Mineral sunscreen I love!

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Sunshine - mineral sunscreen I love

I wish this was today!  We’ve had some beautiful sunny days here in the burbs of Vancouver, but, today isn’t one of them!  It’s been hailing and raining on and off all morning.  But, even when the day is rainy and grey you need to wear sunscreen.  I wasn’t always one to do that myself.  Actually it’s only been the last five years or so that I’ve really put a conscious effort into wearing sunscreen daily.  When I was younger I did wear foundation more frequently and most of the time it did contain a SPF. 

It’s kind of funny, but, my husband was the one that started to use mineral sunscreen at first.  I noticed that he had a tube of “kids” sunscreen in the bathroom and I questioned him about it.  He told me that he had read about the harmful effects of some of the ingredients in traditional chemical sunscreens vs mineral sunscreens.  So, at some point he switched over to mineral.  He rides his motorcycle a lot in the summer and he knows it’s important to wear sunscreen and to try to avoid getting sunburns. 

I’ve been searching for a good mineral sunscreen ever since.  I don’t want my face covered in a white cream and it has to blend well.  I wrote a post a while back on a few sunscreens I tried and I’ve still been using called Mineral Sunscreen or Chemical.  I watched Hot and Flashy and she explained the way sunscreens work really well in this video on her YouTube channel:







Here’s a video where she rates mineral sunscreens:






 While I like the sunscreens I’ve been using, they are not very thick in texture, not easy to blend and leave my face very whitish.  My husband wears them alone (and doesn’t really care about the whitish cast to his face) but, I don’t like that look when I’m out and about… unless it’s the beach or camping (neither which I’ve done in years).

My sister and I went across the border to Washington on my birthday, for some shopping, Trader Joe’s, and lunch!  I’d been hunting for the Neutrogena sunscreen with Purescreen that was mentioned in the video, but, I couldn’t find it in Canada, so, that’s what I had on my list to check out when we went to the USA. 

Neutrogena purescreen mineral sunscreen

I found this in one of the drugstores.  While it’s not exactly the one she mentioned.  It is Neutrogena and it is the one with Purescreen.  It’s all fragrance free which is great and the active ingredients are titanium dioxide 4.9% and zinc oxide 4.7%.  I’ve been using it and I really like it.  It’s very easy to blend and it really doesn’t leave my face as white as the others.  I would definitely wear this one alone without makeup.  I’ve put makeup over it too and there is no issue at all.  I found this tube for $12,98 and the second tube I bought was half price.  Since I enjoy wearing this mineral sunscreen I’m sure I’ll wear it more often.  My goal is to wear it daily!  The above video explains how the sun rays really do get to you even while inside or on a cloudy day causing sun damage.  I’m now the ripe old age of fifty :( I’m continuing on with the quest to stay healthy and youngish!

 Shopping with my sister - mineral sunscreen I love

My sister Liisa and I on our shopping trip.  What’s shopping without a selfie or two?!

Let me know what your favourite sunscreen is in the comments.  Have you found a good mineral sunscreen in Canada?

Talk to you soon,


Turning fifty

Hello April!  This is a big month for me… I’m turning fifty!   Plus it’s a busy month!  There are graduations, lots of appointments, conferences for work, and my big five-ohhh.  Yes, the big fifty and I’m not happy about it at all and I don’t even remotely feel like celebrating.  I’m happy to let it slide by without much attention at all.  Now I’m not saying I don’t want to go out for dinner… I definitely do!  What I really want is to make the best of the next two weeks, so, when they day arrives I will feel super great! 

I’ve been working out for the past few years on and off more than I’ve ever worked out in my life.  So, I’m not going to be doing any hard-ass super, duper, working out right now, but, just doing a little more fine tuning. 

Easter - turning fifty

Easter just happened and I really want the all the chocolate to disappear from the house right away!    Should I just eat it all really fast and then it’ll be gone?  I can’t stop eating it once I start that’s the problem!  I have self-control at times, more than what I even expect to have, but, I need to be in a certain mindset and right now I’m not there. 

