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Up & At It

Exploring the best ways to stay energized during your busy life

Top Eight Alcoholic Coffee Drinks

Yep, sometimes you gotta go with the double whammy: alcohol and caffeine. Which, I have to guess, doesn’t sound too bad to you, right?

It sure doesn’t for me.

That’s why I’ve gathered the top ten alcoholic coffee drinks to try:

  1. Espresso Martini: Honestly, I should just stop right here. I discovered these while living in Australia, and my life has never been the same. Shake 1 ounce of espresso and vodka with 1.5 ounces of Kahlua and strain into a martini glass, and you’re life will be forever changed too.
  2. The Truffle: Similar to the espresso martini, shake 1 ounce of vodka and Frangelico with 3/4 ounce of fresh espresso with ice, then strain into a glass and enjoy!
  3. Cafe Royal: Add 1.5 ounces of Patron XO Coffee Liqueur and 1.5 ounces of Godiva Chocolate Liqueur to your cup of coffee, top with whipped cream and sit back and relax.
  4. Black Russian: 1.5 ounces of vodka with 1/2 ounce of coffee liqueur… This one isn’t for the faint-hearted.
  5.  B52: Try this layered shot of 1 part coffee liqueur, 1 part orange cognac and 1 part Irish cream. It’ll be the smoothest shot you’ll ever take!
  6. Amaretto Coffee: It’s exactly what it sounds like: 1 cup of coffee and 1 1/2 shots of Amaretto (think of it as alcoholic almond flavouring!).
  7. White Russian: See Black Russian, and add cream (still not for the faint-hearted).
  8. Irish Car Bomb: Drop a shot of Irish whiskey and coffee liqueur into a pint of stout beer – clearly, Guinness should be your go-to for that one.
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Good Things Take Time – The Pros & Cons of Instant Coffee

Life is busy, and it makes sense to do things as quickly and efficiently as possible, but certain things take time. No matter how busy you are, you simply cannot cut corners. This includes your coffee.

Sometimes, hitting the kettle and stirring in some instant coffee seems like a much smarter move than to brew a new pot of freshly ground coffee (that is, if you grind your beans yourself). But is it worth it? Let’s explore the pros and cons of instant coffee together:

Pros:

  • Time saver – hence the ‘instant’ title
  • Wide variety of flavours and brews to choose from
  • It’s cheaper
  • Can be easily transported
  • Longer shelf life

 

Cons:

  • The processing removes healthy antioxidants that regular coffee has
  • Contains slightly less caffeine
  • Contains more Acrylamide, which is a potentially harmful chemical that forms when coffee beans are roasted
  • More processed/less natural
  • Doesn’t nearly mimic the taste of real coffee

 

Although there appears to be similar number of pros vs. cons, there’s one con that I simply cannot get over: the taste. No matter how efficient, easy and cheap instant coffee is, it simply isn’t the same. It’s better than nothing, but if you ever have the opportunity to choose between the two, please, please choose wisely (aka the real deal).

How Chewable Coffee Is Changing The Caffeine Game

I love coffee, but there are certain side effects that I could do without – the constant bathroom breaks, teeth stains, jitteriness, upset stomach when you drink too much, etc. So when I discovered Nootrobox’s GO CUBES Chewable Coffee, I knew I had to try them.

Each cube has 50 mg of caffeine, which equals 1/2 cup of coffee, and they come in three flavours: pure drip, latte, and mocha. I bought the sampler box that comes with 6 packs of 4 GO CUBES for US$15.

I definitely got some skeptical looks and comments from people as I told them about this chewable coffee, particularly from my old-school dad who called them my ‘coffee candies,’ but GO CUBES are a serious game changer.

I started my day with the usual morning  cup of coffee, but instead of having another cup goCubesBoxProductShotHighlightLattearound noon, I had two GO CUBES instead. I tried the latte and pure drip flavours, and I was shocked at how closely their taste resembles the taste of coffee. You really do feel like you’re chewing coffee (a wild, yet satisfying experience for the passionate coffee drinker). Although I drink black coffee, I preferred the latte flavour as it was a little less bitter than the pure drip flavour.

