Anyone like adventures? Head to St. Malo

Friday was one of the funnest days I’ve had in a long time.

I went on an adventure to St. Malo, MB with four great people. We got our vehicle stuck in knee-deep snow. And while trying to push it out I might have fallen flat a couple of times, only to end up with damp jeans and what felt like the droppings of a snow cone in the bottom of my ankle boots.

But when we finally pushed ourselves out of the snow, we did a lot of exploring (mostly on foot because we were too nervous to drive the SUV onto dirt roads again).

The first place we found was called La Grotte. It was a church within a grave yard that was either abandoned or left alone for the winter. The inside was beautiful. It had stained glass windows, wooden floors and benches, a (somewhat-creepy) statue of a nun laying in a glass case at the front…(Catherine may have thought it was a real body), and it even came complete with a love letter written in 2004.

The letter wrote:

Aug 02/04

On July 31/04 my boyfriend brought me here and proposed to me. For years this beautiful place has brought me peace within myself and I was able to share this place with Arturo. All my life I prayed for a man whom believed as much as me and whom would help my belief in God stay strong. On July 31/04 the good lord brought us here and answered my prayer. He united us into one. I love our God so much and we will be forever thankful. We want to live our life for you, for you gave yours for us.

❤ Alway Mary K + Arturo C.L

letter

I felt lucky to have found it. It was laying there, as if it was left right where Arturo proposed. We got to share Mary and Arturo’s love story and I couldn’t help but think we were supposed to find them. So we tried!

We started with social media and the internet, searching for their names. We got excited when we found an Arturo C.L, but that excitement dwindled when we saw he lived in New Mexico.

We even asked some locals if they recognized the names. It’s a small town so there is a good chance of that. No one recognized them.

Our time was limited to find a story so we couldn’t afford to do a more thorough search, so we tried something else. One of the locals told us about an animal therapy centre that helps kids deal with with certain disabilities or anxieties by pairing them up with what you might call their “spirit animals.”

This place housed fainting goats, a mini pig, miniature horses, full sized horses, sheep, chickens, a blind rooster and kittens.

horsekittenminihorsesheep

This was an unexpected find, but I guess finding treasure is usually somewhat unexpected. Needless to say we found our story there, but you’ll have to come back  to visit Sincerely, Kristi next week to read it!

The entire trip was beneficial. It made me realize I need to explore our province more, because there are amazing things to find everywhere. And it also gave me quite a good workout! When I woke up Saturday morning my shoulders were extremely sore from pushing the SUV out of the snow, and my legs were sore from hiking up and down heavily snowed in paths. Talk about resistance training.

See you next week when I reveal the story behind the St. Malo animal therapy centre.

Sincerely,

Kristi

 

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For All The Super Humans: Appreciate yourselves

Many of us have busy lives. We have so much going on that the amount of things we’re expected to be good at is almost unreal and I’d go as far as to say, unnatural. There are only a handful of “super humans” in this world. They are the ones who go around doing everything for everybody else, and attaining perfection in those things without ever complaining about having to do them. These people never get to do things for themselves and probably don’t even know how to because of how busy they are.

I won’t say I’m a super human. In fact, I complain a lot—internally…okay sometimes externally too. I wish I had more time to myself and I wish I had more time to spend with my family. I wish I wasn’t expected to be perfect in ten different areas of my life while still maintaining an actual ‘life’, but I also know the fact that I am expected of these things, says someone must believe I’m capable of it.

Going into next week I think it’s important that we appreciate our super human capabilities…even if they’re only at a subpar level right now. We need to start giving ourselves more credit for the amazing things we do, for the things we put our bodies and minds through.

You are becoming more and more a super human ever day that you manage to get the shit done that you didn’t think you could. And when you manage to sneak in a workout, hangout, or even when you manage to pass out in the midst of all that shit and you STILL get it done…well my friends, you’ll know you’ve made it.

This week, appreciate yourselves and comment below about one thing you did that you’re proud of. Here, I’ll start it off! – Last week I managed to work out three times during my school week, which is the most I’ve been able to do in a while.

Sincerely,

Kristi

 

For Anyone Wanting to Tone Their Butt

I recently found this Cosmopolitan article on Pinterest called 9 Butt Moves that beat squats.

Naturally I tried it. I love my butt and leg workouts and I know a lot of people who A) want a better butt and B) hate doing squats.

I didn’t time myself doing it but I think it took me around 10 minutes to get through the whole thing—WHICH IS VERY DOABLE FOR MOST PEOPLE— so really there are no excuses not to try it. (AND it’s very easy to do while watching a movie or TV, so you can catch up on The Bachelor while you tone your butt.)

