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cities, photojournal

Poutine & Cupcakes

Best title ever.

It’s been a wicked busy week here in the Healthy Hipster hood and Im so glad i finally have a moment to blog about some of it (on the bus, from my phone, like a champ…)

I’ve had a constant stream of visitors and houseguests which has resulted in some serious feasting all over this damn town!
Vegan Poutine from Poutinis is a must for any visitor to my fair city.20120727-100543.jpg

As is a stop into Bunners vegan, gluten-free bakeshop….where the treats are almost as cute as the ladies serving them up!

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I can’t get enough of having my best buds (babes) visit my city…

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And showing them all it has to offer (foodwise)…

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Good friends + tasty eats + well executed facepaint tattoos = me, the happiest girl in hogtown.

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My other big update is that I am unofficially officially bridesmaiding a wedding for the first time in my life and honestly ladies, I don’t understand how you do this on the regular. I’m exhausted and the wedding isn’t until tomorrow! My bestie Meg is lucky she’s so fantastic, kind, caring and deserving…

I’ll be giving you the whole rundown of Wedding festivities as they go down – its in the woods, Bunners made the wedding pies and there will be bocce ball. Be honest, you all wanna catch a glimpse of some hipster wedding inspiration. And if you just can’t wait you should check out my from my beautiful friend Christels whimsical coastal wedding last fall. So stunning and completely DIY.

Have a fabulous Friday, and if you have any tips for surviving wedding mayhem from a bridesmaids perspective, send them my way!

cities, community, inspiration, photojournal

Garden Parties & Gallivanting

I wasn’t sure how I to begin talking about the beauty I experienced this long weekend. How rejuvenated and inspired I feel this evening, in the afterglow. How happy I was to spend it with old friends & new. I was so overcome with happiness and joy I was just going to avoid posting about it at altogether, but instead chose to share just a few of the things I did…in black & white…because things always look more special and important that way.

I ate al fresco on my rooftop & enjoyed meals with friends.


Got creative in the kitchen with this spelt berry & watermelon salad I’ll be sharing the recipe for tomorrow.

Got up to no good in the nighttime and walked home giggling with my neighborhood pals in the early hours of the next morning.

To celebrate Canada Day I attended a Garden party at the Spadina Historical House.


There was fresh ice cream being churned…

And homemade pie to match.

My friends and I spent hours slowly make our way through the grounds…”moseying” I think we called it, or perhaps we were “lollygagging”?

At the end of the afternoon we were told to make one of these bird ornaments to hang from a tree as we left – with a single wish written on the side. This is what I wrote…

Here’s hoping your weekend – long or short – left you joyful and happy as well.

July always feels rich with possibilities and I for one am eager to see where the month will lead!

6 x 6 SUMMER SHAKE UP CHALLENGE, cities, fashion, photojournal, restaurants

Weekend Wanderings: Sparkles & Love!

Those two images pretty much sum up 90% of this past weekend and I consider it time well spent. Few things make me happier in this world than sifting through piles of bric-a-brac looking for gems. In the end I scored a yellow ombre vase, a big pile of art and design magazines from the 1930s AND a dress for my bestie’s wedding in July! And for just $46 before alterations it was really the ULTIMATE diamond in the rough.

An assortment of weekend nibbles:


Kombucha samples at Anice Jewellery Boutique.

Vegan lunch at Hibiscus

 

Summer Greens in Brown Butter Vinaigrette…

…And Tempura Tuna Rolls at Cafe Belong

A perfect mix of tasty, wholesome & indulgent. 

That’s really all I ask for in weekend meals.

Despite being in Monday denial I will give you a quickie update on my 6 x 6 plan. It’s still going strong with a nice balance of walks and yoga as well as some added strength training thanks to The Fitnessista. I haven’t been getting excited by the gym lately so I am enjoying these circuit workouts, which are totally doable at home. I did her Week 1 workout twice last week and it definitely kicked my butt even without all that expensive gear around. Always love that.

