5 Tips to Make Your Diet a Success #PoloWeightLoss

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Dieting can be super tough. Two weeks ago, I embarked on my “self-care” journey and teamed up with Dr. Allana Polo to help me lose weight on the HCG diet. The diet itself is very simple and very restrictive, but thanks to the HCG hormone that’s taken daily, I am not hungry. I eat my meals throughout the day, starting with a small snack mid-morning, and as long as I’m eating every few hours, I’m never hungry. Keep in mind, our calories are restricted to 500 calories per day! Shocking right?

How does it work? The HCG hormone is what they call the ‘pregnancy hormone’, and it causes your body to eat away at the fat stores on your body, so although I’m only ingesting 500 calories per day, my body is actively eating away at the fat on my body, up to an extra 4,000 calories daily. Insane, right?

I’m currently on day 17 of the diet, and am really pleased with my results so far. But what’s really put my head in a spin is how connected my emotional wellbeing is to food. When I’m feeling amazing, I don’t have cravings, I’m excited and full of energy. But if something doesn’t go right, or I have a really horrible, no good day, I immediately turn to food for comfort.

I’ve been practicing trying to allow myself to just sit there and feel these emotions. Allow myself to feel bad or sad, or upset with myself, instead of just turning to some type of sugary goodness to shove in my mouth and make me feel better. This diet has turned into a huge learning experience for me, about myself, and what I’m capable of.

Here are my five tips to making your diet a success:

// Tell Your Family + Friends

Let’s face it, you need to tell the most important people in your life about your plans. Why? Isn’t talking about dieting boring as hell? Of course it is! However having your mom shove cake in your face or having your friend guilt you into happy hour can doom your diet! Tell your friends about your planned life changes, and make hangouts more fun by not basing activities around food or alcohol! Instead, take a bike ride, go for a walk or a hike, or have some herbal tea and a chat. Your family and friends should understand your reasonings behind the diet, and if not, tell them why it’s important to you. Family and friends should have your back during this time, not try to steer you wrong! 

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Weekend in Photos no. 01

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Last week I got a pretty sweet little camera, an Olympus OM-D E-M10, a mirror-less camera that’s smaller than a DSLR but still allows you to change the lenses. It’s perfect for a beginner like me who gets very overwhelmed with all the knowledge that a DSLR entails – especially since I don’t really have the time to learn!

This past weekend I finally got a chance to play with it a little bit. Sunday morning we marvelled at the fog that shrouded the ocean and our little town. I dropped my big girl off at ski club, then hit up a kid’s birthday party with my little guy, who had a great time. I stopped to take a picture of a small waterfall in town, and the sunset, although overcast, begged to be photographed.

The weekend flew by in a flurry of activity. It seems that as time goes on this year, we are getting busier and busier – with work and activities for the kids, life is non-stop! And I kind of like it that way! How was your weekend?

Tips for a Healthier New You!

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My theme for 2015 is self-care. It took some soul-searching to really see what would benefit me the most and what I was really lacking in my life, and it seems that somewhere along the way I’ve forgotten to take care of myself. I run businesses, a manage a household, take care of my family, I blog when I can – so what about little old moi? When is there time to make sure I’m healthy, happy, and that all my needs are being taken care of?

I’ve been trying to read more, and I’ve started a weight-loss program and have lost ten pounds so far – which I am ecstatic about! The changes I’ve made in my diet has made me reassess what my family is eating as well. It’s hard to look at the life you’ve made and point out your mistakes – but mostly these mistakes are easy to fix!

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January comes and we’re all ready to make HUGE changes – we’re motivated and ready to go. But that quickly wanes and we’re left with regrets and disappointment. Making LITTLE changes along the way may not provide crazy results at first, but taking it one step at a time with minor adjustments will help you achieve your goals in the long run. 

