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Friendship. Fun. Freedom. These have become the themes of my daily life.

One of the things I love most about this business is the incredible friendships that I have formed over the past 6 months.

Team photo at Shawnigan Lake Retreat

Not only have I gained friends among my colleagues, but I have also gained some amazing friends in my customers, and even those who are just in my network and supporting from the sidelines!

I’m so thankful that this job has pushed me out of my comfort zone to learn to talk to more people without worry about what they might think of me or the company that I work with.

I have grown my confidence to the point that the judgements of others rarely phases me anymore.

Team Leaders

And all of this is thanks to this amazing company, the team that I work with day in and day out, and the incredible leaders that I learn from on a daily basis!

I never imagined that switching from another company to this one would make such an impact. I honestly thought that it would be more of the same. But I could not have been more wrong! I have people by my side every step of the way as I learn more and more each day about how to be successful in this business. The learning never stops!

Afua, Krista and Mariska

I can honestly say that I wake up each morning, excited about the people that I am going to meet and talk to every single day and the fun I am going to have as I get closer and close to my life of financial freedom.

Friendship. Fun. Freedom. These have become the theme of my daily life. And it. is. awesome!

Who, out there, could use some of the same in their life?  Let’s Chat, or join us today!

Live a life you love, my friends! 

I wish I had these for my wedding last year!

 Last year on this day I was one month away from marrying my best friend.

Mariska & Adam - Wedding Day

I worked so hard over the months before to be healthy and fit for my wedding day. I ate healthy, I watched my portions, I worked out everyday so I would fit into my dress and feel fantastic! 

But the last month before the big day was the hardest. The prosecco started flowing as did the tasty foods and treats (ah-hem, cake tasting!!) well before the big day. It was hard to say no!! 

Although I didn’t know about them at the time (because I was not with the company yet), I really REALLY wish I had some tightening and toning body wraps to help me feel more comfortable and to fit better into my dress on my wedding day! 

These wraps are honestly amzing! The first time I tried one, I had my doubts. I thought to myself, “there’s no way these things actually do what they are claiming.” But then I tried one and sure enough: RESULTS!! 

Even Adam said, “I need to try one of those!” Hahaha!!

It Works Wraps - Mariska's ResultsThese wraps are great if you want to tone up for a wedding or special event. They’re perfect if you’re on a weight loss journey or you’ve just had a baby and you have some loose skin that you’d like to tighten up. They’re fantastic if your skin is losing elasticity. And they are awesome if you just want to feel incredible in that bikini on the beach this summer! 

I just got a new shipment of wraps in and I’m willing to give a few up to anyone who wants to try one for $30cad/$25usd each with no further obligation, or you can go all in for a full pack of 4 wraps for $83cad/$59usd!

Are you curious to try one? Contact me for details, or simply order them online

 

I used to dread Mondays…

Mariska on MondaysI used to dread Mondays… 

I used to start thinking about my work week on Sunday afternoons. My entire Monday evenings would be spent stressing out about how much I REALLY did’t want to go into the office the next morning to spend my whole week in a windowless cubicle, in a completely male environment with far too much chauvinistic testosterone flying around. I would become a grumpy, stressy, mess and I probably was not that pleasant to be around…

All I could dream about was how I wanted to, one day, work from home (or from anywhere for that matter), so I could hang out with my dog, Roxie, all day and wouldn’t have to feel guilty about leaving her home alone for nearly 10 hours a day. (Poor beastie!) 

I used to sit in my Vancouver basement suite and dream up ideas on how I would make my income from wherever I wanted, and I even started my own little company at one point, found a few clients, and was slowly working toward being able to leave my cubicle job.

It was HARD!! And eventually I just gave up. 

THEN I saw this girl on Facebook who was doing exactly what I always wanted to do. She had it all! She had the freedom to work from home while raising her baby, and she had the financial freedom to buy her dream home/hobby farm with her earnings! She was doing it!!

So I started to follow her. At first I would silently stalk her posts. Then, as I got to know her online self a bit better, I started to interact with her posts a little bit, and one day I got up the courage to send her a message. 

