weight training and mindful eating

It’s a constant journey – this whole concept of living and not doing things to excess, finding balance…etc etc.


Accountability, having someone guide you, finding experts who remind you of all the things you probably have already read/heard/seen but let slide,  are all factors in trying to be healthier.

Tendonitis hit me last fall and I’ve been seeking out different ways to inexpensively deal with it. Physiotherapy is not inexpensive, but sometimes you have to get that little bit of extra advice and manipulation to get you on track. Also, hearing how it’s going to take a long time to heal – it took a long time of doing things badly to cause it – means that I know I will have to keep working at it/ resting it when I can.

As I approach bridal season – it actually really kick started this past week – I know I’ll really have to pay attention and take the time to do the strength training for my back < here’s the concept – using the arm muscles more than the back to do things seems to have contributed to the problem, so increasing my back strength and “putting my back into it”  will help take the pressure off my arm and elbow>.

This morning I had my once/month training session at Free Form Fitness and we went full body workout. Everything was put through its paces.

My hamstrings are already talking to me as I have begun cycling 2Xweek, about 50 minutes out and 50 minutes home at the end of the day.  On the alternate days, I’m trying to leave early enough to get off the bus at Billing Bridge and walk the 30 minutes to the studio. And at least 15 minutes of walking past the end of the day before I hop onto the bus.

Mindful eating is the real challenge for me. I don’t mind eating stuff that’s notoriously bad for me, I don’t mind at all.  Alas < yes, alas>, it makes a difference in how I feel, the numbers I’m tracking < a bit of scale and a bit of measuring tape, but not being too tough on myself about it>.

While I have lost about 5 pounds since January, it’s very slow. I had a back injury, the elbow thing, still on my journey with anxiety and lots of factors are making ti seem like I’m not making any progress at all. And it can be easy to slip into that space of “what’s the point”, when it seems like the efforts are wasted.

<sigh> ….

Apparently, the possibility of age being a factor is coming into play as I approach “middle age” as well – whatever! Actually, if my grandmother lived to 96… oh, yeah, ok it’s looming. But what thought process – if you think about how the first “half” of your life involved learning to talk/walk/think/develop skills etc. and you potentially have that same amount of time to continue to learn and grow…oh.. too much thinking for a Monday.

Well.. this was more a ramble than a journey into deep insight, but that’s ok too. I’ll continue to dance with amazing friends, explore finding balance in food and activity, and take my #zeropeopledays very seriously as I am much better with others when I take some time to recharge and do other stuff…

here – have a Sprocket pic! and a great week on your own adventures!

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It’s Souk Day

Up early to finish organizing my items for my booth/table at the Ottawa Souk.

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It’s wonderful to see new co-ordinators taking on the adventure and making it their own!

Congrats in advance to Jehane and Lisa-Marie for their energy and hard work in co-ordinating today’s event!

Details are here.
And I am looking forward to only having my booth, workshop and performance with Bollywood For Fun to concern myself with today!

TAV Creations-OttawaSoukWorkshop

I attended a Walrus Talk this past week and one of the speakers, Zahra Ebrahim, talked about finding others who can do what we do, so that we are redundant but not obsolete. And I connected with that so completely.

Having retired from organizing the Ottawa Dancers’ Bazaar after my last one in October of 2013, and seeing others pick up the torch and give it a go, was my first step in opening myself up to other opportunities. This year, I stepped back from co-ordinating a June OCCP < Ottawa Community Class Party> and two lovely ladies, Mia and Daniya, immediately stepped up and are hosting their own event, and inviting those performers who would have been at the OCCP to join them at their Shimmy into Summer showcase.

And I am still busy. #bridalseason #bollywooddance #havingalife

Letting others have the chance to show off their skills and bring new ideas and fresh approaches to the community is a blessing and rejuvenation for us all.

At this point, I have been casually asked if/when I will give up the Dancers’ Newsletter… And it’s a question worth considering. I spend more time of late encouraging people to consistently submit their information, but often to “crickets” so, sadly, not everything gets included.

I do not pick and choose what events I’ll list – I leave that in the hands of the promoters and organizers to send me their information. But people are busy and I totally understand that.

For now, I’ll continue to offer this community service to share what information I am sent, but is everyone already seeing this information on Facebook anyway?

Do you get the Dancers’ News? Do you use the online page rather than receive the email version?  Do you even remember that it exists?

Does it help you to see the events in a list format where you can scroll through?  Or do you use Facebook to keep track of the events you plan to attend?

What about classes? Do you go online to Ottawa.ca to find the classes you want to attend, or check the school board sites directly?  Or does your teacher email you directly every session to remind you to sign up?

I’d love some comments and feedback or you can email me directly if you have thoughts but don’t want to share them publicly. Halyma@bellydancingforfun.com or leave a comment below.

And come say hi if you are at the Souk today!



Non mutant Black Forest cupcakes

I  did start with a simple chocolate cake mix, cherry pie filling and premade vanilla icing. Sometimes it’s just gotta be that way.

Once the cupcakes were baked and cooled, I cut the little funnel shapes to give room for the cherry pie filling.

Then I dug out the one icing tip I have and taped it securely into the bottom cut corner of a large ziplock bag. ( I know/ so not eco friendly today, but I’m using a car sharing service to drive later today, so that’s something, right?)

I blobbed the cherries into the divets and then piped the icing around. And now they sit in the fridge chillin’ until it’s party time later today.