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Modern Amsterdam-Inspired Furniture for Hip Kids

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I have long lusted over the beautiful canal-inspired Amsterdam collection from Kast van een Huis. Based on the 17th-century architecture of classic canal houses found in Amsterdam, these cabinets are a modern and stylish way to add storage and charm to a child’s bedroom.

Imagine how much fun it would be to play in these closets? The cabinets are made-to-order, and can be customized to include shelving, file storage, and closet rods in one of ten colours to choose from. I have always envisioned my son’s bedroom with a couple of these houses, but alas I fear they are a bit out of my price range (I can always dream!).

Now they have added a darling Amsterdam-inspired bed, in both toddler and standard twin sizing, and a computer cabinet to their furniture offerings, and I’m officially in love.  How much do you love these gorgeous closets?

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For The Love of Coffee Giveaway

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Black.

That’s how I take my coffee, just in case you were wondering.

I prefer a dark and smoky French Roast, but I also love a double-shot espresso, or an Americano. I like my coffee strong, but not too hot. I’m a wimp when it comes to drinks that are too hot! Take notes – this will come in handy on our upcoming coffee date!

But aren’t I on a diet, you might say? Ah, oui! However, a black coffee or tea is always allowed in moderation, ensuring I drink enough water to stay hydrated, as well. Thank goodness, since coffee is just one of those things I can’t live without! Check out this cute wallpaper I found online, created by Vanessa Heim! It’s currently my desktop wallpaper, too!

I’m excited to share this $30 Starbucks Giveaway with you! It’s part of the Welcome Winter Giveaway Hop and is open from January 16th – 30th! Enter the giveaway below! 

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2015 is My Year of Self-Care #poloweightloss

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I haven’t taken care of myself in a long, long time. That’s not to say that I don’t allow myself to indulge in a fancy macaron or that I don’t do my hair or my nails – no, it’s that I haven’t truly cared for my health and, in turn, my self. I’ve learnt the hard way the term “self-love” is not the same as “self-care”, and telling yourself that you’re beautiful the way you are doesn’t necessarily help when the way you are is overweight and unhealthy.

I’ve been living in denial, to put it bluntly. My house of cards has just blown over and I’m left with the ruins of my health. I didn’t need to hear that I was beautiful the way I was, I didn’t need to hear that my self-worth isn’t dictated by a number on a scale – I know all of this. It’s just hard to accept the truth about my weight when the lies were exactly what I wanted to hear.

I wanted to think I was healthy by adding an avocado to a taco, which was accompanied by beer and chips. I wanted to think I was being sassy by getting rid of my scale and not living life according to how much I weigh. I was kidding myself. I was lying to myself. Self-love and acceptance wasn’t helping me lose weight or get healthy.

I needed perspective. I needed to confront the reality of my bulging situation – clothes that haven’t fit in a long, long time, a body that feels more mushy than muscle, a tired, stressed out mind of a women, who would rather trick herself with indulgences like dinners out and craft beer tastings than exercise and food diaries.

A large part of this, I see now, is that I still have such a hard time with really putting myself first and taking care of myself and my health. I sometimes feel like I’m pushing my family aside if I focus on myself. That they will somehow be wronged and feel upset because I’m taking care of myself first. Even writing this, I’m not fully convinced that putting myself first is the right thing to do. But I know that it’s something I have to, for my health and for my happiness.

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Favourite Luxury Finds from Frette

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January has traditionally been known as the best time to purchase bed linens and towels and, since 1860, the Italian brand Frette has been providing luxurious bed linens, bath towels, home accessories, and loungewear. Frette linens can be found in the finest hotels worldwide, and their linens were also used on the Titanic and the Orient Express – that’s some history for you!

I’ve long lusted over the beautiful bedding from Frette. There’s nothing like getting into a freshly made bed, with soft, crisp linens and buttery blankets. Quality always trumps quantity for me, and I’d rather invest my hard-earned money into something that will last and is truly beautiful.