Let me tell you something: That was the BEST thing I’ve ever done for myself!

This girl inspired me to dream bigger and to believe more in myself and my ability to be, do and have whatever I can dream!

I joined her team and haven’t looked back!

Mondays Look Different Now

I am now living my dream, spending my Mondays and everyday working from home, with my 2 dogs and my husband at my side. I start my days with a workout, make my own hours and can take my work with me wherever I go, so my income isn’t impacted if I want to take a vacation or spend a week at the beach. I no longer need to ask for time off. I no longer work in a windowless cubicle. And I am now surrounded by an incredibly inspiring team of people who motivate me everyday to be a better version of me!

I used to be stuck in a rut of thinking that life had to be about the morning commute and the 9 to 5. I thought that the location independent lifestyle was something only OTHER people could do. I thought I just wasn’t good enough to deserve it for myself.

Boy was I wrong!

All it took was the courage to send one message and it totally changed my life!

What does YOUR Monday look like? And what would you like it to look like? What will it take for you to send that one message that could completely change your life? Are you ready? I’m here for you. 

#thiscouldbeyou #livealifeyoulove 

Income Disclosure 2016

Delicious Slow Cooker Pasta Sauce Recipe

One of my favorite comfort foods is pasta. And although I have a gluten sensitivity, I still love to get my spaghetti or lasagne on every once in a while, but I use a great trick to avoid the gluten as well as the carbohydrates in pasta, and level up on the healthiness factor of this meal.

I kinda made this recipe up as I went, and it turned out pretty darn good, so I thought it was worth sharing. 🙂

Recipe Details

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 8 hours on low in your crock pot
Serving size: 1 – 1.5 cups

If you’re following the 21 Day Fix eating plan, each 1 cup serving equals:

  • 2/3 green
  • 1/3 red

Shopping List / Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef (or ground turkey for a leaner protein)
  • 1 onion – chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic – minced
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper (I also used a piece of orange pepper that I had left over in the fridge)
  • 2 carrots – chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery – chopped
  • A handful of mushrooms – chopped
  • 2 cans tomato paste – try to use one that has the least number of added ingredients.
    • The Italissima brand (in the photo) contains only tomatoes and salt.
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Slow Cooker Pasta Sauce Ingredients
Directions

  1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium/high heat. Add ground beef (or turkey). Cook until the meat is browned (4-5 minutes), making sure to crumble the meat as it cooks. Drain excess fat and transfer to slow cooker.* This process helps melt off excess fat and water from the meat, which helps make it healthier before transferring it to the slow cooker.
  2. Get rid of the excess fat and add remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil to the skillet. Add vegetables to the skillet and cook until the onions are soft (about 3 minutes). This process helps release the flavours from the veggies before adding them to the slow cooker. Transfer to slow cooker.
  3. Add tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and herbs and seasoning to the slow cooker and mix well.pasta-sauce-ingredients-in-slow-cooker
  4. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook for 8 hours on LOW.
  5. Stir well and serve with your choice of pasta or zoodles.

Enjoy!

Pasta Sauce on Zoodles

Pasta Sauce on Zoodles (zucchini noodles)

Recipe: Crockpot Cilantro Lime Chicken

I’m always on the lookout for easy, healthy and delicious meals to add to my rotation and in the winter months that often involves my crockpot!

This was my first try with this cilantro chicken recipe, and it turned out awesome!

Cilantro Lime Chicken with Corn and Black Beans - Cooked!

Recipe Details:

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Crockpot Cooking Time: 6-8 hours on Low OR 5-6 hours on High
Serving Size: 1 cup
Serves 6-8

Cilantro Lime Chicken with Corn and Black Beans - Ingredients

Shopping List / Ingredients: 

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken, thighs or breast
    (I find that chicken thighs don’t dry out as much as the breast in the slow cooker)
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1, 15-ounce can black beans
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • Juice from 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Siracha sauce (optional, if you like it spicy)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

Directions: 

To eat it today: Combine all ingredients except cilantro in the slow cooker and cook it on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 5-6 hours.

To prepare for the freezer:  Chop up all the ingredients (except cilantro) and place them into a ziploc bag and freeze it for an easy meal option at a later date.