The exercises switch between floor work and standing work and focus on different areas of your butt, which is very important if you want an actual transformation down there! Only doing squats will only help strengthen, not transform.

You can find the exercises here: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/330873903853940709/

Give them a try and let me know what you think. I absolutely love them. They make me somewhat sore the next couple of days, but I’ll have to use ankle weights the next time to really get the soreness I look for after a workout.

Sincerely,

Kristi

For The Love of Fiddles

Today marks the final day of Festival du Voyageur 2016. Not many events happen on the last day, but this year it was reserved for the 45th annual Fiddling Contest. Contestants ranged from five to 65-years-old and talent levels had an equally large range. Who was most impressive? Not necessarily the people with the most talent, but the little ones who took to the stage and played in front of a wall-to-wall packed room that included three industry professional judges right up front. There were many first-timers among these ‘youngins,’ which made for quite a few emotional embraces with parents when they finished their performances and stepped off the first stage they’ve ever conquered. And as for the last-timers, there was one. Farewell and good luck to the 15-year-running host of the Fiddling Contest, Marc Rémillard, whose last day was today.

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There was a full house at the Centre culturel franco-manitobain (CCFM) on Feb. 21, 2016 where the 45th annual Fiddling Contest took place on the last day of Festival du Voyageur 2016/KRISTI NIKKEL

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Olivia Quarry Beaulieu, 10, practices three songs before performing for her first time at Festival du Voyageur’s Fiddling Contest on Feb. 21, 2016/ KRISTI NIKKEL

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Marc Rémillard adjusts the microphone for Olivia Quarry Beaulieu before she begins the first of her three songs she has prepared for this year’s Fiddling Contest at the Festival du Voyageur. Feb. 21,2016/KRISTI NIKKEL

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Paul Beaulieu hugs daughter Olivia Quarry Beaulieu when she steps off stage from her first solo fiddle performance at the Festival du Voyageur on Feb. 21, 2016/KRISTI NIKKEL

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Wayne Lipischak plays piano for the first time at Festival du Voyageur’s Fiddling Contest alongside of seven-year-old contestant Shiloh (last name not given) who has been playing for a year and a half. Feb. 21, 2016/KRISTI NIKKEL

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Gerald Boulet films his son Robert, 13, while he plays his first of three songs on stage at Festival du Voyageur’s Fiddling Contest on Feb. 21, 2016/KRISTI NIKKEL

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Marc Rémillard announces it’s his last day hosting Festival du Voyageur’s Fiddling Contest after a 15-year run. Feb. 21, 2016/KRISTI NIKKEL

Sincerely,

Kristi

For Anyone Travelling on Reading Week: Exercise in the airport!

It’s reading week for many, and that means there will be a flood of people travelling through the airports to (hopefully) warmer destinations.

I know being on vacation usually means exercising is put on hold…but here are some things you can do in the airport just to prepare that body for wherever you may be going.

  1. Pack a larger carry on. I’ve got a small suitcase as I didn’t want to check anything.
  2. Find a free wall. Maybe stick around your boarding area to avoid missing your flight.
  3. Ever heard of wall sit? It’s exactly what it sounds like! Put your back against the wall then slide down into a sitting position. *Make sure your knees don’t pass your toes and your legs make a 90 degree angle.
  4. Pick up that carry on. If you have a suitcase, just place it on your knees to create some resistance. Hold this for as long as you can. Try for at least 45 seconds. It will be tough but I have faith in all of you 🙂
  5. If you’re carrying a smaller bag, put as many of your belongings as possible into it. You can either place it on your lap for resistance like the suitcase option, OR pass it from one hand to the other in a circular motion around your knees. If you can manage 30 passes, that’s awesome, if you can do more…even better!
  6. Take a one minute break and do it a second time.
  7. BUT this time around, let’s work those arms and shoulders at the same time. If you’re strong enough and are confident you won’t hurt your back, pick up that big bag filled with stuff and hold it at chest level.
  8. Push the bag up above your head, then bring it back down slowly. When you push it up it should take 2 seconds to get there, when you bring it back down, it should take 4 seconds.
  9. Repeat this pushing motion 20-30 times. Depending on your strength you might be above or below that number. Do what is difficult, but that is also safe for your own body.
  10. After resting for a minute, repeat 20-30 again, then you’re done!

