Giveaway Swellness: Win Chef’s Plate Meal Kits!

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For the past month, I’ve had three Chef’s Plate meals kits delivered to my doorstep (it was a partnership in kind) and it’s helped with my busy schedule in so many ways.

For one, one of my goals this year was to cook more often, since this fell apart last year, and it meant I had to cook three times a week with the ingredients already in my fridge. It also forced me to cook multiple components for a meal; I’ll usually make a one-pot meal or make a protein, plus a super simple side, but rarely a main with two sides for a balance meal. I also liked that the Chef’s Plate ingredients are portioned out (simplifying cooking) and there was a nice variety to the meal options so I had interesting, yummy meals to enjoy. Having Chef’s Plate for the past month also meant I barely needed to grocery shop, so I saved time planning meals and hitting up the market, leaving me more time to workout and spend time at the park with Billie Jean.

The good news for you is that I’ve got a prize of three Chef’s Plate meal kits (each kit feeds two people) to give away to one lucky winner! To enter, visit my IG post to learn how to enter, and you can comment on this blog post for five extra entries—just comment what is a go-to meal you make at home regularly (for me, one go-to is spaghetti carbonara!).

Giveaway ends at 11:59 on March 17, 2022, and winner will be announced on IG Stories March 18th.

Good luck!

8 Comments March 11, 2022

Giveaway Swellness: Win a Month of Sapsucker

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I’m always looking for ways to hydrate with less sugar; I love soft drinks but try to enjoy them in moderation and as I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m just not a fan of plain water (except for when I’m running). But a year ago (two years? everything is a blur lately the past while, eh?) I discovered Sapsucker and I’ve been a fan since!

Sapsucker is organic sparkling tree water that is naturally sweet. It’s also bubbly (so it satisfies my craving for a bit of fizz) and contains 46 naturally occurring minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. And I love that it’s sustainably harvested from Canadian maple trees in Ontario and is a female-founded company.

Love the can design as well, and the five flavours it comes in are all great (I can’t pick one favourite, they’re all tasty!): grapefruit, orange, lime, lemon and original.

And I’m so happy to have a one-month’s supply of Sapsucker (aka four 8-packs) to give away to one lucky winner! To get five entries, comment on this blog post about which flavour you think is the most tasty! And to get more entries, you can get the details on how to enter on Instagram on my post here.

Note: This giveaway is open to Canadian residents and ends 11:59 PM, Monday, March 14, 2022. The winner will be announced on my IG Stories Tuesday, March 15, 2022.

Oh, and if you don’t win this giveaway, you can get Sap Sucker at specialty grocery stores, and also Loblaws and Sobeys, and online at the Sap Shop.

Good luck!

9 Comments March 9, 2022

Travel Swellness: 7 Ways to Make Solo Road-Tripping Better

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When driving alone, I can get bored pretty quickly. I think doing the drive from Toronto to Montreal as a passenger on the weekends every two weeks when I first moved to Toronto really made me develop a deep dread for being in a car for hours. So the idea of driving solo several hours alone has always been a bit daunting to me up until recently. Now having done it a couple of times, I have a few tactics to make driving solo for several hours easier:

Pack great road-trip snacks you’re excited to eat. I swear that having snacks to look forward to helps break up the drive into chunks of time. This is no different than a regular day for me; I’m always planning what I’m eating next. Some snacks I tend to pack for road trips: bagels, apples, almonds, sour patch kids, Pringles (the can makes it easy to eat in the car), Peanut M&Ms, and if I’m organized enough to pack a meal, I like making pita wraps because they’re easy to eat on the go. To drink, I bring a Sap Sucker and Bubly, although I do try to somewhat limit my fluids so that I can avoid stopping for a ton of bathroom breaks.

Plan for fun stops along the way. I used to only focus on getting to my final destination as quickly as possible.Now, I try to plan for at least one stop along the way so that I have something to look forward to. It might be at the beginning of the trip (for example, I’ve gone to San Remo Bakery to pick up doughnuts so that I have a sweet treat to look forward to) or a practical errand midway (such as Giant Tiger to pick up the last few cottage essentials–and I’m always checking to see if they’ve got the $6 bike shorts I scored two summers ago). Or sometimes I’ll stop somewhere touristy, such as the Big Apple in Cobourg. Incorporating stops helps to break up the journey; rather than facing a long, boring six-drive to Montreal, it’s only two hours til the Big Apple, and then another one or so til I stop for gas. This method of breaking up the drive into chunks reminds of running 10 and 1s; it’s easier to mentally wrap your head around getting through the next 10 minutes rather than hours of running (when in the thick of marathon training you’ve got those 30k runs as you near race day!). In fact, when I was getting drained completing the mileage for the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee, I planned fun stops during some runs, including meeting my friend in the park to hike. Look how much marathon training has taught me, haha!