My trail shoes - turning fiftyI’ve been in my old trusty Brooks trail shoes quite a bit lately going for long walks and even a few attempts at running… running is not my thing.  Trail running I like, but, it’s too scary to do alone around here.  I really need get me a new pair of trail shoes just like these.  I bring up my shoes, because I’ve had them for years and I really need to invest in a new pair.  Part of what I’m doing right now in this two-week count down is to increase my daily steps.  Whether that be walking or running I don’t mind… I just want to do that.  It’s relaxing, it helps me get into a better mood, it’s de-stressing, and since the weather is getting nicer outside, it’s very pleasant!

Trail in the woods - turning fifty

So for the next two weeks the plan is to walk as close to ten thousand steps a day as possible (which shouldn’t be hard because I’ve walked more than that at work sometimes :) I’m using my iPhone to keep track of my steps (it does a great job of it too).  I’m going to keep working out in our home gym at least four days a week, strength training.  Then the food… well, nothing new here.  I’m going to cut out the sugar, dairy, eggs, and meat.  Basically cleaning up my diet again.  I will eat some grains, because, I love my Finn Crisp :)

That’s my two-week plan to bring on the new decade in healthy way!

If you’ve turned fifty let me know what it was like for you in the comments.  Was it just the same old same old or did you find it amazing or difficult?

Talk to you soon.



Downton Abbey marathon and random stuff

Am I the only one that hasn’t watched Downton Abbey until now?  My sister was watching it years ago… I used to call her and she’d be trying to blow me off, too busy to talk, because she was watching Downton.  I wish she had tried a bit harder to encourage me to watch it… but, then I wouldn’t have the fun of watching it now!  I guess I thought it was some dull British show (sorry) and wasn’t too interested at the time!  Now I’m totally into the show and would like to watch it nonstop!  I hope it’s like Coronation Street (which I’ve also never watched) and goes on forever!

Tulips in a vase - Refreshed and Fit

I buy myself flowers occasionally, especially after I’ve cleaned the house.  Above are my favourites, tulips.

I’ve just had my four days off and I’ve been enjoying watching Netflix because of the previously mentioned show.  Which gets in the way of the bargain I made with myself at the beginning of the year, that I would pick up some overtime shifts at work, mainly, because of all my WANTS and DESIRES that require extra money.  Well, I have to say that I haven’t picked up much of anything yet.  My work has been so exhaustingly stupid for lack of more articulate wording that I haven’t found the energy to go into work on my days off.  I’m not sure which other occupation calls you on your days off, sometimes incessantly as much as nursing.  There is a huge shortage of nurses which means there are empty beds throughout the hospital, except for in emergency where everyone gets backlogged.  The shortage as far as I understand is lack of government funding which means there is no budget to hire more nurses!  There’s also a lack of qualified grads to take on the jobs that do come up.  Needless to say the nurses working are getting a bit burned out!

Working out in home gym - Refreshed and Fit

I am committed to working out!  It helps me stay sane!  Thank goodness for our home gym!

I love some brain numbing fun shows to watch on my days off and Downton Abbey is so much more interesting and somewhat educational compared to some of the other “garbage” TV I’ve watched.  I love the period costumes, furniture, kitchen appliances, and everything else about it.  The big cast iron stove that they have downstairs in the show is like the one my grandmother had in Helsinki.  I remember my grandmother lifting the round heavy lids off the stove top and checking the fire underneath.  It was just like the stove on Downton Abbey except not as large.  My grandmother had lived in that house since my dad was a baby and it was very, very old.  Crazy as it is but that show reminds me of my grandmother!

Grandmother circa 1920 - Downton Abbey marathon

My grandmother with two of her sisters in early 1920.  My grandmother Aune is on the left.

Smoothie with Vega protein powder - Refreshed and Fit

One of my favourite smoothies pictured.  It’s made with a banana, frozen mango, spinach, Vega protein powder, and almond milk.

Anyway… that’s what I’ve been up to this past week.  Not too much of anything really.  I’m looking forward to spring and the nice weather and then I’ll have to get into my yard and get it all straightened out for the summer.  My husband wants to hire someone to get the yard cleaned up.  He’d much rather do anything, but,that!  I have many other projects to complete too.  If you follow me on Pinterest or Instagram you might see some of the projects, especially on InstagramPinterest I use mainly for inspiration.  I’m trying to complete my “Scandinavian Room:)  my spare bedroom.  I’d also like to get the interior of the house painted this spring, plus, many other things.  The list could be a mile long!