Don’t worry about people giving you the stink eye while you do this. You might look a bit odd, but at least you’re building a great bod!…They are just sitting and judging and that doesn’t burn any extra calories or fat. So laugh at them while you do these exercises. (That will actually work out your core muscles too, making this exercise a triple threat…CACHING!

I wish you fun and safe travels.

Sincerely,

Kristi

 

I took a walk where many dare not go alone

A little off topic today but thought this was important to share. There is some walking involved so not completely off strategy from a fitness blog…

As someone who has worked in Winnipeg’s Exchange District for three years, I consider myself pretty comfortable with an area that some people have fair reservations about. Of course there are areas of downtown that are worse than others—areas where you’re more likely to have a stranger uncomfortably confront you—and that area for me is between Ellice and Portage Ave. along Donald St. (AKA the area surrounding Giant Tiger)

So, when I heard about the City’s plan to build a $20,000 art project in a back lane directly in the middle of that area, I was obviously skeptical.

But I’m not one to bad mouth anything unless I have proof or reason to, so in order to see what appealed to Downtown Winnipeg BIZ about that particular spot… I naturally decided to go for a walk there—alone.

See, I thought that if I could go on my own and feel comfortable and tour the area without fear, that my doubts about the project would go away. I hoped it would allow me to embrace the beauty Downtown Winnipeg BIZ is trying to incorporate into a less-than-beautiful area.

I wasn’t paranoid, and I can say that with absolute certainty. In fact I went with great calmness with my camera in hand, hoping I could at least get some nice photos out of my Saturday afternoon walk.

Well that calmness only stuck around until I reached Ellice Ave.—just one block away from my destination. At that point people’s eyes were fixating on me for longer and longer as I submerged myself deeper into what I’d call the danger zone of Winnipeg. And in the middle of a Winnipeg January my body temperature rose when my confidence in my safety started going down.

Then, just when I needed someone to tell me I was crazy, that it was all in my head, a man approached me. I couldn’t make out the majority of what he was saying. I listened for the amount of time it took for the red hand on street light to turn into a glowing white walking man, and all I caught—all I needed to hear—were the words, “Miss, I lost my glove (he was wearing two). I know I left it around here. Can you come with me to look for it.”

I wish that man the best of luck finding what looked like the glove he already had on his hand, but I worry such encounters that target people more naive than me, will be the number one issue with this back lane art project.

Sincerely,

Kristi

(Featured image was taken one block over from where the art project will take place. It is not an accurate representation of the lane where the project will be. The following photos, however, are from the project lane.)

For Anyone with Chicken Wings for Arms: Try a push up pyramid

I don’t mean to insult you if you do have chicken wing arms, believe me I do too. It just means you’ve got super skinny arms without a lot of muscle. It isn’t a bad thing, but there are lots of people, like me, who want to build up some muscle to get definition in those wings! I used to do this back in my gymnastics days with one of my teammates, but recently my boyfriend re-introduced me to it.

Here’s what it is.

The Push up Pyramid

Grab a partner— you can’t do this alone. (choose one who will challenge you, NOT say it’s okay to stop….because you WILL want to quit before you even get to the half way point.)

Get into a push up position beside each other or facing each other.

Choose the person who will start— doesn’t really matter who, you’ll be doing the same thing as each other.

Once he or she does one push up, they wait in a high plank for you to do one. Then they do two when you finish, and you wait in the high plank until they’re done. This goes on up until 10. (So, e.g. Chris does 1— I do 1. Chris does two— I do two…etc)

*If it’s too hard to stay in plank all the way through this, just try to get as high as you can up the pyramid staying in one in between your push ups. Challenge yourself, and only when you think you can’t anymore, can you go down between the push ups. THIS DOESN’T MEAN YOU STOP DOING PUSH UPS.

when you get to 10, guess what?

You’re not done… 😦

Sorry not sorry. You still have to go back down to one.

BUT

I know you can do it, because I didn’t think I could go any further when I went up to seven, then my push up partner pushed me (and I wanted to prove I could keep up with a man) so I kept going.

You CAN do it. If you slow down, that’s okay! The point is not to go as fast as you can, the point is to get through it all. So without a break between 10 and 10, start back going down. (Chris does 10—I do 10. Chris does 9—I do 9…etc.)

Here’s a bonus for you: You aren’t JUST working out your arms during this torture. My lower abs are sore for two days after I do this, which is a spot I know everyone wants to work on but don’t always know how to.

Congratulations!

I’m so proud of you if you did it. Please comment below if you tried it and succeeded! I’ll give ya a shout out in next week’s blog post.

Sincerely,

Kristi