Winter Hike at Webster’s Falls in Hamilton

Winter Hike at Webster's Falls in Hamilton - TheCraftyMann.Blogspot.com

On Saturday, we rented a Car2Go with Tyler, and drove to Hamilton to meet our friends for a hike. Nic and I had been to Webster’s Falls in Dundas a couple summers ago, so it was cool to see it in the winter.

Winter Hike at Webster's Falls in Hamilton - TheCraftyMann.Blogspot.com

We ended up parking at the base of the escarpment, so we climbed up to the main set of falls. It got pretty treacherous with lots of ice, so we found ourselves scrambling up the hills, grabbing onto trees and bushes so we wouldn’t fall off the cliff into the river.

Winter Hike at Webster's Falls in Hamilton - TheCraftyMann.Blogspot.com

Although it’s very grey in the pictures, it was still pretty bright out, and we were all warm enough.

Winter Hike at Webster's Falls in Hamilton - TheCraftyMann.Blogspot.com

It was so cool to see the falls in this way: the water was still rushing, but where normally there is spray of water, it had frozen into place in huge lumps.

Winter Hike at Webster's Falls in Hamilton - TheCraftyMann.Blogspot.com

My Goals for 2016!

I haven’t made new year’s resolutions for a few years, I like to do goals. Goals are usually way more achievable, since they’re usually pretty specific. I don’t get upset when I don’t achieve them (like stopping to crack my knuckles), but I do usually try pretty hard.

My Nova Scotia honeymoon mug and my KOBO Aura

Reading:

  • Re-read old favourites: The Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings, and Island of the Blue Dolphins
  • Read all 5 Canada Reads 2016 Finalist books. 
    • The short list will be announced January 20th, but for now I can start to think about the 15 that are currently listed. 

Canada Reads 2016 is all about “starting over.” The show will feature books about transformation and second chances, stories of migrants, immigrants and others who are choosing – or forced – to make major changes in their lives.

  • Goodreads 2016 Challenge of 100 books. 
    • I was proud of myself for achieving 200 in 2015, but at the end of the year when I was working full-time, I felt like I was rushing myself, and that I didn’t have time to read more literary novels. 


Fitness:

  • Work up to a forearm stand and then a handstand! I’ve been able to do headstands for a while, but haven’t practiced the functional arm strength to do a handstand instead. Want to do it too? Here are some steps
    • The picture on the left is my second time managing to balance for a few seconds, and now I’m working on transitioning from a headstand directly to the forearm stand!
  • Cardio 2-3 times a week.
    • I’m very good at getting in my daily yoga practice (30-60 minutes, depending on how my body is feeling), and getting weights in (since that’s my favourite part of my fitness routine), but cardio is a fight. 
Before the Christmas Eve service with my wonderful husband

Relationships and Marriage:

  • A date outside our home at least twice a month. 
    • While we love spending quiet evenings at home, (and saving money!) it would be great to explore a little more of our city. I also miss going for long walks like we did for a while. 
    • Next Wednesday we’re going to take advantage of Wednesday night free admission to the AGO for our date!
  • Have one (or more!) friend date a month, to strengthen those relationships and get me out of my head

Personal:
  • Continue my daily gratitude practice in my journal. I write in 3 things I am grateful for that day.
    • It’s a great way to find the positive things in your life if you’re feeling a little down. It really helped me when I was in my latest depression rut. 
  • Take myself on one date a month.
    • I used to do that before, I’d go read in a coffee shop or check out the National Art Gallery, but I haven’t done that since moving to Toronto.
  • Cleanse my closet. 
    • Even though I got rid of a truckload of clothes before moving to Toronto, I still have lots of stuff that I don’t wear and don’t want to get rid of. I need to. Maybe I’ll do a capsule wardrobe!


Blogging:

  • Find ways to engage my readers so that we can get a dialogue going
  • Make blogger friends!
What are your goals for 2016?