 Beautiful trail in BC - Refreshed and Fit

We’ve been so lucky where I live.  We have had incredible weather!  The picture above is from a nice walk I had with my daughter last week  The day was a bit rainy and grey, but, the temperatures have been so mild that the rain really didn’t bother us at all.

Any other favourite period show recommendations out there? Because I don’t know what I’ll do when I’ve finished watching all the episodes of Downton Abbey :( 

Talk to you soon,



Homemade pizza dough – I’m hooked!

Today I’m sitting here in my robe enjoying the quiet of the house contemplating what I can get done at home in the next few days, and there is a lot I could do, let me tell you!  I have a few days off from work, my daughter is still sleeping, and so is my husband who is on shift work, and doesn’t get home until very late.  Which is the reason I’m still in my robe.  I don’t want to go into the bedroom in case I wake him up while I get dressed.  With both of us being shift workers now, it can be quite the challenge to get going for the day without waking the other person up.

Toast with almond butter and pickles

I’ve already had one of my quick, favourite, breakfasts which is toast with almond butter, and pickles with coffee… yes, it’s very good!  I think peanut butter is slightly better, but, since we can’t have that in the house, the almond butter will do.  I love starting my mornings watching YouTube.  It’s taken over watching morning TV for sure.  I’m finding lots of great YouTubers to watch.  Which brings me to my latest endeavor… making pizza at home.  I miss my cooking shows on TV!  I’m so sick of all the stupid cooking contests!  I used to love to cook watching these shows.  Or I’d watch the cooking shows to get inspiration on what to make for dinner.  I can’t really find any of these shows on TV anymore or they are so far and few between that I always miss them.  So, since I’ve been watching YouTube for all my makeup inspiration I’ve started looking for great cooking shows now on there also.  I found one that I really like (besides Jamie Oliver’s Foodtube) and that is Laura Vitale.  I watched this episode where she made homemade frozen pizza’s.






It looked so easy!

Homemade pizza dough

Here is how mine turned out. 

Homemade pizza dough - cheeseless

I made mine a little differently (of course).  I added whole-wheat flour to the dough.  I made cheeseless pizza for Trevor. 

Homemade pizza dough

Homemade pizza dough is on the agenda for today… again, and I’m going to use all-purpose flour only to see how it turns out.  I think it turned out great yesterday, but, I may have not made my crust thin enough, because, I couldn’t get the crust crispy until I baked it for quite a bit longer than Laura suggested.  Also, I had to turn my oven up to 475 degrees, and, I gave up on the pizza stone.  Today, I’ll try the stone again for the second bake and if the crust is still not crispy and light golden on the underneath, I’ll just put the pizza right on the oven rack again like I ended up doing last yesterday. 

Homemade pizza dough - yeast packets

I bought some more yeast!  I plan on making a lot of pizza dough :)  Well that and the other reason is my pizza dough really didn’t rise that much.  My yeast packets had a best before date of next year too.  So, I bought a few different brands and I’ll see how they work.

Homemade pizza dough - pizza

As the pizza turned out pretty darn good with how I made it last night, I know I’ll be making this pizza dough recipe over and over again.  My son with all his food intolerances orders from Panago, because they don’t have soy in the particular crust he chooses and they make his pizza to order.  Now we can just make our own!  This dough was so easy to make and once I freeze a few crusts the way she did in the above episode, we can have pizza that is relatively easy to make,  healthy, and free of all the things we want to avoid. 

Homemade pizza dough - yummy slice

I’ll let you know how today’s version turns out once I tweak the baking a bit. 

Do you have a favourite, fool-proof pizza dough you make? 

Talk to you soon,


Cilantro Lime Dressing recipe – super easy to make

What a dreary morning today!  It’s very grey and rainy.  I have some days off right now which is great, but, when I scheduled my vacation I ended up just booking some random time off and one of the times is right now.  Well I guess it’s a great time to organize for the rest of the year and get started on the many projects that I want to get done.  I want to use up my Annie Sloan chalk paint on a few pieces.