Right away the coffee-resembling taste impressed me, but it was what happened later during my day that won me over. I typically have a 15-20 minute power nap after school or work each day before diving into my evening of homework, but the day I tried the GO CUBES I didn’t need my nap. My afternoon didn’t consist of hourly bathroom breaks, and I was energized enough to stay awake all day (which is a huge feat, if you’ve also fallen into the daily napping trap like me). Not only was I energized, I felt very motivated to do homework and never experienced a caffeine crash that sometimes follows evening coffee.

The reason I was energized and motivated, without experiencing any kind of jitters, has to do with a special ingredient in GO CUBES: Nootropics. According to NOOTROBOX’s website, nootropics are, “a broad classification of cognition-enhancing compounds that produce minimal side effects and are suitable for long-term use.”

Basically, they’re cognitive enhancing supplements associated with increased intelligence, motivation, and mental energy. GO CUBES combines caffeine with nootropics to help you concentrate more than a typical cup of coffee, and I can definitely vouch for this. I felt awake and alert, and I never crashed or got easily distracted while doing homework.

The only drawback of GO CUBES in comparison to my go-to black coffee is the calorie count. Two cubes equals 70 calories, but on their website NOOTROBOX explains this, saying:

 “A serving of two GO CUBES contains sugar that helps cut into the natural bitterness of coffee and caffeine, producing a product that balances performance and taste. We don’t use artificial high-fructose sugars, and the small amount of glucose in GO CUBES is healthy and actually provides fuel for the brain, one of the body’s largest consumers of glucose.”

The way I see it? The extra energy GO CUBES provides you will allow you to burn off those 70 calories anyways. Plus, my dad really isn’t wrong – it’s coffee and a candy. You get your caffeine and (small) sugar fix in one!

Between the balance of caffeine and nootropics, coupled with their slight sugar fix, there’s not much else you could ask for. GO CUBES get a definite thumbs up from me!

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Looking for a new caffeine fix? Subscribe to Up & At It blog and be entered to win 4 packs of 4 GO CUBES, along with a 150 mg bag of AWAKE Caffeinated Chocolate, a $5 Starbucks gift card and two Eagle Energy caffeine vapes. Simply click ‘Follow’ in the bottom right corner! Contest ends March 31, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. CST. Only applicable to Manitoba residents & must be 18 years or older to enter.

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The Dos & Don’ts of Napping

Happy National Napping Day! Although I celebrate this day, well, everyday, today we’re going to delve into the dos and don’ts of napping.

If you’re as tired as I usually am, then you’ve probably napped once or twice (or a thousand times) before in your life. Sometimes, it’s probably the greatest decision you’ve ever made, and you wake up feeling 100 per cent. But other times, you wake up so tired that 5 p.m. seems like a reasonable time to go to bed for good. Why the discrepancy?

Because napping is an art. There are strict dos and don’ts. If you nap carelessly, you will pay the price. Here are the rules:

DOS:

  • Nap in the afternoon only: Between 1-3 p.m. specifically
  • Keep it brief: Long naps are the reason you wake up more tired and groggy than before – keep it to 10-15 minutes and it should do the trick (even if you have to set four different alarms one minute apart… There’s no shame).
  • Turn the temperature down and the lights off: This will make you fall asleep quicker and result in a more fulfilling nap.
  • Nap at the same time daily: If you’re going to make a habit of naps, do them at the same time to get your body into routine.

DON’TS:

  • Nap on an empty stomach: Empty stomachs are never good, but particularly so when you’re trying to nap. Nothing will keep you awake more than that constant inner rumble and thoughts of triple layer nachos.
  • Take a sleeping pill: This will throw off any attempt to keep it short, and ultimately throw off your sleep routine for the whole day.
  • Nap when it’s dark out: Nothing is worse than having to get out of bed when the sun has gone down – your brain and body want to stay asleep no matter how many assignments or projects you have due.
  • Power through it: Take the 10-15 minute nap instead of ignoring the fatigue – if you’re that tired, you won’t be productive no matter how hard you try.

As always, happy napping everyone!

The Power Of Yoga & Holistic Living

Okay, I’m going to be completely honest: I don’t do yoga, and I’m the least qualified person to be talking about it. Seriously, the only time I thrive in a yoga class is during the last ten minutes when you lay completely still and quiet (I’m so good at this I usually fall asleep).