Here’s what I did with the removed cake:



And if you are wondering why “Non-Mutant” BFcakes – see the mutant ones here…it’s all about your audience!

The “butterbeer” recipe…

So…yeah…it’s pink, not caramel coloured…


I walk through the LCBO and see Dr. McGillicuddy’s Intense Butterscotch and have to find some way to get  creative with it.  And with searching, “butterbeer” comes up..click through for the original link I used to get a concept of how butterbeer is meant to taste….

Then I did what I always do, and got creative with it.

Canadian ButterBrr < yes brr> Concept Drink:

In a pitcher, mix:

1 litre cream soda < yes – that’s why it’s pink>

1 litre club soda

15 ml vanilla

about 125 ml each – or to taste:

  • Dr. MCGillicuddy’s Intense Butterscotch < see link above>
  • Vodka – your choice
  • Sortilege – Maple flavoured whiskey – Thus the Canadian touch!

Give it all a stir and pour some out into glasses.

At this point, it’s good to taste it to make sure it’s on track, and you can adjust your quantities now if you want it sweeter or less sweet…

Whip up a small amount of 35% whipping cream < about 60 ml worked for us>, adding just a little bit more butterscotch < 10-15 ml> into it.

Gently glob it < yes, glob it>, onto the liquid in each glass and some will float down and the rest will create the beer like head.

Now. Enjoy.

Feeling the energy return with the spring!

Went out last night to the Aziza & Aida Hafla organized by Jehane of Duniya Studios and had a lovely time.  It was great to reconnect with the community and get that little boost of #SparkleEnergy that comes from seeing wonderful dancers expressing themselves!

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Thanks to Eurika, for the little boost of, of course I’ll drive, as not having a car also adds a factor to what events I participate in.  Still ok with not having a car, Ottawa’s bus system is reasonable, but there are moments when it tilts me into the, I’m going to stay in tonight, mode. And while that has been something I have needed to do for myself, it’s time to peak my head out of my burrow as it were.

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WARNING !! PROMO-MOMENT:  I get a free session if you sign up for their into sessions – $86 plus HST for 8 sessions – click the photo for the website. And tell them my name if you give it a try!!!

This winter I’ve been taking time to take care of myself, including adding strength  training to my system of life. The personal training is not inexpensive, but I’ve found the level that I can afford and while it means really trying to maintain some serious accountability at home, I’m getting there.  I’m trying to adjust my eating habits too and have received some interesting advice from my trainer and the Free Form Fitness website.

Obviously, anything that gets us moving, in a way that we continue to do it, is great. I like the complementary aspect of the weight training to the dancing I am still doing, now to start working on cardio a bit more – the bane of my existence… But last week I also started walking a bit more after work, rather than catching the bus right away, so I hope to do that when I can…

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Along the Riverside bridge overlooking the tracks.


So, I’m looking forward to the many upcoming events with both Bollywood For Fun and Ottawa’s belly dance community! 2016 started out a bit tough, and I’m taking it one day at a time, but I’m so very blessed!

The morning after…#snowmageddon2016

Well, that’s dramatic isn’t it.

February 16, 2016 gave Ottawa a record snowfall:


The Citizen

The Globe and Mail

And my window/ street:


Late afternoon Feb 16, 2016


8 am Feb 17, 2016












Last night, when @wtl came home, I knew he would be grabbing the shovel and heading out to do some community shovelling #ottawashovel. So I grabbed the second shovel, and helped a bit too.

I had already called a ” Snow Day” for our dance practices, as I strongly believe that if you do not HAVE TO go out, STAY HOME. Let the city do it’s work and don’t be adding to the vehicles on the road.

Emergency service workers, people picking up children from school, people trying to get home from work, you all HAVE to be out, but are more likely to stay off the roads as soon as you can. Otherwise, why would you put yourself and others into a situation that merely contributes to potential accidents and delays for the people trying to clear the roads.



T2 personal sidewalk

I a very grateful that my back has healed enough for me to be a functionally walking and shovelling person again, so that I could help out with some of the neighbours driveways, and on a completely selfish note, I knew I would want to walk this morning, so I made sure to shovel my own sidewalk along our block to King Edward. And I was very glad to have it this morning as Sprocket could walk easily along it, and not be buried with every 3rd step.

Having gone for my coffee walk this morning – it’s gorgeous out, and great for a workout, walking along through the pile of snow- I wanted to make some suggestions and things to consider, based on what I have already seen between 7 and 8 a.m. this morning.

1 – Do you really have to drive today? REALLY?

2 – If you do have to drive today SLOW DOWN PLEASE.

3 – Pedestrians are taken care of LAST, so they are walking ON THE ROAD, because there is NO SIDEWALK for them. SLOW DOWN.

4- Even if there is a side walk, Pedestrians will also likely have to MOUNTAIN CLIMB to cross intersections, OR WALK ON THE ROAD.

5- SIDE STREETS ARE NOT PLOWED – Why are you trying to drive onto one?

6- Consider paying FOR PARKING TODAY if you really have to drive instead of trying to park on side streets.

7 – If you see someone has cleared some snow already- a path, a space for their garbage cans, access for their stroller/car etc., DO NOT PILE SNOW THERE!

These are merely suggestions, and some folks will take offence, and that’s fine.   And many folks will be able to stay off the roads today as they planned in advance as we were provided with advance weather forecasting that told us there “might” be a storm coming through.

Maybe one piece of advice to cover it all:

Be kind today.