Top 10 Best Board Game Gifts

 

Every Friday night, my friends and I play board games.  Yes, this is in fact the cool weekend activity that 20-somethings are now doing.  Each week, someone brings over a new game.  This is wonderful because I’ve gotten to try so many really fun games which I otherwise would never have played.  Like many people, (maybe even you!)  I struggle finding motivation to play new games because of the learning curve, not knowing how to play for the first little while is not always pleasant.  Then finally once you’re a pro at the game, you wonder why you haven’t been playing the game all your life.

Below, I’ve listed my favourite board games of all time.  They range from 2-4 players up to 10 players.  Some of the games are slightly pricy (but are totally worth the money), and others are super inexpensive.

This holiday season, get some nice hot chocolate, or a few drinks together with your friends and try out a new board game.  You can even make a no cellphone rule and actually socialize with one another!

Coup Card Game (The Resistance Universe)

In the not too distant future, the government is run for profit by a new “royal class” of multi-national CEOs. Their greed and absolute control of the economy has reduced all but a privileged few to lives of poverty and desperation. Out of the oppressed masses rose The Resistance, an underground organization focused on overthrowing these powerful rulers. The valiant efforts of The Resistance have created discord, intrigue and weakness in the political courts of the novena royal, bringing the government to brink of collapse. But for you, a powerful government official, this is your opportunity to manipulate, bribe and bluff your way into absolute power.

Exploding Kittens: Original Edition

Exploding Kittens is a card game for people who are into kittens and explosions and laser beams and sometimes goats. In this highly-strategic, kitty-powered version of Russian Roulette, players draw cards until someone draws an Exploding Kitten, at which point they explode, they are dead, and they are out of the game — unless that player has a defuse card, which can defuse the Kitten using things like laser pointers, belly rubs, and catnip sandwiches. All of the other cards in the deck are used to move, mitigate, or avoid the Exploding Kittens. Exploding Kittens is the most-backed crowd funded project ever, the most-funded game in the history of Kickstarter, and has paved the way for peace and tranquility in the modern world.

Code Names: 

Codenames is a social word game with a simple premise and challenging game play. Two rival spymasters know the secret identities of 25 agents. Their teammates know the agents only by their codenames. The teams compete to see who can make contact with all of their agents first. Spymasters give one-word clues that can point to multiple words on the table. Their teammates try to guess words of their color while avoiding those that belong to the opposing team. And everyone wants to avoid the assassin. The game works very well with 4 players if you prefer to guess without help. Or you can add more players if you prefer lively discussion. There is also a cooperative variant where a single team tries to achieve the highest score they can by playing against the game itself.

Blokus Game

Stake your claim and protect your territory with Blokus game! There’s just one rule: each piece you play must touch at least one other piece of the same color, but only at the corners! It takes less than a minute to learn but has depth to challenge your whole family. Each player gets a set of 21 pieces – red, blue, green, or yellow – then takes turns placing them on the board. The goal is to fit the most pieces on the board. The game ends when no one can place any more pieces. Everyone counts the squares in their unplayed pieces and the player with the lowest score wins! Easy to learn and great for families, Blokus is the fast-paced strategy game that delivers One Rule, Endless Possibilities! Ages 7 and older.

Bezier Games One Night Ultimate Werewolf Board Game

One Night Ultimate Werewolf is a fast-paced game where everyone gets to be a different role. In the course of only one night and the following morning, the players will determine who among them is a werewolf…hopefully. One Night Ultimate Werewolf is a micro game of the party game Ultimate Werewolf that doesn’t need a moderator. There’s no elimination and each game lasts about 10 minutes.

 

Telestrations the phone game

 

Draw what you see then guess what you saw for hilarious and unpredictable outcomes. It’s miscommunication at its best!

 

Pandemic! 

 

Four diseases have broken out in the world and it is up to a team of specialists in various fields to find cures for these diseases before mankind is wiped out. Players must work together playing to their characters’ strengths and planning their strategy of eradication before the diseases overwhelm the world with ever-increasing outbreaks. For example the Operation Specialist can build research stations which are needed to find cures for the diseases. The Scientist needs only 4 cards of a particular disease to cure it instead of the normal 5. But the diseases are out breaking fast and time is running out: the team must try to stem the tide of infection in diseased areas while also towards cures. A truly cooperative game where you all win or you all lose. Ages 13+. For 2 to 4 players. 45 minutes. International award winning game.