Hope your weekend was equally sparkly and lovely!

Let’s do our best to keep those feelings going all week long, whaddyasay? 😉

cities, fashion, inspiration, reflections

Positive Affirmations Courtesy of Rodarte

As this week comes to a close I thought I’d share a small moment that stuck with me yesterday and left me feeling happy/inspired/generally more motivated in life. And it just happened to be brought to me by the ladies of RODARTE.

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For anyone unfamiliar with the Rodarte brand it is a fashion label started that was started in 2005 by two wickedly ambitious, innovative sisters with zero training in design. Well this week the ladies happened to be in Toronto & I was lucky enough to attend an interview they gave with Canadian fashion journalist Jeannie Becker. The event was very intimate, just a few die hard fans and fashionistas happy to be there, basking in the quiet wisdom of the soft spoken duo. And we were not disappointed.

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The Mulleavy sisters spoke on a number of topics – their time as struggling artists in the lower east side, their collaborative creative process & the ways they stay grounded.
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While all of this was fascinating to me (in a nerdy fangirl kind of way) I was particularly struck by one comment Kate made early on in the interview. She said:

The only thing we really have to offer is our unique voice.

I have struggled a lot over the past few years, during my own clichéd yet completely personal “quarter-life crisis,” to rediscover my unique voice as a professional, adult woman. Throughout my life as a student (and in graduate school in particular) my accomplishments and mentors did all that work for me. They reminded me on a daily basis that my point of view was valuable and that my voice was a voice worth listening to.

However, since entering the “real world” during a time of such great economic strain and instability I have found myself inundated with messages saying just the opposite. I have heard how entitled my generation is, how resistant we are to an honest day’s work. I have heard about the uselessness of the degrees I dedicated years of my life to. I have felt the sting of being rejected professionally but also, and perhaps worse, being ignored.

Receiving so much positive affirmation from my parents and professors as a young person bolstered the pillars of my self-confidence, but never taught me how to mend the cracks that come inevitably with time and age.

So in my current search to teach myself how to affirm myself, I find words like Kate’s incredibly uplifting. Firstly because she acknowledges that we are all essentially the same and sure, maybe even a little bit useless. And yet…
In spite of it all we do have something to offer in this world. Something special and rare. Something worth tapping into and pursuing with reckless abandon.
Our own unique offering.
Our voice, which is valuable, when and if we let others hear it.

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Just some reflections for you to do with what you like. Would love to hear your thoughts on fashion, motivation or the infamous quarter life crisis…Or better yet…any fun plans for the weekend?

breakfast, cities

Weekend Staycation & Coconut Buckwheat Porridge

It is Victoria Day weekend here in Ontario which means that half of the Toronto’s population has vacated the city to drink microbrewed beers on the docks of their million dollar Muskoka cottages. And while that sounds lovely and all (in fact last summer I toured the Muskokas and had a pretty stellar time) I been really enjoying the pleasure of spending my weekend right here with some great friends in the city I love…

Patio season has officially begun and since I’m a bit of a lightweight these days 1 drink in the sunshine left me bleary eyed & giggly! Not a bad way to kick off the weekend…

My friends were much better at comporting themselves.

City Sunset.

After yesterday’s shenanigans I decided I was in need of a healthy start to today & ended up coming up with a delicious new spin on my standard oatmeal breakfast. In a constant effort to enjoy a greater diversity of foods I would mix things up today and use of of my favourite superfoods: Buckwheat! Usually I think of cooking whole grains in the morning to be a slow and laborious process, but I was feeling inspired after reading Angela’s post on grinding steel cut oats for quicker cooking and I figured I’d give it a whirl. The result?