I wanted to share a dressing that I’m loving right now.  For meatless Monday, which was yesterday, I roasted some vegetable, steamed some cauliflower, and threw together some greens for a salad.  This all would’ve been pretty bland except for this recipe that I recreated from a salad that my sister and I got at Trader Joe’s a few months ago.  I’ve made it several times now and I usually vary it up a bit, but, I thought I’d share the basic ingredients in the dressing in case you wanted to give it a try.  You should!  It’s very good! I try to eat like this daily, but, my husband and kids still like to have meat daily.  So, to spice it up a bit I try to make tasty dressings to drizzle over the veggies. 

This Cilantro Lime Dressing is super easy to make.  If you don’t have some of the ingredients, for example chipotle chili powder, use regular chili powder.  If you don’t have fresh garlic and you have garlic powder… use that instead.  Here is a link to some chili powder information on the FOOD52 site, because, I had to check into this myself!

Cilantro lime dressing recipe - Refreshed and Fit

Cilantro Lime Dressing
  1. 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  2. 1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  3. 1 lime, juiced
  4. 1 tablespoon freeze dried cilantro *
  5. 1 teaspoon honey
  6. 1 garlic clove, minced *
  7. dash chipotle chili powder *
  8. salt and pepper to taste
  1. Add all ingredients to a jar with a lid and shake well. Store in fridge for up to three days.
  1. If you don't have freeze dried cilantro you can use fresh cilantro. Chop the cilantro roughly and add to dressing prior to shaking
  2. You can use garlic powder instead of fresh garlic to taste. I add 1/8 teaspoon
  3. Chipotle chili powder will add the kick to the dressing. Start with a small dash and add more gradually to taste
Refreshed and Fit http://refreshedandfit.com/
 Cilantro lime dressing - super easy recipe - Refreshed and Fit

Cilantro Lime Dressing - super easy recipe - Refreshed and Fit

Excited to eat my salad with Cilantro lime dressing - Refreshed and Fit

I look a bit excited to eat my salad and my son the photobomber!  Do you try to have a “meatless” day at least once a week?

Have a great and healthy week.





Sugar is toxic – no more candy bags!

It’s been a busy week!  I worked four twelve-hour shifts… three days and one night this time.  I missed putting up a post last week and I feel guilty about it!  Especially when I have so many things on my mind that I want to talk about.  I always have great intentions to workout after my day shift, have a healthy meal, and then relax and put some of my thoughts down in writing.  But, when I get home it’s all I can do to get cleaned up, eat, and get a few household things done, never mind working-out or writing :(  I have to let go of the guilt when I don’t get these things done and I should really just plan on not doing much on my work days… that may solve the problem!

Something that has been on my mind for a while now and that I have wanted to talk about is sugar and how sugar is toxic!  I’m at triage on many of my shifts, which means I’m the first health care professional a patient meets when they come to emergency.  I have to ask all kinds of questions to determine how urgently care is needed and to which area of the emergency department I send them.  So, I learn a lot about them right away and I’m seeing a major increase in certain conditions that is alarming.  I’m going to make a list of the top five diseases that I’m seeing, but, today I’m going to mention one of them… diabetes!  I’m positively flabbergasted at how many people are diabetics.  I’m not talking about juvenile diabetes or type 1 diabetes, which is something you don’t have much control over.  It’s basically something that you are born with, but, type 2 or non-insulin dependent diabetes, or adult onset diabetes or whatever you want to call it, is the diabetes that develops in your adulthood and can be in your power to prevent or at least keep under control with diet.  The Canadian Diabetes Association is a great site for learning more about diabetes.  I have a cousin with type 1 diabetes.  My cousin, was diagnosed with diabetes when he was very young.  This could not be prevented.  My cousins pancreas stopped producing insulin, so, he is insulin dependent.  This page is a great resource in describing the difference between the types of diabetes.  Have a look at it.  Even if you never thought of diabetes as something you’re at risk of developing… it’s still an eye opener, because,  in reality everyone is at risk and your lifestyle may increase the risk.

Sugar is toxic - streudel

My unhealthy indulgence!