 

Bang!

 

Unmask and defeat your enemies, keep up with the Indians and challenge your fate to bring your team to the victory! Fast and exciting game play – Based on the BANG! Game System. A very successful game line, with fans all over the world! You do not need BANG! to play.

 

Love Letters

 

All of the eligible young men (and many of the not-so-young) seek to woo the princess of Tempest. Unfortunately, she has locked herself in the palace, and you must rely on others to bring your romantic letters to her. Will yours reach her first? Love Letter is a game of risk, deduction, and luck for 2 to 4 players. Your goal is to get your love letter into Princess Annette’s hands while deflecting the letters from competing suitors. From a deck with only sixteen cards, each player starts with only one card in hand; one card is removed from play. On a turn, you draw one card, and play one card, trying to expose others and knock them from the game. Powerful cards lead to early gains, but make you a target. Rely on weaker cards for too long, however, and your letter may be tossed in the fire.

Ticket to Ride

 

October 2, 1900 – it’s 28 years to the day that noted London eccentric, Phileas Fogg accepted and then won a bet that he could travel “Around the World in 80 Days.” Now, at the dawn of the century, some old friends have gathered to celebrate Fogg’s impetuous and lucrative gamble – and to propose a new wager of their own. The stakes: $1 million in a winner-takes-all competition. The objective: to see the most cities in North America – in just 7 days. Ticket to Ride is a cross-country train adventure game. Players collect train cards that enable them to claim railway routes connecting cities throughout North America. The longer the routes, the more points they earn. Additional points come to those who can fulfill their Destination Tickets by connecting two distant cities, and to the player who builds the longest continuous railway. For 2 to 5 players ages 8 and older. Playing time: 30-60 minutes. Comes with: 1 Board map of North American train routes, 240 Colored Train Cars, 110 Train Car cards, 30 Destination Tickets, 5 Wooden Scoring Markers, 1 Days of Wonder Online access number, and a Rules booklet.

A Journey to a Healthy Lifestyle – The Progress so Far

 

My Journey

 My goal for this journey is for fitness and healthy eating to become a full lifestyle change.  I’ll be honest. This has not been easy. I started this fitness journey roughly around January…

Technically it was November but I was so busy that I didn’t feel like I was making any progress.In this post, I’m going to be explaining my goals, my motivations and my experiences. I hope that

this will help you start, continue or think about your own journey to a healthy lifestyle.

I would love to hear in the comments how you feel about your journey? Is yours similar or different compared to my own? 

 The Beginning

Between January and April, I went to the gym after work 5 times a week.  This was difficult because I would drive almost 2 hours a day to work,  to the gym and back home.

I was unsure if I should eat at a surplus to gain muscle, or to eat at a deficit to lose fat.  I eventually decided to eat more and gain muscle since I would end up losing fat as I go (Beginners luck).

My gym sessions are roughly 60 minutes long.  Two leg days, a chest/triceps day, and a back/biceps day.

I already eat relatively healthy foods because I have a severe allergy to both onion and garlic.  It is actually in virtually everything processed. Really, just read the label of a ketchup bottle.

I tend to cook at home and rarely eat out since restaurants tend to not be very accommodating. My problem has been with binge eating. I can go for days eating low calories, even too little calories.

Eventually, I’ll over eat, or over snack.  These snacks are usually quite healthy, but it’s  the quantity that kills.  I found that if I skipped breakfast and had too small of a lunch, I would eat more

calories than my daily allowance during supper.

Self Image

Progress has been slow and steady. I will admit, at times I have been incredibly discouraged.  It’s hard to see your progress when you focus on your flaws.  When you see yourself in the mirror

every single day, sometimes you don’t notice the changes.  I am glad that I took progress pictures throughout my experience.  The photo above was taken about 3-4 months after I started.  Yes, the

pose is deceiving.  This picture is evidence that many Instagramers manipulate their bodies and cameras to achieve a smaller waist and a larger butt.  I’m often bloated. I have bad days more than

good ones.  As I have many dietary restrictions, some of which I am still unsure about their cause. I need to force myself stay positive.

