Loving Lately: November Edition

november rain

Feeling curmudgeonly? Got a case of the post-halloween, pre-christmas blues?

Well never fear…Here’s a bunch of awesome stuff to help ease your early onset winter blahs.

1) THIS BACON: Vegan, coconut-based, gluten-free and generally mind blowing with its double whammy of delicious good-for-you-ness. If this is available in your hood I highly suggest buying it and adding it to everything you eat.

2) THIS INSTAGRAM: Okay maybe some of you already read @deliciouslyella but I’m obvz late to the party. While her blog is very lovely, I was totally inspired by her instagram feed full of these super tasty looking rainbow bowls. Since I almost exclusively eat my meals in thrown together bowl-form, I often forget about how important it is to appreciate each ingredient separately. Ever since seeing these beauty’s on Ella’s site, I’ve been putting in just a little extra time with my meal prep and the results have been glorious!

RAINBOW BOWL OF HEAVEN

3) MORE READS, LESS SCREENS. My new favourite thing is abandoning my phone and computer in the living room and keeping my room as a lady-cave of blankets, tea and solitude. Keeping me company right now is this fantastic new book by Dave Eggers.

4) MUSIC ALL THE TIME. My good pal turned me onto RDIO and I’m obsessed. Its basically Netflix for music so I can listen to new streaming music all the time without feeling like a bad person. Currently blaring: Haim, Arcade Fire, Lorde and FKA TWIGS, July Talk and DIANA.

5) THIS TOQUE. Note: not a “beanie.”

I’m obsessed with it and wear it everyday so I don’t have to brush my hair til spring basically. Yeee! :)

That’s all for the moment…what are y’all lovin lately?

 

 

Healthy Hipster Holiday Gift Guide 2012

20121207-125313.jpg

It’s no secret that holiday shopping can be stressful no matter who you’re buying for. But when you’re hunting for hipster-friendly fare this process can become downright panic-attack-inducing…

“They already judge me so harshly,” you will cry. “Will they be able to mask their disdain if I buy them something lame?”

And I hate to be the one to tell you this, but the answer is no.

Upon receiving that edition of Sh&% Girls Say: The Book or that package of magnetic poetry or that Instagram-Filter-Shaped Picture Frame you found at urban outfitters and thought was SO THEM, they will be absolutely incapable of acting like a normal grateful human being. They will say or do something douchey. Guaranteed.

So…in order to avoid such catastrophic Christmas mornings….To give both you and your Ativan a break…Here goes my list of suggestions for the Healthy Hipster in your life.

Unique & Non-Lame Gift Ideas for the Hip and Healthy Urbanite

Things in a stocking

Wool Socks
Loose Leaf Tea & a Bodum Mug

Bottlehook Key Chain

DIY Things

Stamps and Ink
Yarn and Knitting Needles
Cross Stitch Patterns

Tasty Things

High percentage dark chocolate
Whole nuts with a metal cracker
Preserves (check your local farmers market!)

Things they can wear

Moccasins
Black North Face Fleece
Geometric Jewellery

Tshirts or other swag from local businesses in their neighborhood (check out bars/restaurants/coffee shops/libraries)

Things you can make for cheap (and probably put in a mason jar!)

DIY Terrarium Gift Kit



Homemade Granola

Whipped Coconut Body Butter

Hope you enjoy the tips, pals!
Any additions? What’s on your list this year?

Wedded Blitz.

I need to preface this post by saying that I am not a romantic. Maybe I lack a lady chromosome or maybe it’s part of my job description as a self-identified hipster but the whole chocolate and flowers game has always sent me into scoff-induced seizures. I think its the elusive combination of trying too hard whilst simultaneously appearing forced and inauthentic that just…gets me every time.

I’m saying this because I want you to understand how truly shocked I was this week when not one but two weddings left me feeling genuinely moved (and dare I say a little misty blubbering like a babe).

The first was the wedding of my dearest friend Meg, who you may recognize from her guest posts on the blog.

Image

This wedding was lovely in so many ways but I’ll summarize by saying that it was perfect because it was perfectly them. An afternoon picnic. Games & crafts.

Image

20120808-085305.jpg
A diverse group of guests.

Image

Sickeningly sweet and wholesome (and obviously super nerdy). I loved every minute of it.

Image

The next wedding I attended was for my sisters good friends Nico and Max. A 1920s theme kept things light and fun, and again suited their personalities to a T.

