Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Checking In

It's been over two years since I made my 101 in 1001 list, which you can find it here.  It's really insane how time flies.  I mean, it doesn't help that I spent nearly 3 months last year unable to move or get anywhere on my own, and then once I could I had three jobs and did little else for the rest of the year.  Everything after June of 2016 is pretty much non-existent in my memory.  

But I did take a look at my list yesterday and was pleasantly surprised to find that I checked off a number of items completely unintentionally.  The idea was to complete these items by October 2017, which realistically is just not going to happen, which is why I think the list is SO long.  It gives you some wiggle room.  Even if you only accomplish half of the list you still completed 50 items, which is a totally respectable number. 

Some items are now totally irrelevant to my life, and some are just impossible to complete before October.  But here's a run down of some items I did complete and what I loved about them. 

63. Read 30 minutes a night for 30 nights - I've always been a big reader but was finding I would go for long periods without picking up a book.  And then once I did I would become obsessive and stay up till 1am reading.  I put this one on the list because I wanted to get back to a regular reading routine.  The timing of starting this one coincided with my accidental break from caffeine, but I think these two habits have made it really easy for me to fall asleep at night. 

86. Take Mum on a trip - In 2014 I went to my first Supernatural convention and clearly remember calling my Mum on Saturday morning and telling her how badly she needed to come with me next year.  I just knew she would love it.  So, for the 2015 convention I surprised her by buying her a Gold ticket.  Sure, it's not a "trip" per say, but it was a get away, and cost me about the same.  The icing on the cake was how much fun she had, we even went again in 2016. 

89. Run a 5K - When I put this on my list I don't know if I had even run 1Km at once.  But it was something I had always wanted to try.  Being a "runner" just sounded so romantic to me.  I didn't train nearly as much as I wanted to, but I did make it through the finish line!  I left wanting to train more, and run more and longer races, but sadly dislocated my knee cap a few months later.  Running still isn't an option for me right now.  Maybe I'll put "Run a Marathon" on my next list. 

So far I've completed 19 items on my list.  A few more are actually in progress and I know they will get checked off in the next couple of months.  I'm definitely excited to see where I end up in October.  I know a few items will carry on to my next list, which isn't a huge blow for me.  I really went into writing the list with the intention to do it all, but somewhere in the last two years I've become much more relaxed, which I think is a bonus. 

Monday, 13 March 2017

A Life Without Coffee?

I LOVE coffee.  Like, a lot.  One of my first jobs was at Starbucks where I would be downing espresso at 5:30 am and wouldn't stop caffeinating until late at night.  So how come I haven't had a cup in nearly 6 weeks?  It was kind of an accident honestly.

For years I've had this romantic notion of what it would be like to give up coffee, I don't know where it came from but I've tried to go just 7 days without coffee and would give up usually by day 3 when the headaches got particularly nasty.  I would tell myself it wasn't a big deal, coffee was just a part of who I was and I just needed to accept that.

I remember my last cup of coffee, it was on January 31st, I was heading home from Toronto and stopped at Tim Hortons to get myself through the 3 hours drive ahead.  I wasn't feeling great that day, and by the time I got home I was sick.  I spent the next 4 days mostly in bed with a bad cold and didn't eat or drink much more than some Gatorade.  Next thing I know I hadn't had a cup of coffee in a week, but the weirdest part was that I didn't actually miss it.  I wasn't craving it, I didn't have any withdrawal headaches (well, I probably did but I was on meds for the cold and sleeping most of the time).  I found myself waking up in the morning and not immediately reaching for the coffee pot which was pretty refreshing honestly.

I haven't put a whole lot of thought into why I don't drink coffee any more, but most importantly I don't put any pressure on myself to not have it.  I just don't drink it.  Sure, it can be weird sometimes, especially going out for breakfast with friends.  But I'm determined to not make too big a deal of it.

Here are a few differences I've noticed in myself since I stopped drinking coffee.
  • I drink WAY more water.  And I drank a lot of it before.  Instead of reaching for a cup of coffee when I wake up I go for a big glass of water.
  • My skin is slowly clearing up.  I've been dealing with pretty severe adult acne for a year and a half, and it's finally starting to look better.  I am mostly attributing this to the fact that without coffee I've cut out the sugar and milk that go along with it.
  • I sleep like I've never slept before.  My whole adult life I've struggled with sleeping to the point of having to go for a sleep study.  Now, I fall asleep really easily and don't wake up until morning.  If I do wake up during the night it's usually at about 4am which means I'm getting a solid 5 hours before waking.  And when I do wake up at this time it's only for a minute or two.
  • I don't start my day bloated from that first cup of coffee on an empty stomach.
I'm not saying that I will never drink coffee again, and I do still crave it once in a while.  But for right now I'm really happy with how I feel with out it.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016


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Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Here we go!

