziki made from Greek Yogurt, lemon, garlic and cucumber to actually consume it. The Roasted Garlic Broc and Cauliflower were fucking amazing though.



I’ll end the blog here. Sorry for it being extra long. I’ll try and keep blogging throughout the weekend so everything isn’t so jam packed in one post. I hope everyone who’s also doing #GNO or really any healthy lifestyle change is doing well. I mean, I hope you all are doing well, really. Just a special shout-out to those who are trying to integrate healthier choices. Less sugar, more complex carbs and more sweating.





Art Files: Tom Davis Art Exhibit

Last month I wrapped my first curated exhibition. One that I fell into a couple months ago. The wonders that can happen with a simple call out. It comes to no surprise that my first exhibition was completely drenched in the Canadian style of landscape. It is after all, what shaped our White-Male-Centered-Identity. “Rolls around laughing”


I will admit, I love the way this exhibited happened. I reached out into the community and I caught Tom Davis. A local small business owner from Canmore who paints everyday and loves to eat a good cheesecake. Not joking. The man wrote a book on the subject. He did after all own many of our local restaurants in Alberta. Retired restauranteur turned painter, plays with colour and subject matter. I just love it. It had to be my first exhibition.

Tom Davis filled the Port Coworking Space with works of landscapes and people that he’s experienced in his lifetime. I well travelled gentleman, you could have seen landscapes of Greece to Alaska to Japan. They were indeed beautiful, filled with colour and pieces that definitely livened up a space. The pieces separate didn’t quite make any statement whatsoever but as soon as we started putting everything up, I realized that I could manipulate the pieces to speak about our cultural history and very present culture of people and land.



Cowboy and landscapes. I will be honest that my heart hurt as we put them up. But the frames went together so we went with that. When we first put together the space I couldn’t stop thinking about the Group of Seven and the impact they have had in our cultural identity. I’ve mention this in previous posts. The main point I wish to take away from that post is that people inhabiting the land when the Group of Seven were painting where completely erased from it. Giving the impression that the land was for the taking. It wasn’t. It still isn’t. We fast forward 150 years later and we are still seeing an old war: white man putting value in profits over the well-being of thousands of people: #NODAPL. Back to the walls of the Port, I had my chance to rearrange the conversation, bring back the people who were originally from the land in the land and insert them into the conversation. As the days grew, I made a change. I removed the cowboys and exchange them for a piece that was originally in the meeting room called: the meeting. The space turned into this:


That small changed opened up the conversation. At least in my mind it did. Who’s land is it anyway? History has made it possible for us to forget and titles have made it impossible to give it back. It’s all complicated. And none of it is fair. But I hope that at least for the months that this exhibit was up, some of us had time to think about it. At least I did.

Let me know if you’re enjoying these blog posts that are not necessary about beauty but about the beauty and challenges of life. Have you been following the days of the Girls night out challenge? Start on day one here. Want to read about skincare? Check out the post that talks about cleansers. Thanks for stopping by!





Face Files: #GNO, Day 4

Day 4 is the day I fell. I did this to myself since it was what I thought when I woke up. The way we think and perceive is very much how we set-up our day. Let this be a lesson to override those negative thoughts. Even though Day 4 was a challenge for me, I definitely overcame a lot and I still feel like I’ve taken a couple steps towards the conquering the mountain that is this challenge.


The morning started out with a repeat of yesterday’s smoothie but with fresh wheatgrass instead of the powdered form I found at nutters (well that my boss found at nutters). I cut some and added it to my smoothie. The smoothie definitely tasted different and I am not sure if I throughly enjoyed it. I think I like the powdered stuff since it felt more concentrated and fresh? I don’t know, my smoothie yesterday was more suited to my palette than the actual fresh wheatgrass. I am pretty sure that’s not good. Luckily, I have A LOT of wheatgrass left so I will be forcing myself to enjoy it for the next couple days.


By the time I finished my smoothie, I wasn’t feeling well. A few of my coworking mates have been sick so I think I may be the next one down. Hopefully the green smoothies and a good night’s rest will help with combatting the sickness. I also drank a Emergen-C that my kind, sick, coworking mate gave me. God bless her. In order to soothe my ailing soul I also reached for some tea instead of coffee this morning.



Lunch hour was again spent at Lethbridge Fitbody Bootcamp. Today’s work out was all about the legs. But it definitely got the heart rate up. I sweated so much that I was afraid my Kat Von D liquid lipstick was going to end up all over my face (it didn’t). By the time I got back to work, as usual, I was ravenous. I quickly ate my Chinese Chicken Salad before an afternoon appointment. I think I could’ve eaten double the amount that I had brought with me. I also brought a Zevia from home to drink with my lunch. A participant from a former challenge informed me that this drink was allowed during her challenge; so I am guessing since some of the recipes call for Stevia than it must be okay.


What is Stevia? The simple answer: it’s an alternative to sugar. Part of this challenge is to get rid of our addiction to sugar (which I am finally having withdrawals from). In comes Stevia. In its natural form Stevia is a leaf, a herb that originally came from South America. Nowadays it can be grown in your own backyard (this is what I hear). In its natural forms, studies have found that it can lower Blood Pressure. As we all know (or didn’t know), sugar actually raises our blood pressure, so a sweetner that can do that is pretty amazing. The catch: most stevia is processed to miles end and there have been no studies done (that I can tell at least) that can tell us whether or not it’s processed form is good or bad for us. The processed form can also have erythritol in it which if consumed in large quantities and on a regular basis, can give you diarrhoea, upset stomach or headaches. Now armed with this information, I will be looking for it’s natural form which is called Stevia tincture or sweet drops and is basically the leaf boiled down and made into a syrup.


Play this while reading the following:

Dinner was Chinese Chicken Salad. I got home in time to salvage the last serving of it. It was enough to fill me up. But before finishing it, my daughter demanded I give her a bath. I obliged since she kinda smelled like vomit (rough night and no time in the morning to give a quick rinse equal kid still smelling like vomit from the previous night’s episode of over eating vomiting). This is where I snuck into the pantry and ate two piece of dark chocolate with almonds. No shame. No regrets. After bath time I finished the rest of my salad. Then we left for Costco. Is the Jaws theme song still playing? If not, hit play again.

Costco. I thought since we had just finished dinner once we checked out I would escape the dreaded pizza. NOPE. My daughter demanded a slice. I obliged. She’s three and today I just needed to escape the tantrum. I again, sneaked a couple mouthfuls. Like six. Again. No regrets. Then we headed off to Wal-Mart where we bought this:


I have no words to explain myself.

Before leaving, my daughter, once again demanded a treat and this time from McDonalds. Here, I refused but my mother bought her a muffin, against my wishes. All I could do was roll my eyes and think that I have a bigger challenge ahead of me once I get my eating habits in order: my daughter’s eating habits. I also had a bit of the muffin. This one I regret.

How did everybody else’s day go? Have you planned your cheat meal yet? I have. Oh. Yes I have.