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inspiration

dinner, inspiration, photojournal, reflections

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?

 

inspiration, profile

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!

diy, fitness, inspiration

“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? 

6 x 6 SUMMER SHAKE UP CHALLENGE, breakfast, dinner, fitness, inspiration, photojournal, snacks

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)

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

1) DIY PROJECTS: NEON ACCENTS

Vintage Granny Chair + DAYGLOW PIPING

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Neutral Colourblocked Vase + SAFETY ORANGE

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2) SIMPLE, COLOURFUL, BALANCED MEALS

Loaded up on kombucha.

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

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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)

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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

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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?

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?

6 x 6 SUMMER SHAKE UP CHALLENGE, fitness, inspiration

6 x 6 SUMMER SHAKE-UP CHALLENGE!

Good morning, lovelies!

While it might look like and feel like summer outside, in my mind we’re not in the thick of it until July 1st when the temperature skyrockets and the city air turn that familiar hazy yellow. So, in anticipation of the summer months I’ve decided to embark on a new SUMMER SHAKE-UP CHALLENGE. Notice how I said SHAKE up and not SHAPE up? That’s because while I’ve borrowed the 6 week countdown idea from all those beach-body/eat-nothing-but-steamed-cauliflower-til-september workout plans, that will be as far as the similarities go.

MY COMMITMENT:

To move my CONSCIOUSLY move my bod in new and challenging ways 6 DAYS A WEEK for 6 WEEKS leading up to the summer season!

  • Time: No set time. I will aim for 60 minutes/day, but am already resigned to the fact that an hour will not always fit my schedule. If 20 minutes is all I have, it is enough and it is excellent.
  • TypeDiversity is CENTRAL to this plan. Since my body is always happiest when I am doing a mix of strength, cardio & stretching I will work on balancing these areas throughout the 6 days. I will continue with the activities I currently enjoy but try to add in some new ones for fun and variety. As it stands my plan will include a happy blend of the following:

bodyweight strength training (at home and/or at the gym)
– yoga
– HIIT style cardio in the form of sprinting and skipping (at home/outside)
– kickboxing
– freeweights (at the gym)
– sports
– walking/hiking.

FAQ:

This sounds too easy, why choose this approach as opposed to a more detailed workout schedule?

In my experience, consistency keeps me in the best physical and mental shape when it comes to my workouts. If I start getting too goal-oriented aroundexactly how much cardio I get in or how intense my workouts should be I always end up feeling disappointed and often bail on workouts out of frustration. BUT when I set flexible, attainable goalsjust a little something everydayI actually enjoy what I’m doing and the motivation to push myself naturally follows.

What do you mean by moving “CONSCIOUSLY”? I thought you said you were a “hipster” not a “hippie”!

Touche. But let me explain. We all move our bods a little bit every day but we don’t always think about these actions as contributing to our overall health or fitness. Walking around the office, making breakfast, running to the bus, etc. are all physical (Cardio LIFE as I often call it) but we overlook them because they seem mindless and incidental. On other hand, a “conscious effort” is a physical activity we participate in for no reason other than its benefit to our bodies and health. I believe that the feelings of satisfaction, self-worth and empowerment we derive from fitness are as much a result of the decision to act as they are from the action itself. So in the end it doesn’t matter whether your decision is to take the stairs to your apartment or to the top of the CN Tower, once you’ve made that decision and follow through, you’ve won. At life.

I’ll do my best to keep you posted on all the movin and shakin I’ve been doing, the eats that will be fueling all this newfound activity chutzpah & of course keep writing about other important stuff too, just to keep it all in perspective.

SO WHADDYA SAY? ANYONE ELSE WANT TO JOIN THE 6 X 6 SUMMER SHAKE UP CHALLENGE?
I’d love to have some partners in crime! 

CLICK HERE to download a printable worksheet so you can follow along and fill in your own 6 x 6 challenge updates!

breakfast, inspiration, reflections

The Healthy Hipster Report Card

Well hello, lovelies! It’s been far too long but as I mentioned in my last post I have been keeping very busy lately getting acclimated at my new job and adjusting to the 9-2-5 lifestyle. Nevertheless I press on, doing my best to get past yet another period of transition, excited to find my rhythm once again.

Since I am going through transition (and its springtime to boot) I figured what better time to reflect a little on what exactly the “Healthy Hipster Lifestyle” really is? When I started the blog I think I focused largely on the mainstream understanding of health…food & fitness. But what kind of hipster would I be if I was satisfied with mainstream anything?

Now I find that when I need to check in with myself…give a little self-assessment…a report card if you will…that I divide up Healthy Hipsterdom into 5 Categories…

  1. Eats: Am I eating well? Enough? Mindfully? Am I enjoying the meals I eat? Am I eating a diversity of food?
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    My breakfast this morning: an egg white, avocado & dijon wrap in a brown rice tortilla with a side of spinach and berries.

  3. Activity: Am I moving my bod? Am I being consistent? Am I balancing structured workouts with sports, recreation and cardio LIFE?
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  5. Balance: Am I seeing friends? Enjoying a wide range of cultural and social activities? Have I become a crotchety hermit?
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    Me and my bestie at a magazine launch I hosted this past weekend.

  7. Thrift: Am I conscious of my financial priorities? Am I overspending on disposable items (take-out, cheap clothes, etc.)? Am I spending on the items that matter (health, home, savings)?
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    Ahem…Not in this lifetime. Looks like my salvaged wood furniture will actually have to come an actual barn not the pottery kind!

  9. Sanity: Am I taking time to myself? Am I dealing with my shit or just distracting myself (see items 1-4)?

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Taking time to reflect & notice the little things….e.g. hidden bike gardens!