Creamy Coconut Buckwheat Porridge

Ingredients: 

  • 1/4 cup raw buckwheat groats
  •  1/2 tbsp chia or flax seeds
  • 1 cup So Delicious Coconut Milk (OR a mix of almond milk + 1 tbsp canned coconut milk/coconut creamer)
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions:  

  1. Pulse buckwheat and chia or flax seeds in a coffee grinder until coursely ground
  2. Combine milk and grains in a medium saucepan and heat until just boiling, then reduce to a simmer for about 5-7 minutes. I found that mine thickened very quickly so I thinned it out with an extra 1/2 cup of water.
  3. Remove from heat and serve.
Toppings: 
Toppings are key since the buckwheat has a very neutral flavour, even cooked in coconut milk. I topped mine with:
  • shredded coconut
  • sunflower seeds
  • extra coconut milk
  • cinnamon
  • drizzle of agave (could use honey, brown sugar, stevia etc.)
budgeting, cities, dinner, restaurants, reviews

TRENDING: Singapore Streetfood at Hawker Bar

If you live in the west end of Toronto and have a pulse you’ve  probably heard some kind of buzz about Hawker Bar, a new addition to the Ossington strip where you can pull up a salvaged wood stool and enjoy Singapore-style street food at reasonable prices while listening to Little Dragon. I know, I know. I had you at salvaged wood.

We chose to order a bunch of things off the menu and share but I was pleasantly suprised that all the portions were a perfectly reasonable size, so you could also opt for a single $12 dish and be totally satisfied.

As we took our sweet time deciding on the perfect order our server offered us some complimentary ginger tea. They’re still working out their liquor licence so it’s all mocktails and tea for the moment, but this didn’t bother me or my date one bit. I mean…cocktails don’t come in teacups this cute.

After a verbal tennis match of possible sharing combinations me and my ladyfriend decided on the vegan laksa, 2 sides of soy broccoli & the sea bream special (who doesn’t love a whole fish on a plate?).

The laksa was pitch perfect in my books, filled with rice noodles, veggies & puffed tofu flavoured with a rich coconut cream (not too much coriander) and enough spice to break an early evening sweat. The sea bream, however, was what really shone for me. It was flaky and tender inside with crispy skin and paired perfectly with the delicious sweet soy sauce that accompanied it. I also asked for a side of sriracha and was pleasantly suprised with a homemade garlic chili sauce that should really come standard with the dish.

I must admit that unlike some of the Toronto foodie hotspots popping up in Roncesvalles lately (which seem to me to be 70% hype 20% inflated prices & 10% hollandaise) this spot actually lived up. Definitely worth checking out during this brief but precious interrum after the peak of Ossington strip fever but before the Queen West Gentrification/Condo Monster has fully taken hold. Get it while you can.

brown baggin it, cities, recipes, restaurants

Tibetan Food & My Take on Deep Fried Tofu

This week I’ve been spending a lot of time getting acclimated in my new neighborhood…which for me involves a whole lot of eating.

Exhibit A)

My first taste of the Tibetan food that is ubiquitous in this area of town.

Dumplings & Veggies & Silken Tofu OH MY! 

And did I mention that whole plate cost SIX DOLLARS. So good.

After enjoying that plate of yum I was inspired to whip a batch of silken tofu at home, just for a little variety from the firm stuff. The recipe itself was very simple and involved only 3 steps…

Wannabe-Deep-Fried Silken Tofu

1) Slice silken tofu into blocks and quickly pan fry on a dry nonstick or lightly oiled pan until just browned.

2) Dip silken tofu pieces in a marinade of: 

  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 3 tbsp low sodium tamari
  • 1 tbsp honey or brown sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
Then dredge soaked tofu in a second mixture of
  • coconut flour
  • salt and pepper
 3) Pan fry again!
Serve with remaining marinade for dipping! 
This tofu is making a special appearance in my lunch box today as well…
Gotta love leftovers 😉
Off to work! Hope you’re all having a lovely week.
blogs, brunch, cities, coffee, restaurants

Springing Forward & Falling Back…

Waking up this morning I was shocked to realize that I actually slept in to a reasonable hour…Or at least I thought I slept in until I realized it was daylight savings time. Whatever, I was still pleased with myself for waking up past 8…even if it was just a technicality. Small victories, folks. 😉

I’ve got to admit though that despite all of this sunlight and springy weather, I’ve actually been falling back on some of my not-that-bad-but-still-not-great vices to get me through the past few stressful weeks….