The past month for my back injury – rehabbing all over again

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while or know me personally, you know that I’ve been struggling with a back injury for about 4 years. It comes and goes, and right now, it’s gone. I had been doing really well since the summer, and had even gotten to my goal of deadlifting 105lbs by December 1st, something I thought would be near to impossible for me to do.
Turns out, I was probably right. Since then, my back has been pretty bad. Some days I just lay in bed with my electric heating pad, and the days I worked I had to sit down at the front desk and drug myself on Aleve.

Just looking at this picture of what I carry in my gym bag makes me sad. I wish I got to do that again.

I’ve had a lot of baths recently which always helps calm me down, relax my back, and prep for some gentle yoga. I’ve also been using the heck out of my foam roller and softball to get at the knots. 
I really want to feel better soon, my energy gets so low when I don’t get to do physical activity. Monday afternoon I plan on going to my gym’s yoga class, hopefully it’ll be good for me. I need some endorphins up in here. 
The next steps for me will be lots of healing yoga to bring back some strength and movement, and then once I’m ready for weights again, work on my physical strength, not going for numbers like lowering my body fat percentage or how heavy I can squat or deadlift. 

September Favourites

Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray – for my long days at GoodLife
Smashbox Hydrating Primer – my skin has gotten pretty dry with fall coming so this primer is perfect
Smashbox Studio Finish Foundation – My skin is pale again on my face, so this foundation works for me again. 

My current eye look

Maybelline’s 24 Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze
Crave from the Naked Basics pallette as the crease colour
Maybelline Collossal Volume

I’ve had a backup of Bad to the Bronze for months
Creatures Great and Small

“Adult” colouring books are such a big thing right now, and I got this one to celebrate my new job as a Fitness Advisor for a GoodLife in downtown Toronto.

Each page of this book has different types of creatures, and I’ve really enjoyed the relaxation the colouring provides. They even suggest pulling the pages out and framing them afterward, and give information about each animal on the page, so you get to learn at the same time!

This month I started taking an adult ballet class at City Dance Corps. It is a beginner class, which is great for me since I haven’t danced since I was 14. I’m loving it so far, it’s a great way for me to increase some strength, and I’ve loved moving that way again. 

I absolutely wanted to have a wreath on our door to make the place more homey. Nic and I went into the ravine by our apartment to gather grapevines, which take over the rest of the plants. I twisted them up together, and with the help of some twine, held it together. It’s getting an update for fall.

What’s in my Gym Bag

I recently got into watching fit womens’ “what’s in my gym bag” videos on YouTube, so I figured I’d make a blog post about it.

Lululemon “Weekend Warrior Bag”

This Christmas my parents got me this beautiful bag! I had a leather yoga bag from Blogilates before, but it was really worn through and since it’s leather, it’s pretty heavy. This bag is a lot lighter, has more pockets, and is easier to clean.

I love how they include such cute labels for pockets, like this “in it to win it”
I keep my toiletries in this zippered pocket so they’re faster to find.
The toiletries I keep in my gym bag

 Now that my closest GoodLife is about 10 minutes away by public transit (in Ottawa it was 2 minutes in the car) I’ve taken to showering there. My body wash is a mix of the Body Shop’s grapefruit shower gel and Neutrogena’s Body Clear Body Wash in Pink Grapefruit.

I keep a mini deoderant in my bag in case I’m going out afterward, this is Dove’s cool cucumber.

Any moisturizing lipbalm, this is Burt’s Bees “lip treatment with kokum butter”. I always keep makeup wipes in case I don’t have time for a shower. I got this sample of Paula’s Choice “Clinical KP Treatment Cloths,” they have salicylic acid so it helps with making sure you don’t get a breakout. My dry shampoo is a sample size of Klorane’s oat milk dryt shampoo.

All the items

Waterbottle/shaker: ProStak from Bed Bath & Beyond, love having water and then the protein powder in the bottom.

My Kobo Aura for reading on cardio machines, otherwise I’m real bored.