When you’re ready to cook it, take it out of the freezer, run warm water over the bag to separate it from the frozen food, and place frozen ingredients in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 5-6 hours.

Cilantro Lime Chicken with Corn and Black Beans

How to Serve Cilantro Lime Chicken:  

Stir in 2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro before serving.

Add to tacos, burritos, taco salad, nachos, or make burrito bowls with it. Or just add it to your meals as a side dish. It’s very flexible.

In the photo below I’ve made huevos rancheros with my crockpot cilantro lime chicken for breakfast – DELICIOUS!

Cilantro Lime Chicken with Corn and Black Beans - Huevos Rancheros

Do you have a crockpot recipe to share? Post it in the comments below!

Recipe: Apple Butternut Squash Soup

I’m a HUGE soup lover, so I thought I would give this delicious looking apple butternut squash soup a try with the surplus of apples I picked from my parents’ trees. I had a fairly small butternut squash to work with, so I cut the recipe in half – an average squash should be fine with the full ingredient amounts.

Apple Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

Apple Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

Total Time: 1 hr.
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 50 min.
Equipment: Blender, large saucepan
Yield: 8 servings

Shopping List:

  • 4 lbs. butternut squash
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 5 medium apples, peeled and chopped
    (Tip: Use the apples of your choice, a more sour apple will help reduce sweetness of the soup.)
  • 4 cups low-sodium organic chicken broth
  • 1 thin slice fresh ginger, peeled, finely chopped
    (Tip: I keep my ginger in the freezer, it helps it last longer and makes it super easy to cut into very thin slices.)
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup nonfat milk
    (Tip: if you have lactose intolerance, use almond milk instead.)
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. ground white pepper
  • Optional: Cilantro to garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds.
    Apple Butternut Squash Soup Recipe - Squash cut in half
  3. Cover squash halves with foil and place them on a baking pan cut sides up. Bake until tender (about 45-50 minutes). Set aside.
    Apple Butternut Squash Soup Recipe - foiled butternut squash
  4. While your squash is in the oven, add oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  5. Add chopped onion; cook, stirring frequently until tender (maybe 3-4 minutes).
  6. Add apples, broth, ginger, and nutmeg and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally until apples are tender (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat.
  7. Pour the apple mixture into the blender (in batches, if necessary). Blend until smooth. Return apple mixture to saucepan.
    Apple Butternut Squash Soup Recipe - Blended apple mixture
  8. Take the squash out of the oven and scoop the flesh out into the blender, add milk (or almond milk in my case) and blend until smooth.
    Apple Butternut Squash Soup Recipe - baked squashApple Butternut Squash Soup Recipe - Blended squash
  9. Add blended squash to the apple mixture in the saucepan and add salt, and pepper. Bring to a gentle boil over low heat, stirring frequently.
  10. Remove from heat and serve. Garnish with fresh apple chunks and cilantro.

Apple Butternut Squash Soup

If you liked this apple butternut squash soup recipe, share the love with a pin, a like, a pic or a comment below!

Recipe: The Best Healthy Apple Crisp

I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical about this apple crisp recipe when I first read about it – mostly because there is no butter or no sugar in it. But I thought, “Hey! I have a TON of apples from my parents trees, so I may as well give it a shot.” Well let me tell you, I am pleasantly surprised by what I pulled out of the oven last night! So here, as promised, is the recipe. (Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for a bonus Shakeology recipe.)

Apple Crisp - 21 Day Fix Approved

Apple Crisp (21 Day Fix Approved)

Recipe Details:

Prep Time: 28 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes (approx.)
Serving Size: 1 cup

Shopping List: 

  • Your favourite apples (enough to make 4 cups, peeled and sliced)
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 finely chopped (or crushed up) pecans and/or walnuts

