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the healthy hipster


Self Care < Self Aware

Via @makerswomen

I’m a millennial and I work in social services so I understand and appreciate the need for self-care. I regularly ask my friends and coworkers how they plan to practice self-care after a hard week. But deep down I’ve also been grappling with the concept. First because I’ve seen folks use self-care as #justification for bad behaviour. And second because as a cisgendered white lady with a loving partner, a safe home and limitless access to kombucha, I wonder…is my life is really so exhausting? 

I am the type of person who could spend my entire life focusing on others. My mental space is crammed with family dynamics, work politics, friend drama, relationship drama, my friend’s family dynamics, work politics, relationship drama, etc. During the sparse hours of the day where I am off-work and not engaging with friends or family, I spend those hours watching Netflix (fictional friend drama) or scrolling through instagram (pseudo-friend drama). So basically – I’m never alone.

So what is “self-care,” then? And why do I need it so desperately? If you ask me, it’s all about self-awareness.

Self-awareness is the ability to look inwards, and to separate oneself from your environment and other individuals. I would venture that for many of us this is a skill we practice less and less. I am desperate for moments in my day where I can stop and pay attention to myself. To remember that I have a self to begin with. To stop rushing and check-in on my body. What horrible shape have I been contorting myself into at my desk all day? To check in on my mind. If I’m obsessing about others, what fear, anger or anxiety am I distracting myself from? To check in on my environment. What is happening in the real and natural world around me vs. the world on my screen?

So the next time you reach for that facemask, I’d encourage you to ask yourself: Am I doing this because I had a such a hard day? Is that (cough *victim*) narrative really accurate? Is it helpful? Or would it be more accurate to reframe these everyday acts of “self-care” as acts of self-awareness. For myself at least, this little cognitive shift has helped me a lot, particularly when it comes to avoiding the following things:

  • Splurging on $200 bucks of makeup at Sephora and calling it self-care
  • Bailing on my friends and calling it self-care
  • Binge watching 3 seasons of dawson’s creek and calling it self-care

You get the idea. 😉

There are many lists online that provide pages upon pages of self-care suggestions. So I won’t duplicate that here. Instead I’ll provide a few of my favourite SELF-AWARENESS practices.



  • ESSENTIAL OILS: Whether it’s a few drops on my wrists in the morning, or slathering myself in scented body oil at night I love how calm and grounded essential oils make me feel. I’ve been savouring a bottle of this body oil by Sunday’s Company Apothecary.   for the past few months.
  • STRETCHING: Just a few light neck stretches before bed or a sun salutation in the morning can be all it takes to remind me not to take my precious limbs for granted. This site has some great free videos if you wanna go deep with your stretches. This shoulder stretching sequence was lifechanging for me.


  • MEDITATION podcasts. I still spend many nights binging on too many episodes of dawson’s creek and passing out with my clothes on, but when I have my wits about me I take a few minutes before bed to calm my brain and it works really well for me. I should be meditating and Meditation Oasis are two personal favourites.


  • NATURE: Literally all it takes for me to reconnect with whatever lilith-fair-meets-sartre-meets-dr-quinn-medicine-woman version of spirituality I subscribe to, is to get myself to the closest piece of nature I can find.


  • ART: I wrote a whole post about how I channel art as a form of emotional expression. I’m no better than I was when I started and it still doesn’t matter one bit.
  • MUSIC: I’ve only recently realized what a tremendous impact music can have on my mood and how much I rely on it as a form of expression and release. Everyone’s got their thing but I’m just gonna leave this Selena Gomez song right here because it has been my song lately.




A few favourites to post today.

Alan Alda explaining the value of empathy. [HIDDEN BRAIN]

A self care fortune teller (see above) for those days when “everything feels difficult, including the daunting task of figuring out what to do to get yourself out of a funk.” [ROOKIE MAG]

An easy weeknight soba noodle salad for when you’re tired of spaghetti and bottled marinara. [PINCH OF YUM]

An argument for the value of kindness and caring in social justice movements via my sister via [TRUTH OUT]


Confessions of a “healthy living” blogger

© Petra Collins

It’s been 7 years since I started this blog and as with all relationships there comes a time when you need to “check-in,” assess where you’re at, set some new boundaries, maybe even make some apologies. Since I haven’t updated in over 2 years I think we’re long overdue.