What is your lifestyle like?  Do you eat a lot of strudel?  I have to admit, eating healthy is a choice, but, one that takes some practice and doing.  It doesn’t come as easy for everyone.  I love my sweets sometimes and unfortunately once I’ve added sweets to my diet I tend to crave even more.  You’ve heard that sugar is addictive?  Yes!  It’s like a toxic drug that your body craves more of once it’s in your system. 

So, breaking it down into simple terms your pancreas produces the hormone insulin and everything you eat breaks down into glucose.  Insulin is the key that gets the glucose into your cells to nourish your body.  Without the insulin key the glucose builds up in your bloodstream and makes you very, very sick and your body basically is starving without the ability to utilize the nourishment that you are taking in.  That’s why there is talk about the glycemic index and how eating low glycemic index foods is better for you.  Low glycemic  foods breakdown more gradually into glucose allowing insulin to be released slower, so, you don’t have these huge spikes in your bloodstream of glucose and then the deep lows when you’ve released large amounts of insulin.  Just imagine what happens when you eat that chocolate bar, or strudel :)  or drink that sugary drink… a huge spike in your blood sugar, because, it doesn’t take long for that kind of junk food to break down into its simplest form.  Then all that glucose rushes into your blood stream and your pancreas leaps into action producing insulin to match all the glucose in your system to help get it into your cells.  Then once the insulin gets the glucose into your cells your blood sugar is low and you feel like crap!  Keep doing that in large quantities over years and years or worse yet start doing that at a really young age and eventually your pancreas just can’t keep up.  It’s worn out.  Welcome to adult onset diabetes or type 2 diabetes.  Doesn’t it make more sense to keep your blood sugar at an even keel instead of all over the place and doesn’t it make sense to eat foods that aren’t an immediate burst of sugar in your blood stream, but, are a slow release so your pancreas can keep up with the insulin production?  Of course it does.  So, why do we still fill ourselves up with food that is so harmful to our health? 

Sugar is toxic - Lindt chocolate

Healthier treats!


We fill ourselves up with unhealthy food because it’s all around us.  We’ve learned to eat a certain way, and cook, and bake a certain way.  I for one feel so guilty now when I buy treats for my kids or my nieces and nephews.  I feel like I’m bringing them toxins!  I cringe when I think about the movie nights my daughter and I used to have.  We used to get ourselves bags of candy and snuggle down for some fun movies.  Yikes!

Learning to eat a more health conscious diet is a learning curve.  My husband’s idea of a treat is the Lindt chocolate that is 90% cacao!  To me it still tastes bitter, but, he never was much of a sweet tooth.  I can manage the 70% cacao!

Sugar is toxic - panukakku



I made this panukakku last week.  This is a something my grandmother and my mom made for us at home.  It’s basically an oven pancake.  Its flour, milk, eggs, and a bit of sugar.  I felt guilty about making it and eating it.  But, when I think back to our home-style traditional cooking and baking it was very simple.  Yes, it may have included sugar and some jams which are high on the glycemic index, but, that was all we had.  We didn’t eat chips, chocolate bars, and fast food growing up.  All those things were truly a treat.  So, in context our exposure to the really “junk” type foods was limited.  It wasn’t a daily or even a weekly occurence. 

Sugar is toxic - whole grain, oat, and flax pancake

Keith’s special pancakes


My husbands wholesome pancakes are stick-to-your ribs good.  They’re full of oats, flax, and whole-wheat flour.  No sugar.  The only sweetness is from fresh berries or some maple syrup.

Sugar is toxic - sipping my smoothie

Green smoothie with lots of kale and spinach!

It can sometimes be overwhelming to think about everything you are supposed to be doing to stay healthy and not to freak out about the days that don’t go so well.  I know that I’m promising myself to limit the strudel’s :) that come into our house and I promise myself to continue to cook healthy meals the majority of the time (which my husband and I already do).  So, if I bake a panukakku once in a while I’m not going to stress out.  I want my pancreas to stay healthy my whole life time.  I don’t want to over work any one part of my body to the point of wearing it out!  If I think about it like that I really pay more attention to what I eat.  Also, if I’ve been really on a bad unhealthy streak for a while, I do a quick cleanse to detox.  I’ll talk about that another time.  One thing is for sure though, definitely, no more candy bags for my nieces and nephews, because, sugar is toxic!

 Talk to you soon,