Goals

I’ve always been a fairly small person.  I am 5’4 and I am a size 3.  However, I think the common term now is “Fat skinny”.  My stomach is far from flat and my hips are significantly wider than the

rest of my body as those are the places where I carry the majority of my fat.  It’s June, and I measured myself for the first time since January.  I’m very proud of myself, I’ve lost a total of 7 inches

and gained another 4 inches in my thighs/arms.  I still have a ways to go.  My goal is to be strong and fit.  I’m hoping to lose roughly another 4-5% fat.

I hope that you’ve taken something from this post.  Good luck on your own journey!  I’ll be making another update post by the end of summer.

Easy Protein Ice Cream Shake

The Best Ice Cream Protein Shake Recipe

Getting enough protein is pretty hard when you’re trying to keep fats and carbs low. So, protein shakes are a wonderfully convenient way to increase protein intake.  Here is my favourite smoothie/ice cream recipe. Feel free to change it up, add different ingredients.

 

Protein Shakes
Save RecipeSave Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Protein Powder
  • 1 Cup Frozen Fruit (Cherry, Blueberry, Pineapple, Strawberry...)
  • 1 Cup of Cold Water (Milk or Almond Milk...)
  • 2 tbs of Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tbs of Peanut butter
7.6.7
2
http://www.elleadore.co/easy-protein-ice-cream-shake/

 

 

FitGirl : My Journey to Becoming Fit

 

Goals

  1. Gain Muscle = bulk.   (Gained 5lbs of muscle between Nov ’16 & Feb ’17)
  2. Get Lean = Cut (March & April 2017 mini cut.)
  3. Consistency = Workout 5-6 times a week. (Struggling because fatigue or social life, must improve)
  4. Body Confidence = View myself in a positive light (Improving, post about it later)
  5. Be more social = Yoga and Zumba classes (Trying)

 

Routine

Legs

Bicep/Back

Chest/Tricep/Shoulders

Abs

Glutes

I usually split each workout into these groups.  I tend to decide on a workout based on how that muscle group feels. (Has it been a while since I worked it? Does it feel weaker?) I’m currently on a mini cut so I have increased my cardio to 30 minutes each session with a couple cardio/ab sessions in between strength days. I’m currently cutting because I am going on a beach vacation in April.  This is a very small cut and a healthy one.  Just decreased my calorie intake slightly and increased my cardio.  Not doing anything fancy or crazy.

 

Accomplishments

I’ve gained about 5 lbs since I started working out.  I certainly lost some fat and gained muscle.  My stomach is “flat”. (I have a lot of dietary issues so bloating is a daily problem.) I am significantly stronger, I am lifting higher weights. My endurance has also drastically increased when it comes to cardio.

 

 

 

 

 

Dealing with Mental Health : Impacts and Change

 

These past few months have been hard. My personal and work life became very stressful.  For the last month, I have changed significantly.  I have little anxiety and my depression is no longer impacting my daily life.  First of all, there’s no reason to be ashamed about mental health issues.  The stigma has to stop.

Now, I still suffer from some anxiety and depression.  I will most likely always have both illnesses.  But, lately I’ve been able to control it.

About a month ago,  I was having severe meltdowns daily. I was stressed for no reason.   I was put on a new medication to treat my increasingly worsening mental illnesses. [I strongly believe that medication can truly help some people.  That it is necessary for some to treat a chemical imbalance, or to help those who need them. ] I was previously on a medication that I found somewhat ineffective.  But hey, finding a good medication can be like finding a needle in a hay stack.

However, with this new medication I had the worse reaction of my life.  I was suicidal.  Very suicidal.  I had incredible panic attacks every hour or so.  I was barely able to function.  Since, I was such a mess, I stopped taking the medication immediately.  However, I wasn’t thinking correctly, and so I also stopped taking all medication.  This is when I went through withdrawal.  I don’t recommend it.  But, I was in no state to make good decisions.  I ended up taking two weeks off of work and endured it.  It sucked.