20120808-082820.jpg

The bridesmaids stole the show (my sister especially on the far right ;) )

20120808-082846.jpg

But the groomsmen weren’t half bad either. Love a gentleman in suspenders.
20120808-082929.jpg

And once again I was left with a case of the warm fuzzies. Not because of the “romance” per se but because I value all paths to happiness, even the more shall we say traditional ones and I cant even express how inspired I feel when I see my friends out there pursuing the lives they want in a way that’s all their own. Personally, professionally, in any other way they choose.

These weddings were full of pure, unadulterated love without stress or convention. And I’m so grateful to have been a part of them.
20120808-082955.jpg

How do you feel about your friends getting married? Are you a sucker or a skeptic?

Summer Check-In.

These early weeks of July have been very good to me.

I’ve done my very best to leave my spare hours unplanned and pursue all unexpected adventures that come my way.

I started reading again (blogs don’t count ;) ). And spent more time in my bathing suit than out of it.

I’ve been enjoying meals out with friends without breaking my budget.

Who can argue with a breakfast special for $6?


Or a Korean bibimbap feast with spicy squid and tons of fresh vegetables for $8.

Thrifty lunches made at home and eaten al fresco help to balance the cost.

I’ve fit in some physical activity despite the heat, maybe twice or three times a week.

I don’t follow a schedule, just go for it when the weather’s right and the mood strikes.


And as always I’ve done my best to maintain balance by enjoying lots of rest and relaxation in the sunshine…collecting freckles.

Are you nurturing all sides of yourself this summer?

Could you be enjoying more social time? More rest? More intellectual stimulation? We’re only part way through July so now’s a great time to reflect for a moment and switch things up!

In the meantime go enjoy a lovely, leisurely Sunday!

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!

Summer, Unplanned.

To me, a dinner party isn’t something you plan for. It’s something that happens naturally amongst friends because conversations (and mid-afternoon libations) are flowing so easily that you can’t bring yourself to leave.

This weekend marked the official start to summer for me because I found myself stumbling into one of those impromptu suppers. I spent much of the afternoon strolling along the beaches the span across Toronto’s east side with a dear friend, climbing rocks and picking blades of grass and generally exploring the world in the same ways have since I was six years old.

After hours of beachside wandering we were thirsty and starving so we stopped into the local grocer’s to pick up some chicken and fresh asparagus for our summer meal.

If this afternoon has set the tone for my summertime adventures, I’m in for a very special season.

When was the last time you went plan-free? Where did your freedom lead you?

 

Get to Know a Healthy Hipster: Sass

First of all, I need to preface this by saying that when Sass Jordan agreed to be interviewed for this series I dropped my phone and squealed like an 11 year old year old at a Justin Bieber concert. Because back when I was a pre-pubescent Canadian tween searching for identity and acceptance, I looked up to Sass (along with other female CanRock icons like Alanis Morisette and Jann Arden) with equal admiration and abandon. There was something in those songs, a depth of emotion I had never known yet somehow knew to anticipate, that I found utterly captivating.

And now all these years later Sass continues to inspire me with her balanced approach to health and wellness…which is obviously paying off cause girl looks GOOD after years in a profession that tends to age people pretty quickly. I really hope you enjoy reading this as it was a real treat for me…and make sure to scroll to the bottom of this post for a video of some AMAZING vintage Sass power ballad action – SWOON!

Name: Sass
Occupation: Singer/Songwriter
Location: Planet Love, Canada

How would you describe your style of eating (eg. vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, flexitarian, omnivore, bacon-enthusiast)?

Well, I sure ain’t an omnivore – and I am lucky I have the choice not to be, thanks to where I live in the world at this time .. I would say I am vegetarian leaning toward vegan, although occasionally I might eat something that was made with eggs in it, like a pancake or pasta.

What are some of the must haves in your fridge/pantry?

Must have quinoa, brown basmati rice, lentils and rice pasta .. organic spinach, kale, apples, celery and chia seeds.

Favourite local bar/venue/party to blow off steam?

Hmmm .. my friend, Julia Hanna has a restaurant in Oakville called Ritorno that I like a lot.

Best place to caffeinate/hydrate?

There’s a place in Vancouver that I really like for coffee called Caffe Artigiano, but in Toronto it’s definitely Dark Horse Cafe on Spadina north of Queen Street.

Vintage Sass (Babe, much?)

Greatest hero of fiction? 

I can’t really pick one .. but today I’ll say Sir Francis Crawford of Lymond, from Dorothy Dunnett’s brilliant The Lymond Chronicles.

Style icon?