Do these questions resonate with you too? How do you measure up on the Healthy Hipster Report Card?

inspiration

womens day//everyday

Today I was rummaging through some old magazines and I found this photo of gloria steinem that i salvaged from my sisters garbage can when i was 14, put up on my wall & didn’t take down for 10 years…

I think it was an international womens day miracle.
Who were your female role models growing up and who inspires you today?

inspiration, profile

Get to Know a Healthy Hipster: Ryan

I am so excited to be sharing another profile today for my “Get to Know a Healthy Hipster” series and trust me this is a great one! I met Ryan when I was 5 years old and we were the only kids living on an organic farm/”intentional community”/hippie commune in rural Ontario. Since then he has become one of the most consistently inspiring people in my life, not to mention my dearest friend. As you will see from his responses, he is equal parts open-hearted, quixotic & depraved, which (if you’ve never witnessed it) is a truly captivating combination…

To read more about this series check out this post.

Name: Ryan
Occupation: Author of On Growin’ Up, Twitter-Enthusiast, Video-Editor & Public Speaker
Location: Cabbagetown, Toronto

How would you describe your style of eating?

Certified Yum-Yum Specialist. I had an eating disorder (way back) in high school, so I think that any rules of what I can and cannot eat are unhelpful. For me. If i want it, I eat it. Yum yum.

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

Grainy mustard, balsamic vinegar, sea-salt, coffee, pepper, coloured sugar *in paint tins*, garlic, fresh limes.

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

I enjoy the Beaver and Buddies in Bad Times when heading out, although truth be told, it’s all about the people I’m with. I’ve also had fun singing the only English karaoke song at a Midsummer barn party near Heinola, Finland…

Me and Ryan at the Yves Saint Laurent Luminato opening gala event last year. Best. Date. Ever.

Best place to caffeinate/hydrate?

I caffeinate (much to the baristas’ dismay) at either Mylk Uncookies or Jet Fuel Coffee. Although, I also venture to F’Coffee near Queen and Broadview when I want a fantastic grilled cheese sandwich, wonderful banter with the owner Rob, and the best chocolate f’cookie there is.

Ryan takes his overpriced coffee beverages as seriously as I do.

Greatest hero of fiction?

Who reads (fiction) anymore? ducks under rocks and behind the place where people borrow things for several weeks and return them, even more used…oh yeah a libary. I’ve always thought that Karana from Scott O’Dell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins was pretty neat. She had lots of courage and was more resourceful than MacGyvor. Oh, and MacGyvor second.
**Can I just say right now this is one of my all time favourite books and Ryan BLEW ME AWAY with this response. Seriously amazingtown.

[Source]

Favourite ways to get active?

I like the idea of boxing. So I joined a gym and had the crap boxed out of me. Thank God for yoga to ease those emotional and physical bruises. Although, I am gonna run a marathon at some point and maybe go back to boxing. I felt pretty tough, for about 7 min.

Who were you in high school?

I was a bit of an emo child who was certain no one liked him. And then, when my yearbook was full of signatures (do people still do that?) I decided that everyone in the school was conspiring against me to make me think I was popular, when in fact I wasn’t. What a great way to feel! Luckily, I left high school and joined the workforce, where these pathetic insecurities could rage onwards endlessly. Just kidding, I work for myself. 😉

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

I have been going crazy with salads lately. I put a huge handful of lettuce-or-equivalent into a bowl and then make a maple-balsamic-grainy mustard-sesame oil dressing *add those to my pantry must-haves* and then load on whatever I want. Usually avocado. Today: wild rice, soft boiled egg, and some pepitas. One thing’s for certain, whether I’m over my Salad Phase or not by the time I’m on death row, I won’t want to die with Chicken Parmesan and some garlicy linguine breath. No one will want my organs after that.

Most played song on your ipod?

Robyn’s Show Me Love, performed live in Stockholm. 2nd most played: B4-4’s Get Down.

**I must add here that there was once a day when me and Ryan shared ipod headphones and sang Robyn songs at full volume whilst skipping down College St. arm in arm for the better part of an hour. #SoulMates.

And in case you’re not feeling inspired enough…check out this video Ryan made a few years back in response to the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty…If this doesn’t make your Sunday, I don’t know what will.

breakfast, inspiration, recipes

Ira Glass Loves Oatmeal

Okay so I can’t say that with any authority. But I offer you this as evidence:

I love oatmeal. And I love listening to Ira Glass in the morning while I eat my oatmeal. So my 6am powers of deductive reasoning tell me that Ira Glass must love oatmeal. Why else would he spend so much of his time recording episodes of This American Life just to entertain me during the hours that I’m wide awake on weekend mornings but no one else has even kicked off their covers? Riddle me that.

Crockpot Steel Cut Oats

  • 3 cups water, 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
Combine ingredients in your slow cooker and cook on low overnight. Makes 4 thick, creamy, delicious servings.

My breakkie today: 1 big cup of oats mixed with 1 scoop of sun warrior protein powder and topped with a bit of maple syrup, frozen berries, cinnamon granola and drippy almond butter.

[Back to Ira]

This morning as I was eating the above bowl of deliciousness, I stumbled across this quote from the man himself and I thought it was worth sharing. Whether you’re a writer, an artist, a mother, a teacher or an espresso slinging barista I think that the struggle to live up to your own high expectations is something we’ve all experienced. It’s certainly something I’m coming up against now as I’m smack dab in the middle of my quarter-life-crisis.

Source

Swoon. Have a lovely Saturday!