After stopping all medication, and getting it out of my system. I’ve been working extra hard on my mental health and coping skills. I could probably return on a mild dose for anxiety but I am working hard for now without any.  Again, there’s nothing wrong with medication. But, I had the worse case scenario.

 I haven’t felt this happy in years.

Since then, I’ve tried to change my way of thinking.  I try to focus on the good.  I know that this is a cheesy and annoying piece of advice.  But, focusing on the bad always put me in a terrible mood. Sometimes lasting the entire day.  I try to stay active and be social to distract myself from those negative thoughts.  I have some great friends who have supported me throughout all of this.  There’s still a lot that I can do.  But, I am happy with what I have accomplished.

This terrible experience has changed me for the better.

*I am not a professional. If you have any concerns about you mental health, see a health care 
professional. Please visit the emergency room or call emergency services if you have thoughts of self 
harm or suicide.
study

Anxiety & Depression: Goals to Improve Myself

 

Anxiety is something that I have been dealing with a lot lately. Here are my goals for this month.

  1. yoga and meditation each morning
  2. hangout with 3-4 friends each week
  3. Have a “me” coffee date
  4. Read an uplifting book
  5. Go on a road trip
  6. Skiing night
  7. talk to friends who I’ve lost contact with
  8. Enjoy a nights of board games and wine
  9. Volunteer at the humaine society
  10. Write a journal entry
  11. gym 6x a week no excuses
  12. Be grateful about my friends and family
  13. Give myself a compliment each day
  14. Create short and long term goals
  15. Write blog posts
  16. Wake up earlier to benefit from the sun, happy place
  17. have a spa day
  18. Drink Tons of water

Time for Change : Goals and Changes

Time for a Change

These past few weeks have been difficult. Very difficult. I’ve realized that I have lost myself. Lately, I have not been the cute, funny, bubbly kind of person that I am. I haven’t been super excited about new scientific discoveries. Or, told any long and boring history lessons.

My Mental Health has changed me. After suffering for so many years, I’ve finally hit the bottom. Where life is an impossible task. The only thing holding me here is my family and friends. Without them, I would only be a memory.

The depression and anxiety has pushed me to stop talking to my friends, and to avoid social interactions. I isolated myself. Because of this, I depended heavily on my partner. My former partner.

This has taught me to not lose yourself while fighting mental illness. Continue visiting your friends, loved ones, and be outgoing. My happiest moments are those where I’ve pushed through my mental illness. I did something exciting and different. Go on an adventure! Try new things! Do something different.

I know that there are things that I could have done. It’s too late to change the past; I’ll change my future instead. I have decided to journal. It will be a way for me to get in touch with my feelings and goals. How I will not lose sight of myself again. This will be my way back to the surface when I am drowning. My lifejacket. When it feels like all is lost, I will look back in my journal. There I will find proof that things will get better. It will be my source of

Hope

 

 

February Goals

  1. Be with friends 2-3 times a week.
  2. Drink a lot more water
  3. Eat healthy
  4. Go to the gym consistently 6x a week
  5. Start a Vlog Channel
  6. Read a good book
  7. Practice French with a Friend
  8. Meditate and practice yoga each morning
  9. Wake up earlier to take advantage of the sun light. (more about this later)
  10. Work on being more confident

Fitness New Years Resolution: How To Make It Past January

Motivation

It’s a new year.  Time for things to change. Fitness is a common subject during the time of year.  People are hoping to lose a few pounds and build some muscle.  New Years Fitness goals have begun to be something of a joke.  Everyone starts going to the gym in January.  And then you never see them again.  When it comes to working out, it’s important to stay motivated.  Once the talk of new year goals end.  It’s easy to stop working out.

Going to the gym is not just a new activity. But it creates a new lifestyle.  It’s not always easy to stick with a schedule and a plan.  With that said, create a workout schedule that you will stick to. Choose the time of day that you prefer to workout. Morning or Evening.  Keep this consistent throughout the week.  All you need is one hour, three to four times a week.  I’m currently going to the gym six times a week right after work. Three days of strength training. Two days of cardio and one day of yoga.  The seventh day is my rest day. This helps me be consistent and accountable for my workouts.  I feel bad about skipping a workout, so I don’t.  