I guess it would be Noel Fielding from the Mighty Boosh and sometimes Steven Tyler

Favourite ways to get active?

Walking and rebounding .. I’m also into the Five Tibetan Rites.

Who were you in high school? 

A drop out. Definitely not a cool kid, although we thought we were. We smoked cigarettes and other things, and listened to music all day long, and plotted our future as rock stars.**uhhhmmmazing. 

You’re on death row, whats your last supper?

I wouldn’t be hungry.

Most played song on your ipod?

Changes constantly .. right now it’s Razed, by my band S.U.N.

(And just for Sass) Any sage words on how to strike a balance between healthy living and the ultimate hipster lifestyle: rockstardom? 

Well, rockstardom is not AT ALL a hipster lifestyle! It’s incredibly hard work, non-stop and utterly relentless. You have to put yourself and your health first, as much as possible. So, trying to get in some walking, trying to find vegetarian, organic places to eat .. it’s so unpredictable that it’s very difficult. Keep an optimistic attitude and drink a lot of water!

Thanks SO MUCH to Sass Jordan for participating in this series. As promised here’s a vintage Sass video I’m loving right now. And I definitely encourage everyone to check out her new band S.U.N as well as they head out on tour this summer!

“Yoga Freelancing”: A Guide to Self-Led Practice

I know I’ve been mentioning my heart-on for yoga lately so I thought it was about time I discussed exactly what that looks like for me. Much like my flexitarianism, my relationship to yoga is highly personalized and often awkward to explain. However I think I hit the nail on the head lately when I told a friend: I’m definitely not a yogi …more of a yoga freelancer.  

What I mean by that is that I love to practice yoga but I do so without a set studio, instructor or schedule. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the typical yoga studio experience but it just doesnt always suit my lifestyle, namely because it tends to be:

Costly.

No matter how you slice it, boutique yoga studios are expensive. And because yoga often supplements other forms of activity, the costs are typically above and beyond your already maxed out “fitness” budget.

Competitive.

I know many yoga studios now focus on a “non-competitive” atmosphere, but it’s still challenging not to compare yourself to others in the class. No matter how zen I get, there’s still a little Type-A voice in my brain telling me I should be going for that headstand…especially when that scrawny blonde over there is doing it and she could barely manage the proenza  bag she walked in with.

Inconvenient.

As far as timing goes, I’m never sure quite where yoga practice fits into my day. Evenings are already so busy and while early mornings would be ideal, there are virtually no studios near my apartment. **My neighborhood is still in those awkward early stages of gentrification where like, I know where to go for an almond milk latte but my bike’s still gonna get stolen while I’m ordering.

While these things could have put me off the mat completely, my new MO is to apply my DIY philosophy to my yoga practice which brings me to the main event here…

The Healthy Hipster’s Guide to Self-Led Yoga
(which you can practice at home, in the park or under a nearby waterfall…Im looking at you Portlanders…Portlandians?)


Note: It is important to attend guided yoga classes prior to practicing at home to ensure you understand how your body should be aligned in each posture. This will be important for avoiding injuries.

BASIC TIPS

1)      Set a time frame: How long do you realistically want to practice?

2)      Set specific physical goals: How do you want your body to feel at the end of your practice?
Eg. I want my core to feel stronger. I want my shoulders to feel more relaxed.

3)      Set an intention: How do you want to feel mentally at the end of your practice?
Eg. I want to feel

4)      Find a space where you feel comfortable completing your practice.

5)      Move through a basic routine, adding or adapting postures to meet the physical goal you’ve chosen for that day.

ROUTINE TEMPLATE
(Click to Print)

Adapted from here
For tips on additional poses or images of the ones I mention below Yoga Journal is a great resource. 

Warm up:

Seated deep breathing and move into cat/cow postures to stretch out your back.
Move through 5 rounds of sun salutations. On the last round remain on the ground.

1) Standing postures.
Choose 2-3 then repeat leading with your other leg.

Push up into downward facing dog, then step forward into a lunge. Raise arms above your head and hold this deep lunge for 5 breaths
Move into Warrior II, hold for 5 breaths. Move into reverse warrior hold for 5 breaths. Back to down dog.
Repeat on the opposite side.

2) Balance Posture:
Choose 1 and repeat on both legs.

Step forward and return to tree pose then move into a standing balance posture (opening your hips and resting your foot above or below the knee of the opposite leg, holding your foot then extending your leg out in front of you, etc.). Hold for 8-10 breaths.
Repeat on other leg.