Alright, here we go, the start of my 3 week adventure starts now!  

I'm currently waiting at the gate to take off for Nashville, I get to hang out and explore the city for 2 days before I hunker down at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel for the weekend to represent Random Acts at the Supernatural convention.  Monday I have an awesome volunteer event planned where we get to work with Mother to Mother, a Nashville nonprofit that I have totally fallen in love with.  Then I head back to Toronto and work Tuesday-Friday.  Friday night I hop on a bus and arrive in NYC Saturday morning to work on AMOK with Justin Guarini’s amazing team, and a few of my co-workers.  It’s going to be a full day of kindness activities and then Sara and I get to take in Zach Levi’s new show, She Loves Me.  Sunday morning I hop back on a bus and back to Toronto to work Monday - Wednesday.  Then Thursday I get on another plane this time to Las Vegas to attend another Supernatural convention until Sunday night when I finally fly home.  

It’s an absolutely crazy feat, but I could not be more excited.  Not only do I get to visit 2 cities that I have never been to, but I also get a chance to meet a friend I have known for almost 2 years but never met, and I get to see friends who I have only met briefly at VanCon last year!  

How did this become my life?  I’ve always really loved to travel, but I have never considered myself a get setter by any means.  But now it really feels like this is my life.  I’m totally comfortable about travelling, airports don’t freak me out any more, I don’t get anxious that everything is going to turn out exactly right.  

I think this is mainly due to the 2015 intentions that I set for myself.  My main goal was to say yes to more opportunities.  This subsequently led to bigger things that I had always wanted for myself but were never really a part of my character.  I found myself more relaxed in new situations.  I found myself seeking out new people to talk to.  And most importantly, I found myself “going with the flow” way more than was my norm.  These changes in my self didn’t only apply to travel.  I’ve found that I am a much more flexible person in my daily life.  It’s most obvious when people point out that I react differently to situations than they would expect me to.  It was then that I realized that I managed to make a lasting change in my life.  

You don’t have to be the person that you are today for the rest of your life.  If you don’t feel completely comfortable or satisfied in the version of yourself that you put out to the world, you can make a change.  The thing that you have to remind yourself of is that you cannot change the fiber of who you are over night.  This was a change that I made on a tiny level every single day for over a year.  I’m not saying that it’s totally engrained in me just yet, but if I continue to make small decisions in my day to day life I will hopefully someday stop thinking about it, and find that I am the best version of myself.  For myself.  

Sunday, 4 January 2015

101 in 1001

This list is inspired the always amazing Mackenzie Horan. Her blog, shop and instagram are constant inspirations in my life. Check out her list here.

The whole idea here is to set a number of goals to accomplish in 1001 days, which is just under 3 years if you were curious. Essentially it is somewhere between a to-do list and a bucket list. Check out my 101 items below.

