Posts Tagged ‘summer’

  1. The Seasons of Life

    February 10, 2015 by Melanie Faris


    Looking outside right now, it’s hard to imagine what summer looks and feels like. It’s so cold I dread the thought of getting dressed for the day and walking out the front door. Brrr! I am much more comfortable staying inside, wrapped in a blanket and watching the news. Yes, I watch the news. I am a bit of an old soul they say…

    Today I want to talk to you about the seasons. I’m not talking about the weather outside, I’m talking about the seasons of your life. Have you ever thought about your life this way? A lot of people think life comes down to luck or chance. You roll the dice and you get what you get. Everyone’s different and there’s no making sense of it. But wait – that’s not how it works at all. Sure everyone has a unique story with different circumstances, but I came to the realization that we are all similar and on this road together! I mean – I think we all can relate on a deeper level, especially when it comes to the seasons of our lives. Some people feel one season stronger than another, but we all go through them. Let me explain…

    There are many seasons of life, and here’s my take on it.


    Let’s start with winter (we are all familiar with this one):

    It’s so cold!!!! When does it end?! That’s the only thought on everyone’s mind. Okay, maybe not for everyone in the world, but definitely here in Canada. hehe.

    But in all seriousness, the winter season of life sometimes feels long. It feels like we could all use a little more sunshine and a lot less storm in our life. There are glimpses of beauty, but sometimes you need to squint to see it. Often you realize that you need help digging out of this mess, but don’t know where to turn. You are snowed in and it’s not always easy. As the tears flow, you might find yourself praying to a God you aren’t sure exists, or holding onto your loved ones a little tighter. Or maybe you are secluding yourself from the world, staying inside with a hope to keep warm, not wanting to face the world outside. Usually I don’t anticipate the winter to feel so cold and heartless. I don’t expect to be hit so hard all at once like a snowball in the face. You ever been there? This is a trying and difficult time in your life, and sometimes it’s hard to even imagine that spring is going to come.


    There is spring:

    The beautiful time where you rest after the storms of winter, knowing that all the hardships you went through before have brought you a new outlook on life. You see the sun rising and suddenly 10 degress feels SO nice. You now realize that without the cold winter, spring wouldn’t feel as nice as it does right now. It’s a transition phase. You are coming out of the storm and finally feel the warmth on your face again. There is a peace and hope for your future. A sense of contentment and optimism for what’s ahead. You aren’t sure if you are at the place you want to be yet, but you know that there’s good things coming and you are ready to start walking the path laid before you.


    There is summer:

    This is a time where you are reaping the rewards of handwork and dedication. Sometimes life feels almost “too good to be true” during this time. You are on fire! Think of the time when you tried on those old jeans that haven’t fit in years, only to discover your hard work at the gym has finally paid off! YES! You feel on top of the world, fired up and ready to take on whatever comes your way. You sometime worry that this season can’t last for too long, almost “searching” for something bad in your life, unable to locate it. You lie out and sunbath soaking it all in, praying for this season to last the rest of your life.


    There is fall:

    You have come down off your high and are realizing things aren’t exactly what you thought they would be. Maybe that new job means more hours at the office and less time with your family. Or the jeans are getting tight again, and motivation is starting to diminish. Things aren’t so perfect anymore. I find in this season I get a bit confused. I just don’t know what step to take next. You may ask yourself, where do I go from here? I can remember when I was in college feeling as if my world was crumbling around me. This isn’t what I signed up for, I thought. I just couldn’t find peace in my life. Although everything was still OK, inside there was a war going on. I felt like I needed a change, but I just didn’t know what to do or where I was heading. You might feel like you are walking without a map, lost and  unsure of who to ask for directions.