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Not only does Frette make the finest linens in the world, they provide cashmere blankets, cozy bathrobes, deliciously scented candles, and even gifts for baby in their lovely shops and on their website. I love a good sale, especially when it’s on quality items, so I’ve chosen some of my favourite items from Frette.com to share with you. They’re not all on sale, but they’re so beautiful I couldn’t resist sharing these finds with you!

A well-made bed is created with layers of fine linen, plump pillows, airy duvets, and topped with soft blankets and a few well chosen throw pillows. A decorative pillow in a bright colour or pattern can bring interest and whimsy to your bedding. My favourites are this beautiful peacock-coloured pillow (sold out; similar here), the ornamental tile embroidered pillow is simply lovely, and the geometric-patterned cushion is a modern choice in a gorgeous colour. Bonus – they’re all on sale!

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I am in love with the ornate motifs on the Parisienne Throw & Pillow, it looks so cozy and chic! The heavy wool Chevron blanket would fit perfectly in my home, which is very monotone and grey-on-grey, but I can’t help lusting over this delicious Bliss Throw in Aqua, which is made of the finest cashmere. The colour is divine, n’est pas? The mid-weight Minimal Throw has a subtle design and is perfect for cozy nights around the fire with a glass of wine.

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A Collection of Memoirs & $100 Kobo Giveaway #ReadMore

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January is always a month full of deep resolve. It’s a time where we choose to reflect on our past and resolve to change our future for the better – whether it be to be healthier in our eating habits, or to meditate for a peaceful mind, or to learn a new craft – it’s a time where we all feel like this is possible. It’s an amazing feeling, isn’t it? To have the confidence to try something different and new, and actually follow through with it?

This year, I’ve made a few resolutions, one of them being to read more. This is also combined with spending more time on myself – something I seem to have forgotten how to do in the past few years. Being an awesome mom, an amazing wife, a great chef, a self-employed entrepreneur, a blogger, a design guru – it takes up so much of my time that there’s often very little left for me. This past year I’ve realized that I’ve lost interest in so many things because of time, and this year, I’m changing that.

I struggle with the saying that I’m “putting myself first”, because as a mom and wife and business owner, I can’t honestly say that. However, I definitely won’t be putting myself last anymore – and with that comes nights out just for fun, a bottle of champagne to celebrate the little things in life, and reading for pleasure.

As busy as I am, reading became a practical habit, where I learned time management skills, how to put a baby to bed, or Adobe Illustrator tutorials. This year I will go back to reading for fun – memoirs a deep favourite of mine, but I’ll also be reading more fiction novels – from easy beach reads to intense and suspenseful stories, I want to read a good book, finish it, and perhaps even discuss it with my peers! (Perhaps I should join a book club?)

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I’m still reading my way through the Top 10 eBooks of 2014, but I’m already creating must-read collections for the upcoming months. One of my favourite things to do on the Kobo app is curate collections of books to read. It’s like putting my books on their own bookshelves according to genre or whim – from travel inspirations to cookbooks!

I created a Collection of Memoirs that I want to share with you – some of these I’ve read, and some are still on my ‘want to read’ list! There are a couple of light-hearted and comedic memoirs, a few stories of falling in love, food, and travel, and a couple of serious tales. I love reading stories from a person’s point of view, I love reading about others’ experiences in different situations and places that they’ve been to.

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Have the Best Dressed Kids on the Block (For Less!) #BDFL2015

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I fully admit that I’m a recovering shopaholic. As a teenager, I worked at the mall and on my days off I would spent my little paycheques on shoes, and clothes, and makeup! As I got older and my paycheques got bigger, my shopping excursions became a thing of legends! Leather bags, designer shoes – I would buy almost anything I desired. Of course, after years of spending excessively, it became time to buckle down and save!

I suppose that’s part of growing up, right? Making budgets and sticking to them? But saving your money and seeing your bank account numbers going up is an awesome feeling – and month after month, we reassess our budget to make sure we’re meeting all of our needs – and with growing kids, that means a ton of clothing and shoe purchases!