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375F.
  2. Peel and slice up 4 cups of apples.
    (I had a leftover peach that needed to be used up, so those are the orange bits you see in the photo below.)
  3. In a medium baking dish; combine the apples with 2 tbsp maple syrup and 1/2 tsp cinnamon and mix well.
    Apple Crisp Recipe - 21 Day Fix Approved
  4. In a bowl, combine oats, nuts, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and mix well.Apple Crisp Recipe - 21 Day Fix Approved
  5. Top the apple mixture with the oat mixture in the baking dish.
    Apple Crisp Recipe - 21 Day Fix Approved
  6. Bake 25-30 minutes or until the apples are soft.
  7. Clean up. There’s not a whole lot of mess…

Cleanup from apple crisp recipe

Enjoy your fresh, delicious, 21 Day Fix approved apple crisp with a cup of tea or coffee! (In the photo: Earl Grey de la Creme black tea from Steeped Tea With Jenn)

Apple Crisp with Earl Grey del la Creme Tea

Bonus Vanilla Shake Recipe

Apple Pie Shakeology RecipeThis morning, as I was making my fiancé’s vanilla shake, I wondered how good it might be with some of the apple crisp blended into it.

Um, Hello Apple Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream!

Apple Pie Shakeology Recipe:

Blend together:

  • 1/2 cup apple crisp
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 scoop Vanilla Shake Powder
  • 1 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
  • Ice (optional)

Did you like this recipe? Share the love with a pin, a like, a pic or a comment below!

This Opportunity Could Make Your Dreams Come True!

If you’ve been following my blog and social media for a while, you know that financial freedom, time freedom and location independence have always been important to me. These are things that I have dreamed about for quite a while.

For years I have been working a day job, and taking on side projects with hopes that “one day” the side jobs would out-weigh the daily grind. But, due to the time commitment of the day job, that dream always stayed a dream. I never found the right formula and support system to make it happen.

Are You a Dreamer?

Are You a Dreamer?

Are you a daydreamer? Do you ever sit at your desk job, thinking about the other things you could be doing? Thinking where you might be if you were location independent with financial freedom? What you would be doing? Who you would be doing it with? Which passion projects you would be working on?

  • Close your eyes.
  • Take a deep breath.
  • Think about what that day dream looks like.
  • Visualize it.
  • Got it?
  • Write it down.
  • Read it to yourself everyday.

What would you say if I told you that you could HAVE that dream?

What would you do if you had the tools and the means to get there?

Would you give it a shot?

What if I told you your dream could be a reality?

Becoming my own boss has given me the freedom to work on my own terms, set my own hours and do something I’m passionate about, all from any location I choose! Whether I’m  at home, at the beach in Parksville with my family, skiing in Whistler, or somewhere more exotic like Europe or Costa Rica, as long as I have an internet connection I can get my work done! My online business has taken my dreams out of my head and into my life!

If this inspires you and you’re ready to take your dreams into your own hands, try something new, be a part of a supportive community of like-minded entrepreneurs, and dream a little bigger, drop me a Facebook message, comment below or shoot me an email for more info.

A “Freedomist” Is Born!

[This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 10]

Wow! That 10 days just FLEW by! Today is the last post in my 10 Day Blog Challenge with Natalie Sisson. And as this blog post says, I am now a “Certified Freedomist!”

What is a Freedomist, you might ask…?

A Freedomist has:

  • Identified their focus
  • Has explored and understands why they do what they do
  • Has created an image of and takes the opportunity to LIVE their perfect day
  • Knows which superpowers will help they achieve their dreams
  • Understands what success looks like and how to create it for themselves
  • Follows the advice of mentors – whether these are in person or via online advisers
  • Understands where their momentum originates from and creates a schedule to maintain it
  • Designs their life to include opportunities for adventure
  • Lives a life of Work/Freedom Balance that leads to their ultimate success

A "Freedomist" Is Born

  • You see, a Freedomist has created an image of their dreams in their mind.
  • A Freedomist has created a vision board to remind them of their dream in moments when it seems unattainable.
  • A Freedomist has set goals for themselves that seem out of reach, but they understand any dream they come up with is a goal to work toward.
  • A Freedomist understand that if they can think of the idea, and believe in the idea, they can ACHIEVE the idea.

Thanks to Natalie Sisson’s 10 Day Blog Challenge, I have explored all of these areas and she has helped me get clearer on many of them. Some will always be a work in progress, but the dream is there and I truly believe that it is completely attainable!