begin: Sunday 4 January 2015
end: Sunday 1 October 2017

1. Come up with 101 items
2. Put $20 into savings for every item completed
3. Find the perfect Little Black Dress
4. Send Rob Benedict a letter April 2015
5. Get personal 'business' cards
6. Go rock climbing
7. See a movie at TIFF
8. Skate 10 times in 1 winter
9. Go back to school and graduate
10. Learn to tie a bow tie
11. Donate to a Kickstarter campaign Jason Manns
12. Throw a themed party
13. Make a scrapbook
14. Take a sailing lesson
15. Journal every day for 30 days Jan 2017
16, Go "raw" for 7 days
17. Read my bible every day for 6 months
18. Attend a fashion show
19. Take a ballet class
20. Go snow-shoeing
21. Play a game of golf
22. Save 15% of my income for 6 months
23. Host Christmas Dinner Dec 2016
24. Take an all-inclusive vacation
25. Throw a surprise party
26. Gather friends/family contact info into an address book
27. Get a camera
28. Buy fresh flowers weekly for a month
29. Wash my face every night for 30 days
30. Drink only water for 30 days
31. Read five personal development books
32. Complete/Try 5 Pinterest DIY projects
33. Become a Portuguese citizen
34. Pay at least 50% of my OSAP off
35. Be an extra in a TV Show or Movie
36. Make a souffle
37. Crochet a blanket
38. Pay it forward
39. Mail birthday card to at least 5 members of my GISHWHES team
40. Send flowers to someone out of the blue
41. Make fresh croissants
42. Go meatless for 30 days
43. Complete a Love God Greatly Bible Study
44. Meet a GISHER in person Ellie, TorCon 2014
45. Take Mum & Pai to Medieval Times April 2016
46. Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen
47. Visit Zia Josie in Sicily
48. Join a book club
49. Go to a wine tasting Niagara Wine Tour June, 2015 & FWP at university Club oct, 2015
50. Take my friends to high tea
51. Go on a hike June 2015 with Hannah and April at Petroglyphs Park
52. Do not drink alcohol for 30 days
53. Host a games night
54. Own 10 board games/card games (1/10 - Cards Against Humanity)
55. Watch the sun rise at the lake Whistler, Oct 2016
56. Do a Polar Bear Plunge
57. Attend a tennis match
58. Go to a drive in movie
59. Watch 5 plays/musicals (She Loves Me, April 2016)
60. Take a staycation
61. Try 20 new restaurants Forgot to keep track, but I'm positive I've done it)
62. Make someone I love breakfast in bed
63. Read 30 minutes a night for 30 nights (Jan/Feb 2017)
64. Unplug completely for 24 hours
65. Spending freeze for 30 days
66. No take out/fast food for 30 days
67. Take guitar lessons/learn 1 song on guitar Mountain Thyme, Wagon Wheel
68. Sweat every day for 30 days
69. Take 10 spin classes
70. Learn Portuguese
71. Go to a comedy show Montreal, June 2016
72. Learn ASL/Have an ASL conversation
73. Have $2000 in RRSP's
74. Spend 2 weeks in London (UK)
75. Donate 25 handmade items Headbands to Covenant House
76. Visit a new city San Diego, July 2015
77. Send custom Christmas cards
78. Learn to make Macaroons
79. See 10 "classic" films
80. Go skydiving
81. Learn to make a sock monkey hat
82. Buy a designer dress
83. Send 50 hand-written notes
84. Have $2500 in my saving account
85. Take Pai on a trip
86. Take Mum on a trip TorCon 2015
87. Read 5 classics
88. See a National Football League game live
89. Run a 5k May 2016
90. Read 3 Jane Austin books
91. Ski or Snowboard
92. Go away for NYE
93. Get a second tattoo Reunion, May 2015
94. Host a brunch
95. Go winter camping
96, Have a late night picnic
97. See a ballet
98. Leave a 100% tip on a bill over $50
99. Have a spa day
100. Do yoga daily for 1 month
101. Visit Portugal with my sister

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

The mighty Quinoa

I love Quinoa. 
No joke, some days I have had it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 
Not only is Quinoa one of the mightiest of the "Superfoods", it is also delicious and versatile. 

Today I wanted to share with you my method for cooking Quinoa. I have tried many different ways over the years and have found that this one truly comes out the best. 

Happy Cooking :) 

1 cup Quinoa 
1-2 tablespoons Olive Oil 
1-2 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 Bay leaf
2 cups water 

Firstly, you MUST rinse your Quinoa. Use a fine mesh strainer and run it under water while rubbing the quinoa between your hands for about 2 minutes. This will drastically change the flavour of your cooked quinoa. 

Next, in a pot at least 4 cups large, heat your garlic and bay leaf in the oil just until it becomes aromatic. Add the quinoa to your pot and allow it to toast for about 2 minutes, you want your quinoa to dry out a little bit. Now add your water and allow it all to come to a boil. 

Once it is boiling put a lid on your pot and reduce the temperature to low, set your timer to 15 minutes. When your timer goes off, remove the pot from the heat and allow it to sit for another 5 minutes, covered. Then remove the lid and fluff your perfectly cooked quinoa with a fork. 

The great thing about Quinoa is that once it is cooled you can refrigerate and use it up for 4-5 days. Not only does it re-heat really well but you can also use it cold in salads. 

I've got a tonne of Quinoa recipes up in this brain of mine and I am looking forward to sharing them with you! 

What is your favorite way to use Quinoa? 

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Easy Peasy Bacon & Olive Penne

My Dad is a great cook. Really great. 

Most of my visits to my parents house tend to revolve around food and wine. The last two days have  been no different. 

Friday night we had pepper steak with asparagus. Last night we had rack of lamb and duck breast with vegetables. Both really incredible meals. So for lunch today I thought I would try my hand at one of my dad's recipes. 

I present to you Bacon & Olive Penne 

(Sorry for the not great picture, 
decided at the last minute I wanted to share this recipe)

You will need (for 4 servings, this translates really easy to larger or smaller servings)

3.5 cups of tomato sauce 
4 cups cooked pasta (al dente)
1/4 cup seasoned black olives, chopped 
7 slices cooked bacon
A few tablespoons of fresh parsley, chopped

In a large pan, begin to heat tomato sauce over medium heat. Stir in olives and pasta, reduce heat to low, simmer about 5 minutes. Using a pair of scissors, cut bacon into the pan. Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Serve and enjoy! 

You may notice that there is no salt or pepper in this recipe. The bacon and olives both have plenty of salt and the olives also tend to have some chilli pepper or other spices on them. 

I really really love how easily this recipe comes together, at my parents house all of these ingredients are readily available so it never takes more than 15 minutes to prepare.