3) Back Bends, Folds and Inversions
Choose 1-2 back bends followed by 1-2 folds and 1-2 inversion postures.

Use a sun salutation to bring you back to the floor, move into baby cobra and hold for 5 breaths releasing. Then full cobra and hold for 5 breaths.
Push into child’s pose for 3 breaths.
Transition from child pose to a seated forward bend. I like to hold for 5 breaths then release 3 times to really fall deeply into the stretch.
Extend and stretch your body along the floor then bring your legs up and over into plow pose (make sure you protect your neck and back by placing your arms on your lower back). Extend your legs up into the air if you feel comfortable doing so.
Add  wheel pose for serious strength and stretching.

4) Twists. 1-2, repeated on both sides.   

Laying on your back bring your knees down to one side, keeping your shoulders on the floor and gazing in the opposite direction. 5 breaths. Repeat on the other side.

Come into seated and move into a seated twist (my favourite one is called half lord of the fishes….it also has the best name)

Cool down:

5 minutes of savasana or relaxation pose.

And that’s it!

What are  your thoughts on self-guided yoga? Too intimidating? Or worth a shot? 

INSPIRATION & RANDOM ACTS OF NEON

If last week felt like carefree summer in Toronto, this week felt like nose-to-the-grindstone fall. The weather turned grey and drizzly, work got busy and hectic and the city went into a bit of a miniature hibernation. Despite my love for all things hustle bustle, it is often during these downtime days/weekends/weeks that I get the most inspired creatively. Perhaps that’s why I’ve almost exclusively chosen to live in grey, rainy cities (Amsterdam/Halifax/Prague/Oviedo/etc)

20120605-104900.jpg

Here’s a little rundown of how I channeled my creative chutzpah this week…

1) DIY PROJECTS: NEON ACCENTS

Vintage Granny Chair + DAYGLOW PIPING

20120605-103723.jpg

Neutral Colourblocked Vase + SAFETY ORANGE

20120605-103800.jpg

2) SIMPLE, COLOURFUL, BALANCED MEALS

Loaded up on kombucha.

20120605-103922.jpg

Oatmeal bowls made for me and my dad (topped his with organic yogurt, mine with extra nuts and berries)

20120605-104314.jpg

Lentil hummus and roasted veggie stuffed chard wrap with a pile of squash and sweet potatoes (possibly ate half of these directly off the baking sheet) and a redundant side of greens and chopped apple for crunch.


Baked salmon served on a mountain of roasted veggies (potatoes, squash and brussel sprouts)

20120605-104408.jpg

3) YOGA x A MILLION


One of the things I’ve enjoyed so far about my 6 x 6 plan is that it has encouraged me to listen more attentively to what I actually want to do rather than mindlessly following some fitness schedule. Some days this means hauling ass to the gym in the middle of my workday to sweat like. Other days it means leaving the gym behind and going for an evening walk with my bestie and her pup.

This week my body was craving yoga almost every day and I was more than happy to oblige. Of course by early Sunday morning it became clear why I’d spent the week in stretchy/gumby/relaxation mode…

6 x 6 Update

20120605-104553.jpg
Monday: 1 hr yoga class
Tuesday: ZILCH. I had no energy all day and couldn’t put my finger on why…
Wednesday: 75 minute super sweaty gym session. Full of beans. Random.
Thursday: 1 hr walk with my pal and her pup.
Friday: 1 hr Hot Hatha Yoga.
Saturday: 30 self-led morning yoga. 30 minutes cardio LIFE (hoofing it back to the city carrying 2 gigantic bags of laundry I did at my dad’s place…cause I’m a grown-up like that)
SUNDAY – MONDAY: Surfin the Crimson Wave (TMI?). But it explained all my wacky energy changes as well as my need for serious yoga/stretching time. Both of these days I put my plan on the back burner and gave my bod the rest it needed.

I did however complete multiple sets of the following circuit workout, which I highly suggest you try:

1) Dip a big piece of banana in almond butter
2) Dip nut buttery banana in vanilla coconut yogurt
3) Dip nut buttery, vanillafied banana in brown rice crispies
4) Douse in cinnamon
5) Nommmmm…..

Repeat this circuit to tummy fatigue.

Does dreary weather inspire you to get productive or does it leave you in a funk? How are you channeling your creative energies this week?

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.

20120525-142256.jpg
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.

20120525-142324.jpg
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.
br />;;
20120525-145001.jpg

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.

20120525-152129.jpg

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?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 535 other followers