When I started The Healthy Hipster  it was 2010 and I was a textbook millennial. Overeducated, underemployed, single, living in a rented flat above a Portuguese family of 8 and trying to come to terms with a version of adulthood that looked nothing like what I’d anticipated. As an overachiever throughout high school, college, grad school and more grad school, I was starving for my next A+. Unfortunately I found that those didn’t exist in the “real world.” There were too many of us out there but the opportunities were limited and reserved for those with the right connections.

With too much time on my hands I found myself on the internet a lot  and much of that time was spent reading “healthy living” blogs. I was obsessed with them. All of them. Because they were all the same. Large, high resolution photos of bright green salad bowls exploding with spiralized carrots as orange as Kraft Dinner, chia seed puddings exploding out of vintage mason jars and avocado slices thinly layered atop a seed-covered slice of gluten-free toast fill your screen. On the right side panel you see a photo of a beautiful, smiling woman framed in friendly turquoise box. She is in her mid-to-late twenties, with flawless skin, and she is holding a cornucopia of vegetables in one arm and a yoga mat in the other.

The tabs at the top of the screen told the whole story. They included things like: WORKOUTS; MY FITNESS JOURNEY; RECIPES; MY WEDDING; MY FAMILY; ABOUT ME. The stories started with an inviting, “Hi there! Thanks for visiting Sassy Moves or That Almond Butter Life.” Then they got straight to the transformation story. A sad, lonely girl who lost her unseemly college weight and found meaning in her life through a passion for kale and marathon running. Cut to the husband. Cut to the wedding pics. Cut to the impossibly large and immaculately designed suburban house. The baby. The post-baby weight loss. It was all so simple. A hot body and a new life purpose all for the price of a bag of baby carrots. 

So I started The Healthy Hipster which was “a chronicle of my version of ‘having-it-all.'” For me, that included eating lots of vegetables and taking care of my body through running, yoga and fitness but also having a social life, pursuing a career and saving money wherever I could. My goal was to tell a different kind of story. Of course, what happened, was that I told the same story.

This blog talks about fitness and food as synonymous with “health” which I now know to be wrong and misleading. It mislead even me. I focused the anxiety, fear and grief I was feeling over my life throughout twenties on the only things I thought I could control – my body, my self. And that, dear readers, is not very healthy at all.

Looking back I think I started a blog because it gave me the power to define my life, to write my own narrative. I started a blog about health because I wasn’t healthy. About happiness because I wasn’t happy. So that’s what it became. A strange combination of the best and worst parts of myself, of the truth and the lies that I told myself and others.

I feel a lot of empathy for the person I was when I started this blog and I’m proud of what it became over time. I learned, as I wrote, much more about mental health and came to define a “healthy lifestyle” very differently. These days I know I’m doing well when I’m spending outdoors, with family, building positive relationships, practicing self-care, pursuing creative projects and being a positive role model for younger women and those facing difficult life transitions like I did.

I may try to write here again sometime, about those things or new things or even a pancake recipe. Maybe not. But I’m grateful for everyone who listened. Who is listening. And I hope that maybe reading this makes you think back on all you’ve learned these past 7 years. The skills you’ve developed, the ways in which you’ve grown. I hope you look back with empathy towards your 23 year old self and you’re proud of how far you’ve come. 🙂



Pumpkin Spice Granola

It’s hard to keep your wits about you this time of year. The sun sets at what feels like 3pm. The wind chills. Sickness pervades. The stretch between now and December holidays feels longer than the rest of the year combined.


Leaning into cozy comforts like reading, candelit yoga, ginger tea and cedar incense helps me to get through these long dark stretches. I heard recently the Danish call this kind of holed-up coziness “hygge” but I just think of it as “every night of my adult life.”