    You ever been in one of these seasons of life? I know you have! But what season are you in now? Sure we all know the seasons of the year, it’s pretty obvious if you are sweating from the heat, or trying to avoid frostbite from the cold. But do you know and recognize what season your life is in at any given moment? It’s possible you have a bit of a mixed bag and feel like you are in two seasons at once. But really think about it for a minute. For a lot of us, it won’t take very long to recognize where we are…

    Sometimes I can go through all of the seasons in a week, or even a day! It’s crazy how fast the weather can change. I’m not here to tell you that all good things come to an end, because I hate when someone says that to me. I also don’t think it’s true. However, there will disruptions and challenges that put us off our path in some way, at some time in our life. Don’t “expect the worse”, gosh that bugs me when someone says that, especially when you are feeling so darn great about life. My advice would be this – next time you find yourself at the grocery store with some extra cash in your pocket (i.e., it’s your summer), it’s never a bad idea to grab some canned food to put in the pantry in case you need it! Use your summer to prepare for the winter. Read, study, learn, grow – even if everything you read doesn’t apply to you right now. It will build you up and prepare you for what’s ahead. Whatever that may be!

    If you happen to be stuck in a winter season (even if you don’t live in good ol’ Canada), I want you to know that there is hope. Spring is coming. Do NOT lose sight of it. Sometimes you need to rest for a while, and just seek comfort during this time. Let the storm pass. I would encourage you to seek the best comforter I know – the Holy Spirit. God is the only one who can bring you true peace during the storms. I’m not trying to get all religious on you, I’m just speaking from experience. When I put my trust in God and a storm comes my way, all the emotions are still there and it’s still freakin cold, but I just don’t feel the weight of it. That’s what He does for me. He takes the weight of the hardship and puts it on Himself. I may still cry myself to sleep, but He is standing with the kleenex box saying, let it all out, let me wipe your tears. A good friend of mine once told me to put my worries on God, because His shoulders are much bigger than mine. It’s like trying to walk through 5′ of snow with bricks in your boots. It’s just not an easy road. Might be possible to get to the other side, but it’s not easy!! However, if you put on some snowshoes, you still have to walk through the snow, it’s just a heck of a lot easier because you just don’t have to carry so much weight. Make sense? Sort of?

    I wanted to write this post to give you hope and comfort, no matter what season you are in. If you are in summer right now, ENJOY IT. Don’t fret or anticipate something to go wrong. Just lie in the sun and tan for a while. It is OKAY for things to feel so great. You aren’t a bad person for being happy and content. I encourage you to use this time to refuel yourself and encourage others who may feel like winter just won’t end for them. If you are going through winter, or a transition season, remember that summer WILL come around, and with the right road map, you will get there a lot quicker.

    Enjoy whatever season you may be in! I for one am READY and looking forward to spring.

    Bye for now.

    Love, Melanie.







  2. Summer Is Here! Banana Date Pops Recipe

    June 29, 2014 by Melanie Faris

    Well, it’s official. The sun is shining (for the most part), and the beautiful weather is here to stay. Summer is here! Yippee!! I have many memories of being a little girl and walking to the nearest convenience store in the summer. I would often walk back home with a Popsicle in hand. I always loved a Banana Popsicle. Looking back now, I wish I realized what I was putting in my body. Just check out the ingredients:

    water, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sugar, contains 1 percent or less of each of the following: banana juice concentrate, guar gum, natural flavor, locust bean gum, phosphoric acid, turmeric oleoresin (for color).

    It kind of makes me giggle that these Banana Popsicles have less than 1 percent banana juice. Maybe they should be called a high fructose corn syrup sugar Popsicle. I don’t think they would sell as many though…?

    Maybe this summer instead of walking to the convenience store, I will just open my freezer and enjoy my own delicious creation. I certainly want to enjoy a summer treat (or two) every once in a while, especially on those hot sunny days – like today!

    So here it is, just in time for summer – a creamy frozen treat that I will be sure to enjoy all summer long!

    banana date pops

    Printable recipe for Banana Date Pops

    Banana Date Pops Recipe



    2 cups of filtered water (plus extra for soaking cashews)

    ½ cup raw cashews, soaked

    2 ripe bananas

    8 medjool dates, pitted

    1 tsp vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla bean)


    Cover and soak the raw cashews in filtered water for 2-4 hours. Once softened, drain and rinse the cashews. Add them to the blender with 2 cups of water and blend until smooth. You can also use almond milk in replace of the cashew milk, but it won’t be as creamy.

    Pour hot water over the dates to let them soften before using. Let them sit for a few minutes. If the dates have pits, be sure to remove them.