Tip: If you want to workout near meal times, make sure to bring snacks.  I never want to workout if I’m hungry.

 Tip: Keep a packed bag in your vehicle or at work to motivate you to go.  Set out your workout clothes in the morning.  If it’s a cute outfit that helps even more!  

If you have any friends who are also interested in going to the gym, it could be a great way to motivate you both to go to the gym.  Try to find someone who has similar goals and motivation as you.  It can be even more helpful when you can push each other to do better.  Just don’t compare yourselves to anyone. Not to each other, other gym members or friends.  We are all different.  We lose weight differently.  Be happy with your own accomplishments.

I love to use Pinterest as a source of motivation and workouts.  I pin a lot of pictures of how I want to look, quotes, and full workouts.  It reminds me of some great exercises that I can do to change things up at the gym.  I don’t get bored. Here’s my Fitness Pinterest Page.

Effort

We all know that looking like a supermodel a lot of time and effort. We all go to the gym to see results.  But, it’s important to realize that these accomplishments are not always visible early on.  If you are carrying a lot of extra weight; it will be much easier and quicker to see drastic results compared to those who are trying to lose that extra ten pounds.  Don’t get discouraged if the scale says something that you don’t like.  Remember, muscle weights more than fat. So, the scale might go up if you are building muscle. That’s a good thing.  I’m currently trying to build around 5 lbs of muscle.  Therefore I should be 5 lbs heavier than I am now. 

Keep focusing on your own goals.  Try to find someone who has similar goals and motivation as you.  It can be even more helpful when you can push each other to do better.  Just don’t compare yourselves to anyone. Not to each other, other gym members or friends.  We are all different.  We lose weight differently.  Be happy with your own accomplishments.

Time Commitments

All you need is one hour to two hours a day.  Three times a week.  If you watch any shows on Netflix during the week, you can workout.  You have the time.  If you don’t have the time or access to a gym, try a YouTube video workout.  There are tons of awesome workouts online.  They  are an awesome way to get a quick workout in when in a rush.

70/30 lazy fitness

Fitness is important.  However, when it comes to losing weight.  It’s 70% Diet and 30% Exercise.  If you are trying to lose weight you must focus primarily on your diet. You can exercise all you want, but the majority of body fat is loss through a calorie deficit. Talk to a dietitian to determine the proper food plan for you.

 

 

What’s in my Gym Bag: Gym Necessities

I’m currently working out six days a week.  Each session is about an hour to an hour and a half long.  I use a duffel bag that was provided to me by my gym.  You can use whichever bag that you want.  A bag with a separate pocket for dirty or wet clothes is super helpful when choosing a bag.  You can certainly use a bag that you already have at home.

  1. Workout outfit – usually all black and light material.  I don’t like to wear anything to thick.
  2. Extra workout outfit – in case I go twice in a row without emptying my bag
  3. Mixer Bottle
  4. BCAAs – Three “important” amino acids. Suggested for working out.  Who know’s if it really helps
  5. Pre Workout – Creatine – Energy in a bottle.  Mine doesn’t contain caffeine. I love to use it for cardio and leg days particularly.
  6. Headphones and Phone
  7. DS with Mario Kart and Pokemon blue – Play on the bike while warming up or cardio days. Helps make time go faster.
  8. Shower: towel, shampoo, conditioner and body wash
  9. Hair brush
  10. Deodorant
  11. Small Makeup bag – BB cream, hand lotion, eye brow pencil, lip balm
  12. Hair Brush
  13. Shoes and Socks – Bring extra socks and make sure to have nice fitting shoes.
  14. Hair Elastics

If you would like to know more about my fitness plan or motivation visit my fitness page.

 

Christmas Chaos

 

 

A Letter to You

 

Dear Reader,

I’m sorry for not being active on this blog for the last few weeks.  Life has gotten in the way.

I hope that you’ve all had a wonderful holiday.  I will be returning to my normal posting schedule this week.

Honestly,

I just needed a break from everything.

Now that I’m refreshed and motivated to write again.

Sarah