Anyhow here’s a recipe I’ve been making and enjoying a lot lately. Simple, tasty and perfect for November mornings.


Pumpkin Spice Granola
inspired by the Minimalist Baker

  • 3 cups rolled oats 
  • 1 cup crushed almonds
  • 1 cup pepitas
  • 3 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • ¼ tsp of sea salt
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice 
  • 1/4 cup softened coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix the oats, nuts, seeds, spices, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Add maple syrup and coconut oil. Stir well to combine.
  3. Spread the mixture evenly onto a parchment lined baking sheet for 25 minutes. Turn the pan halfway through for even cooking.
  4. Once the granola is golden brown, remove from oven and let cool completely. It will crisp up as it cools.
  5. Store in an airtight container for a couple of weeks…or as long as it lasts.




mental health, reflections


I can’t pinpoint exactly when feelings went viral, but it happened. 


me, as a munchkin, feeling all the things

And now we’re surrounded by posts, memes, snaps, grams and vines that talk all about feels: catching feelings, having feelings, knowing feelings, getting hit in the feelings. You get the idea. Most of this feelings-based content hinges on the fact that it’s detached and irreverent. Feelings are the punchline.

But lately I’ve been wondering, since psychoanalysis taught us that humour is often a window to our unconscious, what are we really talking about when we talk about feelings online? Based on some very unscientific twitter, tumblr and instagram trolling I have learned that, most of the time, we are talking about 1 of 3 things:

  1. DRAKE.
    The king of pop-feelings. From his first mixtape, Drake was publicly mocked for talking about his feelings too much. However it was exactly this vulnerability (and his IDGAF attitude about it) that made him famous. Fans like to vicariously experience difficult emotions –  things like regret, nostalgia, loneliness, isolation – major themes in Drake’s music. It’s the same reason Kurt Cobain resonated with Gen X’ers. Or why I can’t stop playing that new Adele song even though I don’t like it. We struggle to express ourselves, to identify our emotions, and music helps us put words to what we don’t understand.
    The majority of #feelings on the internet are unsuprisingly related to crushes, breakups and relationships. “Catching feelings” is an especially common turn of phrase. And sure it’s pretty cute. I like the idea that emotions are something that overtake you – unexpected and often unwanted. The thing I don’t love is the negative connotation of “catching feelings.” If we think of feelings as a contagion, it perpetuates the idea that our natural state is somehow “neutral” or without emotions. Which is not true and sets people up for unrealistic expectations of both love and life. The reality is, emotional stability is something you will always have to contend with.
    Obviously teenagers rule the internet in a myriad of ways because they are so much better at it than the rest of us, but nowhere is their reign more supreme than the public expression of irrational emotion. Twitter – the epicentre of anonymous feelings – is full of teens who unabashedly post about their latest dramas. It’s so embarassingly, beautifully earnest. No thirty-something is going to post 80 updates in a day about the guy who won’t text them back, but a teenager will! They are saying what everyone else wants to say, but won’t because we are adults with self-respect and boundaries. Do yourself a favour and search #teenfeelings. It’s like a livetweeted bildungsroman.

Okay…then what aren’t we talking about?

I’m not breaking ground when I say that social media places a high value on positive emotions and experiences. An instagram post with you looking happy and full of joie de vivre will get you likes. But what happens when you’re not feeling so hot? The trouble is that with so much value placed on appearing positive, fun, outgoing and excited online we devalue and deny our negative emotions. And moreso, in our desire to connect and “be social,” we forget be alone with ourselves which gives us less time to identify and express those difficult emotions.

I think ultimately our fascination with feels and feelings is our attempt to experience and contend with emotions we’re uncomfortable with. Experiencing the intimacy of male friendship? Post a pic of you and your bro #feels. Struggling with the relationship between you and your mother? Post a review of the new Meryl Streep movie #feels. It’s our attempt to go there without really going there. 

