Good morning friends, and HAPPY CANADA DAY!!! :)

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I hope you’re having a wonderful Friday so far. This post is a little later than usual because I let myself sleep in a bit this morning (and by sleep in, I mean 7:30am) before heading to the gym. Aren’t long weekends the best?! Now that I’m all clean and smelling much better than I did about an hour ago, let’s discuss goals for July, shall we?

In follow-up to yesterday’s goal check-in, here are the 5 goals I’m setting for myself this month:

Re-make another 10 recipes from my Recipes page and take better photos.

I had a lot of fun with this goal last month, and there’s still lots of room for improved photos in many of my recipes. This month, I’m aiming to get another 10 finished. One of my goals for 2011 is to take a photography class of some sort to learn more about the subject, and I haven’t seriously researched one yet, but in the meantime I think I’ll just practice on my own and learn from the blog world. Lately there have been some great posts floating around with tons of useful tips, like this one from Jenna about how to set up a home photography studio, as well as this one and this one from the lovely Andie over at Can You Stay for Dinner. The latter two are full of advice from NY Times photographer Andrew Scrivani, and Andie’s photos are evidence that this guy knows what he’s talking about! For example…

Source: Can You Stay For Dinner

If I can get my food to look this good, I’ll be forever content.

Stick to my grocery budget… like, seriously this time.

Alright friends, I have a confession to make: I’ve been doing terribly with this one. As I’ve said before, I am pretty sure I spend the same amount on groceries in one week as a family of 3 or 4 people. It’s not that I buy the stuff in the aisles that comes in packaging and thus is more expensive, nor do I shop at Whole Foods every single week (as much as I’d love to). It’s just that I go through a lot of produce, and it definitely adds up!

Having said all of this, July is a new month, and it’s never too late to start making improvements, right? Right. Therefore, this is my plan for July:

  • Set a limit for each week. (Done).
  • Do a better job of meal planning for the week ahead before going to the grocery store – this includes planning every day meals, as well as my Recipe of the Week and others for the blog
  • Continue shopping at cheaper grocery stores (eg FoodBasics) for items that I know are cheaper there, and make only a few purchases at places like Sobeys (more expensive, but also prettier and a more pleasant experience), like meats and fish.
  • Incorporate several meatless meals into my weekly meal plans – I’m already doing this, but I could certainly do more.
  • Hit up the farmer’s market as much as possible
  • Keep every single grocery receipt for the month of July and track spending throughout the month.

This is definitely one of the most difficult goals on my list for 2011, but I’m determined to have it mastered by the end of the year. Here’s to a July full of money saving!

Try at least 3 new fitness activities or classes that I don’t normally do.

As most of you already know, my workout regime most often consists of running, spinning, and weights, with the very occasional Body Combat or Body Pump thrown in. Part of the reason why I don’t do as many other classes is because I feel like I’m already at the gym an awful lot between teaching and doing my own early morning workouts with Mr Trainer. If people see me there any more often, they might start to think I never leave! Since it’s summer and the weather is gorgeous, I’d like to bust out of my shell and do at least 3 new activities this month. They don’t necessarily have to be all outdoors, and I’ve decided that they don’t have to be things I’ve never done before. (I can tell you right now, don’t expect me to tell you in my July goal check-in that I went skydiving or bungee jumping or anything because neither of those adventures are going to happen!)

Get my G license.

Yikes. I feel like I’m jinxing myself already just by typing that and saying I’m going to get it done before the end of this month. You see, I’ve already got the test booked, but it took me three tries to get my G2 license, which makes me a little scared about another dreaded visit to the Drive Test center. For some reason, I always seem to get the examiners that haven’t had lunch yet, have got a headache, or for some other reason are in the most miserable mood ever. This time, I’m hoping for better luck and a pass on the first try. In the meantime, I’ll be at the grocery store (with my carefully planned grocery list in my purse, as described in goal number 2 above), practicing backing into parking spots. Because after all, now that I’ve got a big girl car, I should also have a big girl license, right?

5. Learn more about benefits of raw food.

This is a subject that’s been of interest to me for a while now, and I really want to learn more about it. Call me a big nerd, but books about food are to me like Harry Potter and Twilight books are to teenagers. Raw food diets have become pretty popular (one might even say trendy) lately, and I’ve noticed quite a few restaurants popping up with raw food dishes on the menu.

There are lots of benefits believed to be associated with raw food, some of which are discussed in my current read, Whole Foods to Thrive, but  I’m interested in learning more. As part of this goal, I’ll be doing the following:

  • Writing a post or two about raw food diets
  • Trying at least 3 new raw recipes from around the blog world
  • (Hopefully) visiting Rawlicious, a raw restaurant in Toronto that I’ve heard great things about
  • Reading a book about it. Currently I’ve got my eye on the following:

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… but I’m definitely open for more suggestions!

Alright friends, I’ve got to go and get on with this gorgeous day! Plans include a little house cleaning, some cooking, and a fun barbecue tonight that I’m super excited for! Whether you’re celebrating Canada Day or Independence Day, I hope you have a wonderful long weekend!

Questions for Today:

  • Do you have any cost-cutting grocery shopping tips for me? Feel free to post as many as you want – I can use all the help I can get!
  • Do you incorporate many raw recipes into your diet, or do you have any book recommendations for me? Link up!
  • What are your goals for July?
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