My headphones are from Sound Logic, I got them for $15 on a Groupon deal, apparently they’re worth $80? Whatever. Someday I’ll get a new pair, these are too small for my ears, especially if I wear glasses.

Always keep an extra sports bra and pair of underwear in your bag, in case you forget to pack one.

I keep a folder with my workout tracker sheets so I can see when I have back flareups, if I’ve gone up in reps or weight etc.

When I know I’m going to shower at the gym, I bring my bathing suit bag. I bring a washcloth instead of a loofah, and put the body wash in the bag in case of leaks.

Gotta have my douchey bike gloves to stop myself from getting aggressive callouses from weightlifting.

My cross-training shoes are the Nike Trainer Ones. I love them. Also gotta have flip flops for the shower.

Living with a Back Injury

title

A few years ago I “slipped” a disc in my lower back, or lumbar spine. I was lifting canoes at my summer camp, by myself, thinking I was “all that” for being strong enough to solo the canoes. Unfortunately, I bulged the disc between my L4-L5. For weeks I couldn’t move well, and for a couple years I wasn’t allowed to play sports or do much physical activity. I put on some weight, and wasn’t very happy.  I find joy in being physically active and seeing how far I can push my body- I had pushed too hard, and in the wrong way.

I took my physiotherapy more seriously, and this past year went to the gym a lot to ensure that I was building strength in the areas I had been missing before. I’ve been feeling really great, and am so proud to say that I am so much stronger than I was before the injury.

Every once in a while, I get a flare-up, and until you’ve hurt your back, you don’t know how bad it is. In case you have injured your back in some way, I have some tips here on how to calm your back and maintain the health.

1) Gentle stretches and yoga
If I’m in a flare-up, there’s not much I can do with my body. I revert back to the smallest physio exercises I have been given over the years (generally really small cobra push-ups) so that I maintain some movement in my back.
I like to find videos on YouTube geared towards lower back injuries, because the instructors often give you ways to edit your regular practice for those tight spots. I’ve included this awesome video from Yoga By Adriene. I discovered her through this specific video, and have loved taking her wisdom to the rest of my practice: doing flat-back during Sun Salutations? I’m keeping my knees real bent so that I don’t flex my back unnecessarily.
Hopefully you’re seeing a physiotherapist who has been able to discover how your injury is related to your other muscles. Often my butt and the fronts of my hips tighten up, which stresses out my lower back. When I do low lunges, that helps give my back space.

Yoga setup in the living room

 I love how calming our living room is. The apartment is so light and bright, and having that peaceful place to recover and do my physio.

My ASUS laptop and a fresh smoothie for this morning’s practice
YouTube Workout Tip: I like to know how much time is left on the videos, so I always put it on “cinema” mode, that way it’s large, but you still see the time listed at the bottom. Yeah, I got lots of motivation. 
2) Medications
I love Aleve. It really relaxes my back. Obviously I limit how much I take it, but when I’m in pain, that baby fixes it. 

3) Bathtime!
I do like to take baths to relax, and as long as you have a good setup for your injury, they’re great to make your muscles calm down. I also like to use those heated electric pads times when I don’t want to get in the bath.
Bath essentials
My baths aren’t that long, but I do make sure I have epsom salts, as well as a bubble bath (my favourite is Lush’s The Comforter).
bathtub
Our claw-foot tub is phenomenal

4) Relax

Take it easy during your flare-up. Even though I hate sitting still (or lying on the floor while slowly stretching my back) for a while, and taking time away from the gym, it’s important to let yourself rest. Recovering from injuries requires a lot of patience. I don’t have that. 
5) Be self-centered
People who haven’t been injured won’t understand what you’re going through, but don’t let that hold you back from resting and taking care of yourself. Say “no” to activities that you would find super fun, but might hurt yourself doing. It’s not worth it in the long run. My biggest fear is hurting myself so badly I’ll need surgery, or I won’t be able to walk again. What a great downer to end on, right?

Take care of yourself.