And yet, safely expressing difficult emotions allows us to identify what’s causing them and to address those causes. This is an important – essential – coping skill that contributes to our overall mental health and well-being.

So, to wrap up this touchy feely post about feels, here are a few ways to express negative emotions…positively:

  1. Write them in a journal.
  2. Talk to a professional.
  3. Talk to a trusted friend.
  4. Draw or paint them

And once you’ve done those things? Learn from them. Make positive changes. And release them. Through exercise, dance, cooking, writing, painting, or (if you prefer) as hit records….like Drake 🙂

culture, reading




  • The Goldfinch, by Donna Tart.
  • How to Grow Up, by Michelle Tea.
  • Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, by Carrie Brownstein.
  • The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic, by Jessica Hopper.
holidays, recipes

How To Adult Halloween


My costume this year, courtesy of Queen Bey.

Halloween has never been my favourite October Holiday. I’m definitely more of a root-vegetables-and-pie kinda gal. But lbh any occasion that allows me to binge-watch movies while eating chocolate and playing dress-up is okay in my books. That said, as I get older I have found that some aspects of Halloween begin to change particularly the things I want to eat/do/wear/go home with. So here are some of the lessons I’ve learned over the years to ensure I have a great time on Halloween and don’t hate my life come November 1st.

DO’s and DONT’S of Adult Halloween

  • DO watch a horror movie (or 10). One of the best parts about grown-up Halloween is that you can finally watch all the horror movies you were too scared to watch as a child. Some of my all-time favourite gory/smart/creepy/weird/feminist/moody/campy horror movies include:
    • Rosemary’s Baby
    • Sleepaway Camp
    • Ginger Snaps
    • Scream
    • The Craft
    • Susperia
    • Death Becomes Her
    • Carrie
    • Hocus Pocus
  • DO hang out with kids at some point. This will keep you from feeling gross and empty, like the whole holiday is just a bleak excuse for adults to engage in adolescent debauchery. A tiny munchkin in an astronaut costume will cure all of that existential questioning right up for you.
  • DO NOT “dress to impress”. Sexy and/or elaborate costumes are fun but they hinge on the validation of others which is a variable you can’t control. I suggest wearing a costume that’s fun, comfortable, utilizes items in your own wardrobe and doesn’t cost more than $50 to make happen. Then spend the whole night telling everyone else how great they look in their awkward pleather skirt, madonna bra and full face of MAC skull makeup.
  • DO NOT go to a party that isn’t walking distance from your house. If you’re anything like me you can’t enjoy a party unless you have an easy escape plan and since cabs are impossible to find after midnight on Halloween and uber fees go through the roof…best to just stay in your hood.
  • DO enjoy a few of your favourite sweet treatsWhich is where I come in!




  • 12-15 medjool dates, the softer the better. 
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup salted peanuts
  • 1 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. Boil a few inches of a water in a medium sized saucepan. Place chocolate chips in a metal mixing bowl and set on top of sauce pan. This DIY double-boiler will melt your chocolate but keep it from burning.
  2. Pit dates making sure to keep the date in one piece.
  3. Press 2 salted peanuts into each date then fill date with peanut butter and smoosh shut. It won’t be pretty but that’s a-okay! Continue until all dates have been filled.
  4. Dip dates into melted chocolate using a fork or slotted spoon. Place on a wax paper lined baking sheet. To speed the cooling process place baking sheet in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  5. Store in the fridge/freezer, but enjoy these treats at room temperature so that they are nice and soft when you bite into them! Enjoy.
holidays, recipes



Last night I cooked my first Thanksgiving dinner as an adult. It broke tradition in many ways. I shared the meal with my friends, not my family. No turkey was present. We ate on the floor (who has space for a dining room table?) But there as candlelight, cuddling and conversation that wasn’t about work or kids or real estate. It was the Thanksgiving I’ve been wanting to have for years.

Your friends are the people who are there for you every day. Who take care of you when you falter, which in my case is more often than I’d like. Who get your jokes and make you laugh so hard you spill your wine. Nothing against my incredibly loving and supportive family, but on this occasion it felt so good to sit with the people I share my life with, get drunk and eat pumpkin pie.