Plan your gas stop and bathroom breaks. Like in a marathon, for a road trip you need to plan when to fuel and when you go to the bathroom. I now know that I fill up on gas every three hours of driving or so; with that in mind, I plan my other stops accordingly–it’s all about spacing apart the breaks from driving and giving your legs a stretch and some fresh air (for Billie Jean, too!). When I get gas, I usually pick up a double-double at Timmies, too, cuz I’m a good ol’ Canadian, eh! It’s my little road trip ritual.

Have a playlist planned. I much prefer running with music or a podcast on my AirPods and I need entertainment for my drives as well. I only listen to a handful of podcasts regularly, so if I know I have a road trip coming up, I will save new episodes to listen to in the car. Podcasts really help the time fly by; I drove five hours to Meech Lake in the fall and by the time I’d listened to my favourites (Dave Chang Show, Smartless, Conan O’Brien, Spilled Milk, Fake Doctors Real Friends, and Recipe Club) I’d arrived! I’d take breaks in between podcasts for music. Since I don’t own a lot of music, I’ve very much enjoyed the Sirius XM subscription in the GM Canada cars. I set my favourites before I hit the road so I can easily switch between pop, hip hip, 80s, 90s, and 2000s. If you’re into audiobooks, download a few for your drive, I bet that’d be a great time to have a listen if it’s a format you enjoy (I find my mind wanders off when listening to audiobooks so they’re not my jam for road trips.)

Dress for the drive. You’ll want to be comfortable, obviously. For winter drives, I typically take off my winter coat and wear a sweatsuit or a sweater and leggings. More important than your outfit is your footwear; in the summer, this means wearing footwear other than flimsy flip flops (which can slip on the pedals) and for fall and winter, I opt for sneakers or boots that don’t have an overly chunky sole (too much of platform and I can’t feel the pedal!). Avoid wearng jumpsuits or onesies as your ootd; trust me, you do not want the hassle of getting half undressed at every bathroom pit stop!

Sing! Learn a new language! One of my IG followers suggested learning a new language while driving, and I love that idea! I haven’t tried it yet (although I am learning Italian with the Babbel app), but I do regularly sing in the car. If a boyband comes on or some classic 90s RnB, you’ll find my singing at the top of my lungs behind the wheel. I find singing helps keep you alert for the drive and you end up feeling more energized after you’ve belted out some Mary J Blige. And while I’m not really one to talk on the phone, if you love phone calls, use this time to chat with that friend you’ve been meaning to catch up with.

Driving with confidence. Besides all of these little tactics I use for going on solo road trips,  for me a big part of what makes me comfortable and confident with driving solo is knowing the car I’m driving can handle the conditions and that its features help me drive more safely.

My recent test drive of the 2022 GMC Acadia AWD was perfect for my trip cottage-hopping. While the highways were clear, it was white-out conditions in Gatineau on the day I departed for Wentworth and the roads were slippery for most of my two-hour trek, but all-wheel-drive got me safely to my destination. And let’s hear it for the heated steering wheel and seats; much appreciated in the -21 degree weather (and I think the more comfortable you are, the more focused you are on driving)! Also, because I do not pack light, the ample trunk space (plus I put down the third row of seats to expand it) was put to good use with all of my cottage groceries, luggage and work-from-cottage essentials stashed in there; they didn’t have to be piled up, which would’ve blocked the rear window). The Acadia also had heads-up display is something I always appreciate as it helps me be more aware of my speed (when I get in a zone, I’m a little bit of a lead foot!), and the blind-spot detection light is super helpful for keeping you aware of your surroundings (even though, of course, I always do shoulder check before changing lanes). I will tell you that I never would’ve predicted I’d love GMC, but I do! Although I don’t love parking them (so big!) I do love being the big GMC SUV on the road surrounded by little cars. Maybe that confidence was BCE: Big Car Energy. Does this mean, ahem, size matters?!

(Side note: Just last year, an old SUV I was driving solo one day in the summer went dead right as I was in the middle of making a turn onto a busy downtown street. There I was, in the middle of the intersection with the car completely dead. Talk about panic! It makes me appreciate cars like this smooth driving GMC Acadia all that much more!)

How do you approach your road trips? I’m still learning (and I dream of one day driving to Banff and Jasper to hike with Billie Jean) so would love to know if you have any strategies for road tripping (especially driving solo). And more importantly, what podcasts should I add to my library for my next road trip?? ‘Cause I’ll need way more to listen to if I’m going to tackle longer drives!

 

Leave a Comment February 15, 2022

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