That being said, it would be pretty irresponsible of me to completely ignore yoga, since it has many energy-inducing effects. To help me, I’ve gathered a morning yoga routine from Brett Larkin, a yoga teacher from San Francisco, and the help of my lovely friend Lauren Hollins’ blog about holistic and healthy living.

Brett Larkin’s Beginner Morning Yoga Sequence

This morning yoga routine as over 1 million views and was featured in a Greatist article, claiming it’s more efficient than any cup of coffee you can find.

Holistic Hollins Blog

Sometimes, the best way to stay energized and motivated is by putting yourself first and Lofocusing on your spiritual, mental, emotional and physical health.

In her blog, Lauren Hollins writes about intentional living through personal growth, self-care, mindfulness, and a balanced lifestyle. Some of her most recent posts include the power of community on one’s health, the importance of supporting local businesses, and re-caps of various yoga events in Winnipeg.

Lauren doesn’t drink coffee (gasp!), but you’d never be able to tell. I’ve always admired her ability to wake up at 5 or 6 a.m. for a yoga class and then go about her day with a smile on her face. She’s one of the most genuine and committed people I know, and clearly she’s doing something right when it comes to staying energized and motivated. Visit Lauren’s blog and learn more about the important effects of healthy and holistic living!

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Looking for a new caffeine fix? Subscribe to Up & At It blog and be entered to win 4 packs of 4 GO CUBES, along with a 150 mg bag of AWAKE Caffeinated Chocolate, a $5 Starbucks gift card and two Eagle Energy caffeine vapes. Simply click ‘Follow’ in the bottom right corner! Contest ends March 31, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. CST. Only applicable to Manitoba residents & must be 18 years or older to enter.

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What your zodiac sign says about your sleep habits

As per everything else in life, your zodiac sign has something to say about the way yousigns-of-the-zodiac-160494_1280 sleep. I’m a pisces, and here’s what my sign says about me:

They call them ‘Pisces, The Dreamer’ and this is the description:

 

 

“Pisces are whimsical creatures and love to daydream! For a Piscean, dreaming is a medium of healing, of getting away from all the negativity and hustle-bustle of the world. Being the most spiritual among the zodiac signs, they benefit from dream analysis too. Sleep is a must for Pisces as it helps them rejuvenate themselves and reserve their energy.”

I absolutely agree about the ‘sleep is a must’ thing, but then again, I’m sure everyone else would too! And I like the idea of dreaming being a medium of healing for me, but to be honest, I very rarely remember my dreams.

Want to know what your sign says about you? Find out here.

 

How To Stay Awake During Class Lectures

We’ve all been there before. Whether it’s from pulling an all-nighter or partying too hard, we find ourselves sitting in class the next morning and wondering how to possibly keep our eyes open for the next hour and 43 minutes.

I’ll be the first to admit that on more than one occasion my eyes have failed me, and I’ve completely fallen asleep during class. So much so that one of my classmates in high school used to start taking notes for me as soon as she saw my pen drop (bless her).

Although that arrangement did me well, my lovely classmate and I went to different universities, so I was forced to stay awake on my own. Here’s what I’ve learned:

  1. Bring snacks: Nothing helps keep me awake more than having something to snack on. Recently, I’ve been packing two sandwiches for myself – one for lunch and one for my 8 a.m. class. I think of it as a small reward for the big feat of getting out of bed and paying attention to my professors.  Just be sure to eat slow and make it last all class!
  2. Shower before class: Not only will this make you feel better, but the shower will help wake you up and maintain that energy throughout class
  3. Coffee: That is all.
  4. Fill up your water bottle: Honestly, my snacks don’t usually last all class (despite my efforts). In that case, I turn to my water bottle and chug-a-lug. This wakes you up and gives you something to do.
  5. Bathroom breaks: Sometimes, you just need to get up and walk around. This is the perfect time to take a *quick* bathroom break.
  6. Tug on your earlobes: This one is weird – I know, BUT earlobes are pressure points in your body that are sensitive to touch, so when you tug them it alerts your brain and will help keep you awake. Pretend you’re fiddling with your earring or something.
  7. Chew gum: Again, this will give you something to do and help you focus on what your teacher is saying.
  8. Get involved in the lecture: Challenge yourself to ask at least two questions during the lecture. This way, it’ll force you to pay attention and engage.
  9. Eyedrops: When your eyes are dry it’s hard to keep them open. If this is the case, bring some eyedrops to class and help refresh your eyes.
  10. Cool down: When you’re body temperature is warm, it’s easier to fall asleep. If your class is warm, take off your sweater or open a window to cool down.