Here’s what was on my menu:

  • Bourbon glazed pecan, apple and spiced chickpea salad
  • Roasted carrots and brussel sprouts
  • Wild rice and mushroom stuffing
  • Maple Salmon


Continue Reading




Every season has two opposing sides for me, feelings-wise.

In the wintertime I waver between self-acceptance and depression. Spring is an insufferable combination of optimism and restlessness. Summer is liberation and crippling FOMO. And fall…well fall is the season of wistful introspection and harsh self-criticism.

Questions I’m plagued with between September and November:

  • Am I living up to my potential?
  • Is this where I wanted to be by [insert whatever young age I am that I’m convinced is ANCIENT]?
  • Should I go back to school?
  • If I’m in a relationship, is it the right one?
  • If I’m not in a relationship, what am I doing wrong?
  • Are the dysfunctional dynamics of my family ever going to change or improve?
  • Will mom make me gluten-free stuffing at Thanksgiving this year?

In an effort to help those of you who may be struggling with these and other soul-crushing questions, I thought I would share a few of the strategies I’ve developed to help survive my pumpkin-spiced feelings:

  1. LEAN IN. 
    One of my favorite ways to manage fall feelings is to completely indulge them. Get wistful af. Watch reflective seasonal movies like Hannah and her Sisters, Harold and Maude, Home for the Holidays, Stepmom (whatever I love that movie). Call an old flame. Facebook stalk your college self. It might prompt you to remember things like: being a student kind of sucked, your old friends were alcoholics, being young is fun but being old and smart is SO MUCH better, and so on.  Sometimes a trip down memory lane is exactly what you need to feel confident and comfortable with where you’re at right now.
  2. TRAVEL.
    I rarely recommend travel as an emotional solution because – like drinking, binge-watching Nashville or obsessing over a new crush – your problems will still be there when you come back to reality. But sometimes hopping a plane, train or automobile is just what you need to gain perspective and self-respect during times when you are being harshly critical of yourself and your life decisions. Traveling alone often helps me remember how free and self-determining I truly am.
    Often fall feelings are prompted by the fact that everyone around you seems to be bettering themselves by going back to school. Whether it’s fresh-faced college kids or that girl at your work who just picked up and went to med school (!), it’s hard not to feel left behind by it all. One thing that can often make me feel better during these periods is to make a concerted effort to reengage my brain. Join a book club, listen to a science podcast, add the new yorker to your morning blog rotation. Something that leaves you feel engaged, energized and less like a strung-out netflix drone.
    I probably suggest this too much but trying something new is also a great way to shake off the autumn blahs. Cooking. Crafting. Painting. Climbing. Yoga-ing. Rowing. Running. Activities in general are, in my opinion, the healthiest form of emotional diversion.
    This is key, particularly as you move from autumn into the holiday season. When people ask what you are up to these days it can often trigger negative, self-deprecating responses unless you have something tangible like a new job, partner or house to talk about. So I encourage you to write down a list of all the things you do that actually make you happy right now and when people ask you what you’ve been up to, be honest. Some examples I’ve used in the past: “I started painting,” “I’ve been hanging out with my awesome niece and she’s the best,” “I’ve been really good at balancing work and friendships lately,” “I just wrote a really elaborate grant proposal,” etc.  I know it’s dorky, but when you take the time to tell your story in an authentic way, you take control over a conversation that might have otherwise left you feeling bad about yourself.
blogs, culture, reading

Friday Reading

Let’s face it. The first week of work in September is always a slog. Summers over and you never did get to that cottage. Fall is in the air and you start thinking…maybe I should go back to school (probably you shouldn’t). Regardless, there’s no way any of you are going to be productive after 3pm today. So here are some links to keep you occupied…
These drawings by Aiden Koch.
Karly’s defense of Tinder and hookup culture.
This scathing inditement of positive affirmations.
This sweet reflection on the benefits of traveling solo.