    Add all of the ingredients into a high-speed blender. Blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into Popsicle containers and let them sit in the freezer overnight, or until they are fully frozen. If you can’t fit all of the mixture in your Popsicle containers, just drink it like a smoothie. You wont be sorry.

    *Tip – If the Popsicle wont come out when it is frozen, pour hot water over the outside of the container to help them slide out easier.



  3. Get Your Summer Bod with Circuit Training

    May 13, 2014 by Melanie Faris

    Back August 18, 2011

    This was me back in the summer of 2011. I was at my lowest weight of 108 lbs. My life was consumed by fitness & clean eating. I went to the gym 5-6 days a week, and at home I would do crunches, lunges and push-ups at any given opportunity. Looking back now, I see that my focus and dedication was to the extreme. It was all I thought about. When I wasn’t at the gym, I was batch cooking my meals and reading about fitness models like it was my job. I just loved it.

    As I got a bit older, my priorities changed and I began to see other things as more important to me than the number on the scale and the grams of protein on my plate. I wanted to enjoy simple things like fruit without feeling guilty. YES, I hardly ate fruit (which sounds crazy to me now). I now enjoy having more than egg whites for breakfast or chicken and fish for lunch and dinner. I no longer keep track of my meals on a diet tracker or stock my fridge with low-fat dairy. My whole perspective on health has changed since then.

    When I look back at the “fitter me”, I see an 18 year old girl with passion, focus and determination. It took this experience for me the realize that this is not something I want to do forever. It’s just not realistic or worth it to me now, not to mention, it’s not worth sacrificing my health.

    It was healthy for me at the time, but not healthy for me now.

    Let me explain…

    Our life journey brings different phases of health. You become healthier when you stop drinking pop and opt for juice instead. In another month, you may stop drinking juice and only drink water to be even healthier. That is the story of my life. I am constantly learning about health and changing my lifestyle. Each decision and step forward that you take is making you healthier, (or hopefully it is at least).

    No one has reached the finish line of the health race. We are all learning what health means every day.

    Although I don’t see my “egg white” clean eating lifestyle as healthy now, it certainly was a big step ahead from the lifestyle I was living before. I can vividly remember walking to Sobeys every week for lunch in high school. I would eat a Chicken Caesar wrap with extra Caesar dressing squeezed inside. Boy did it taste good, but boy was my body suffering. I also loved Subway sandwiches (pizza sub was my fave), driving to Wendy’s and drinking big milkshakes from the convenience store. I sometimes ordered whole grain bread – I was very health-conscious. Not. Clearly I have come a long way since then. Even though egg whites aren’t my breakfast of choice now, I can see that I was in a transition phase and doing what I thought was best at the time. I was learning, growing, and becoming healthier.

    I certainly don’t plan on eating the same way I did before, and I really have no interest in measuring everything I eat.  I would love to have my summer 2011 body again, but I will not go to the same extremes as before to get it back. I would rather go out for breakfast with my husband and enjoy whole eggs with a slice or two of rye bread without thinking of how to get rid of it at the gym while I’m eating it. I am going to take a different approach this time – unlimited fruits, more plant based proteins and no dairy. I am still not eating much meat, so I am curious to see how my body responds to weight lifting without as much animal protein. Mind you – plant-based protein is actually easier for your body to use anyway! I should have no problem toning up for the summer.

    Diet aside, a great way to make the most of your time at the gym is to add some circuit training to your routine. Weight lifting is the best thing to do if you want to tone up for your summer bikini. For those of us who really don’t want to be at the gym every day for over an hour every time, full body circuits are perfect! A full body circuit will hit every muscle group in a shorter period of time. You can add some cardio at the end of your workout if you want, but I often feel that circuit training is enough, especially if you put 100% into it.

    Check out my full-body circuit below. Print it off and bring it with you to your next workout. If you aren’t sure of an exercise, be sure the look at the helpful links below before you attempt it. It is really important to make sure you have proper form and feel confident doing each exercise!

    Click the Links below for the FREE circuit (gym & home version):

    Circuit Training Workout – Gym Version

    Circuit Training Workout – At Home Version


    Helpful Links:

    Walking Lunges:


    Bench Dips:

    Lat Pulldown:

    Dumbbell Row:

    Shoulder Press:

    Push Ups:



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