That’s why I’m so excited to share the Best Dressed for Less event at the Coquitlam Centre! It starts January 9th – 18th, and is an amazing time to purchase anything you might need! I took advantage of the exciting deals to purchase some adorable kids clothes!

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There’s a ton of chic and fun children’s fashions found at Coquitlam Centre. For under $150, I got three complete outfits for my kids plus more! The Children’s Place has sales up to 75% off, and I scored a couple of rad tees for my kids, plus some essentials, like socks and underwear. H&M also had lots of essentials for sale, like basic tees and undies, and I also scored a pair of dark skinnies for my tween girl for under $10!

Gymboree has awesome sales as well, and I couldn’t resist picking up this on trend plaid button-down for my toddler! A stop at Old Navy was a must, picking up more socks and undershirts, plus these beige skinny jeans for my toddler as well! And what trip at the Coquitlam Centre isn’t complete without heading into Gap Kids? I scored these rocking jeans for my tween for $9.99, and the sweater was 65% off the original price!

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Walking out of the Coquitlam Centre, I felt so lucky to have found so many killer deals that I almost skipped back to my car with the shopping bags swinging in my hands! I promise, I didn’t actually do it, but I wanted to – and you would have, too! My two stylish kids are definitely making the Best Dressed list for LESS!

Follow Margarita’s board BEST DRESSED FOR LESS on Pinterest.

I’ve also made a Pinterest board so you can come shop the Best-Dressed-For-Less SALE with me! Check out the Coquitlam Centre’s website to find out more information on the Best Dressed For Less event, as well as their Facebook and Twitter pages, and click on #BDFL2015 to find other Vancouver-area bloggers who are also shopping for their homes, their families, and themselves!

Disclosure: The amazing people at the Coquitlam Centre provided me with a shopping experience of the Best Dressed for Less sales event for blogging purposes. All opinions posted are completely honest and true!

Life Management Binder

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One of my resolutions for this year is to get organized, and for me that means planning out, scheduling, and balancing my work and household life. I’m self-employed and I work from home for three days a week. But I often find my home chores blending into my work days, and my work life falling into my family life – and it becomes a confusing, busy mess.

When my life becomes hectic, and work blends with blogging and with my home life, my anxiety starts creeping in and I become someone that I don’t want to be. I get short with my kids and my husband, my house isn’t the place where I want to relax and cook for my family, and I become unhappy. everyone

Knowing this, I knew I  needed to make a change this year. Getting organized is HUGE for me, because I’m quite a Type-A personality, when things don’t go according to plan, I also get pissed off at the world around me. This year, scheduling and planning, along with the knowledge that everyone has the same 24 hours in a day and things don’t always go according to plan, but can be adjusted to work just the same – this will all help me get organized and get a better handle on my work/life/family balance.

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To create your own personalized life management binder, first you have to take a look at where you need the most help, or what stresses you out most in your life. For me, it was easy to pinpoint exactly what bothered me. If I didn’t have dinner planned out, it would be a constant nagging in the back of my mind to figure out what to make. If my house was a mess, I had difficulty focusing on working or blogging. My blogging schedule often became hectic based on what was going on in my life as well. And working at home is supposed to be the priority, always, however when my house was a mess and blogging became busy, it was difficult to focus on working.

See the crazy unbalanced cycle I was living in? I had to change something, or I would lose my sanity. After I pinpointed out the problems, I started searching for Household Management Binders and how to schedule blog posts – Pinterest has a large variety of results for both of these. I finally figured out that I just need an “all-in-one” solution.

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I discovered Eliza Ellis’ Home Organizers, which she aptly titled “It’s a Beautiful Life”. These beautiful and free printable come in four different colours, and there are tons and tons of printable to choose from. She has created daily, weekly, and monthly planners, as well as a variety of lists, back to school planners, crafting planners, recipe and food lists, home lists and finance budgets. 

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