Exhibit A: Trashy Reality Television

Downloading Legally purchasing multiple seasons of The Rachel Zoe Project during a period of high-stress is wickedly dangerous territory. This picture is an accurate portrayal of my life recently between the hours of 9pm and…ahem…  <—– infinity.

Exhibit B: Comforting Food

Scoff all you like but for me a piping hot mess of steel cut oats is comfort in a bowl. And during a stressful time I get weirdly fixated on eating the same thing at every meal. Instead of judging myself for this, I try to roll with my cravings and eat my oats at whatever time of day I darn well please….

I ate this as a snack somewhere between breakfast and lunch… Half bowl of oats + a mess of berries + pumpkin seeds with a poached egg and spinach on the side for protein and veggies. Worked for me

I’ve also been enjoying more than my fair share of restaurant meals… including this delicious brunch at The Junction Eatery.

Cornbread, blackened catfish, bacon, eggs & smokey baked beans. 

Chopped salad with chicken, fresh peas, cashews, avocado & apples

Not at all easy on the wallet but definitely low stress and comforting.

Exhibit C: (Discount) Shopping

I blame She Does The City for inviting me to this ridiculously adorable sale event at The Gap. I mean…25% their entire spring line? So dangerous for a bargain hunter like myself.

Liquoring us up with free pinotDownright lethal.

They were really hocking these coloured pants…even the DJ was wearing some (hidden under his macbook…hehe). I left with a pair of cropped black jeans that weren’t part of the sale but were already marked down 50%…. Pahaha. So predictable.

Exhibit D: Old faithful…

What addictions/habits/crutches do you fall back on when you’re feeling stressed?

breakfast, cities, culture, dinner, snacks

Weekend Roundup: Kale Salad to Electro-Goth Dance Parties

Here are a few things that I came to realize this weekend….in no particular order.

1) I only want meals in bowl-form lately.

 Breakfast

1.5 servings rolled oats cooked in soymilk for some extra protein, topped with 1/2 banana and 1/4 cup trail mix

Lunch

2 Whole Eggs Scrambled with Curry Powder, Mushrooms and Spinach. Served over a (buried) sweet potato and topped with 1/4 avocado, 1/4 cup hummus and some more trail mix

Dinner

Kale Caesar Salad from Live Organic Food Bar with Eggplant Bacon, Raw Croutons & Marinated Tempeh

2) Rest days are my new best friend.

The past week or so I have been taking more days off the gym than on because my life has been so hectic and I’ve been doing a lot of walking around the city on my search for a new place to live. Also a lot of anxious fretting…does that count as a workout? Anyways I was pretty sure my first day back this morning was going to be brutal but to my surprise I had much more energy and stamina than usual. I even managed to complete a set of full bridges (also known as full wheel in yoga or sometimes reverse pushups) which is huge for me. A lack of upper body strength made bridges the bane of my existence during my days as a dancer.

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This little personal success reminded me that giving your body extended time – not just a day but a whole week or two off – to rest and recover might be just what you need to avoid burning out and help you break through your own fitness plateaus.

3) I can still stay out past 2am.

Unlike many folks my age I wake up early. And do things. Things like cooking breakfast, reading the newspaper, moving my body in some way, grocery shopping and (very occasionally) cleaning my house. I get razzed about this all the time but honestly I like my morning routine and lovingly accept myself for the nerdy proto-grandma that I am. But I definitely can’t (nor would I want to) keep this schedule all the time…Sometimes it’s a Saturday night and one of your favourite bands is playing and your friends are out and you just want to dance till an unreasonable hour….


TRUST LP RELEASE PARTY @ WRONGBAR. TORONTO, ON.
[Source: PinkMafia]

STILL GOT IT.