On a completely different note: If you’re having trouble falling asleep that night, simply record your teacher’s lecture and play it before bed.

Good luck!

The Spotify Playlist That’s Scientifically Proven To Wake You Up

Yep, you read that right: there’s a Spotify playlist that can legitimately help you wake up in the mornings.

Spotify hired music psychologist David M. Greenberg from the University of Cambridge to create the playlist, which features 20 songs starting off with Coldplay’s Viva la Vida.

Other songs on the playlist include Avicii’s Wake Me Up and, unsurprisingly, Walking on music-791631_1280Sunshine by Katrina & The Waves.

According to Greenberg, each song needed to have these key elements:

  • Strong beat: “Songs that emphasize beats 2 and 4 of each measure — usually with the bass and drums — with a BPM of approximately 100-130 will get you moving and further the feel good mood,” said Greenberg.
  • Positivity: Since the first thing you hear in the morning can have a big effect on the rest of your day, Greenberg says a positive tune will give your day a positive start.
  • Slow start: If the song is too vigorous right from the beginning, it won’t help you get out of bed because it’s “too much, too soon,” says Greenberg.

See below for the full playlist or access it through Spotify here.

  1. Coldplay – Viva La Vida
  2. St. Lucia – Elevate
  3. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Downtown
  4. Bill Withers – Lovely Day
  5. Avicii – Wake Me Up
  6. Pentatonix – Can’t Sleep Love
  7. Demi Lovato – Confident
  8. Arcade Fire – Wake Up
  9. Hailee Steinfeld – Love Myself
  10. Sam Smith – Money On My Mind
  11. Esperanza Spalding – I Can’t Help It
  12. John Newman – Come and Get It
  13. Felix Jaehn – Ain’t Nobody (Loves Me Better)
  14. Mark Ronson – Feel Right
  15. Clean Bandit – Rather Be
  16. Katrina & The Waves – Walking on Sunshine
  17. Imagine Dragons – On Top of the World
  18. MisterWives – Reflections
  19. Carly Rae Jepsen – Warm Blood
  20. iLoveMemphis – Hit The Quan

How Countries Are Losing Billions of Dollars From Sleep-Deprived Citizens

You know those moments when you’re at work and it feels like your eyelids have 10 pound weights on them, and it’s practically impossible to stay awake? And all you want to do is go home, but your boss won’t accept being tired as a reason to leave?

Well, turns out it might actually be a legitimate excuse.

According to an international study done by RAND Europe, a non-profit organization that aims to “improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis,” working populations in five countries are costing their country’s economy billions of dollars from lack of sleep.

The report examines Canada, the U.S, the U.K., Germany and Japan, studying the impact that insufficient sleep has on the countries’ economies.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults (18+) get between 7-9 hours of sleep a night, but the report found working adults were getting much less. The following table shows the percentage of surveyed individuals in each country who get less than the recommended hours of sleep per night:

screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-7-25-33-pm

Since insufficient sleep results in low productivity and higher mortality rates, the report says insufficient sleep is having a negative effect on the economy in all five countries.

Basically, employees are doing subpar work and sometimes even dying early because they’re not getting enough sleep. The subpar work and deaths then result in a negative effect on the companies for which the sleep-deprived employees work (or worked), which then affects their country’s overall economy. 

The good news? Canada is losing the least amount of money out of the five countries.

The bad news? We’re still losing billions of dollars.

How much each country’s economy is losing from sleep deprived employees per year:
screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-11-42-57-am

So, if you’re ever battling your eyelids again at work, just drop this report on your boss’ desk and head on home for some sweet, sweet dreams… Your country depends on it.

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