The exercise I found the most helpful and the most fun int he past 10 days was the post we wrote about Mentorship.

Mentorship #10dbc

I honestly believe that every human being has the ability to help another. You have the power to lift up every person you meet any day of the week. Whether this is through a compliment, holding the door for them, or giving them advice on a life situation.

Knowing that I have soooo much to learn in the world of online business, it was so much fun for me to think about who I would love to have the opportunity to meet and what I would ask them from a mentorship point of view. Not only did this exercise identify questions I would have for my dream mentors, it also brought up questions that I should be exploring more for myself.

As much as I would LOVE to meet and pick the brains of my dream mentors, there is so much more self exploration for me to tackle, and this exercise helped me identify even more questions to answer for myself.

Thank you Natalie, for an amazing 10 days of self-exploration! It’s been a wonderful way for me to dive back into regular blogging and I’m excited to keep this momentum rolling in the days and weeks to come!

What’s This 10 Day Blog Challenge?

This round of the blog challenge has ended, but don’t fret! The posts are still available and there is always the Freedom Plan to take you even farther down the rabbit hole of self discovery and goal crushing!

Join Natalie Sisson's 10 Day Blog ChallengeJoin the Freedom Plan with Natalie Sisson

The Work/Freedom Balance of Location Independence

[This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 9]

My first location independence experience was in Bali. My aunt has a home in North Bali, so I decided to spend a month there to take a break from the riffraff of home with a working holiday.  The key to getting the work done, as well as experiencing the freedom I so craved, was balancing the two.

The Work/Freedom Balance of Location Independence

I found that maintaining some form of schedule was imperative to making the work/freedom lifestyle balance work. I would build my work schedule around the things I wanted to see, explore and do in Bali. Having changed my personal lifestyle somewhat (I’m much more active than I used to be), I imagine an average day looking something like this:

A Day of Freedom:

Wake up early (around 6am, thanks to the local roosters) and start the day with a 30-minute workout beside the pool, followed by a dip. My tea and breakfast is ready when I finish swimming and I check and respond to email while I eat.

Today, the plan is to visit Air Panas in the late morning. We will leave at 11am. So,I get some work done, edit yesterday’s photos and upload them to Flickr while I schedule my social media posts for the day, bearing my home time zone in mind to ensure maximum engagement opportunities.

Air Panas hot springs in Bali, Indonedia

Air Panas hot springs in Bali, Indonedia

I spend the morning working on my business and then head out for the afternoon to explore and photograph the hot springs – both with my DSLR and my iPhone for easy social media posting later.

On the way back from the hot springs, we make an unexpected stop at one of the only Buddhist temples on the island of Bali. It’s so peaceful here, I could meditate here for hours.

Buddhist Temple in Banjar, Bali

When we get back to the villa, it is nearly dinner time. I try to spend so time in the kitchen a couple of times a week, learning about Balinese/Indonesian cooking. (Learning local cooking is something I always like to do when traveling in new places.)

After dinner I watch the sunset from the upper deck of the villa, as I check in on my social media, respond to engagement, post images and updates from the day and spend a couple of hours working, as my home time zone is just waking up.

Villa Kembang Kertas Bali - Sunset View from upper deck View from upper deck.

An Average Day of the Freedom Lifestyle

A basic  schedule for my location independed freedom lifestyle includes:

  • Waking up early
  • Getting my workout in, first thing
  • Eating a healthy, balanced breakfast
  • Spend 2-3 hours working
  • Spend the afternoon exploring/enjoying my current location
  • Eat a healthy dinner
  • Spend another 2-3 hours working
  • Head to bed

Depending on my location, this schedule may be changed up, depending on what is planned for the day or what opportunity is presented. However, the idea is to spend a minimum of 4 hours working each day.

The 10 Day Blog Challenge is Still Open!

Join the 10 Day Blog Challenge to explore your own freedom in business, there’s still time! You can join right up until the last day of the challenge (Sept. 20)! *Click* the image below to join!

Join Natalie Sisson's 10 Day Blog Challenge