Tuesday, 22 April 2014

24th Birthday

This past Sunday was my birthday, and I feel like it totally snuck up on me! Normally I anticipate my birthday months in advance, be a birthday brat about it and constantly remind my family that it's soon my birthday. This year, I lost track of time and actually forgot that I was aging another year. Yikes, I'm getting old.

The lover and I went out to the Blue Door for supper. We started with wine (duh) and I turned 12. I am clearly not emotionally ageing, just physically. 

I wanted to go to the Blue Door specifically for their spicy peanut tofu dish. It was great, but they used angel hair pasta instead of soba noodles, which I didn't love.

Kaylee got the edamame risotto, which she highly recommends.

For dessert I demanded that we order the chocolate brownie. I'm glad we did, because I am unable to pleasure Kaylee the way that brownie did. It was phenomenal, stop whatever you're doing right now and go eat that brownie. While you're at it, order me two. 

Once we recovered from the brownie, we headed to the Delta for drinks with friends, and then a sleepover. Kaylee has a horseshoe up her butt, because she won a free stay at the newly renovated Delta, and being the angel that she is, decided to spend it on my birthday. 

While we were checking in, the consierge saw that I had a 1.5L bottle of champagne in my bag (classy) and called it my "fun bag." I told him it was my birthday, and that I'm not a raging alcoholic, and he upgraded our room! Such a sweetheart. Once we got to our room, we found a birthday cheesecake waiting for us. The Delta's the best! 

After a late night of discussing feminist theory, we snuggled in our king size bed until the last possible minute, before waking up for presents and a balanced breakfast of cookies.

We had friends join us at the hotel in the morning, and enjoyed mimosas in bed. Which Kardashian do I have to marry so this can become a weekly occurrence?

After getting day drunk on an empty stomach, we headed to Cora's for breakfast. I had an overload of sugar, so I opted for fresh fruit on a crepe, no maple syrup or cream or chocolate.

After brunch, we headed back to our place with a few friends, ate cookies and played video games (again, how old am I?!).

When you're snuggled on your couch, watching AFV with your closest friends, and your belly full of delicious food, you know you're lucky.

Monday rolled around, and I extended my birthday by another day (poor me) and we celebrated my fabulous birth at my parents house. 

My grandmother is moving out of the house my dad grew up in, and she's been going through all of her belongings. She found a few mismatched teacups and saucers that she received at her wedding shower in '51, and gave them to me for my birthday! I am seriously the luckiest girl in the world! 

So of course we played fancy and had tea and cake. Well, I had three pieces of cake.

Thank you to everyone who made my birthday so special! 

Monday, 21 April 2014

Spring Reset Detox Challenge - Questions

A few weeks ago a fellow Sweat Pink ambassador sent out a general message asking if any bloggers would like to participate in a spring detox. Typically, I hate the idea of a detox, because it usually means sipping on lemon water that tastes like cat piss and pretending you're full, and constantly running to the bathroom because your digestive track is leaking out of every hole in your body in an attempt to "cleanse" you. 

The detox was starting the day after my birthday and easter weekend, so I took a closer look knowing that I was going balls-to-the-wall hard with the overload of chocolate. Looking at the meal plan, I was pumped. It includes three healthy meals a day, plus a snack. And most of the foods are meals I already eat, like quinoa salads and veggie stir-frys. I emailed the coach Laura, and immediately signed up. I did my groceries for the week on Thursday, and started the detox this morning. 

Laura encouraged us to answer a few questions, just to check in with ourselves as to why we're doing this. I thought I'd share my answers on the blog, because after Easter, some of you may be feeling like you could use a little detox too. 

Spring Reset Detox Challenge

1) Why did you sign up for this challenge?
I signed up for the challenge because my life has been a little hectic lately, with lots of travel and little time to meal plan. This weekend was also Easter AND my birthday, which led to many indulgences, so a detox is exactly what my hungover-face needs. 

2) Describe your current diet. Are you happy with your eating habits?
I always reach for the healthier option, like salads and stir-frys over burgers, but I do have trouble saying no to cookies. I'm very happy with my eating habits, especially when I was in Toronto and had to buy my lunch every day. I chose huge salads, but I did indulge in a cookie a day. I just can't say no to sweets!

3) What are your goals around food? What would you like to be different?
Like I said, I eat pretty healthy. I would just like sweets to stop being so damn deliciously tempting every time I'm around them. Once I start, I can't stop at just one cookie, so I'd love to have a smidgen of willpower when it comes to sweets. 

4) When did you start to care about how you looked? What was going on in your life that made you think about your body in a critical way?
This is a loaded question, because it could have a million answers that range from my elementary school days on the playground, to my university days when I was trying to woo people into dating me. 

I'll give the short answer, about my lifestyle change when I lost 50 pounds. I always thought I was beautiful, even when I was 50 pounds heavier. I only realized I needed to lose weight for my health because I tipped the scale at a number that I DID NOT like. 

When I started my weight loss journey, it was all about vanity. I wanted to look HOT. 
Now, after losing 50 pounds, and gaining and losing the last 10 pounds over and over again, my focus is on my health, not the number on the scale. 

5) Where does the pressure to "look good" come from in your life? Media? Family? Friends? Facebook? Yourself?
Honestly, I feel most of the pressure from myself. The media doesn't affect me because I know what goes into making those models look flawless, and years in theatre have taught me that anyone can look incredible with spanks and mascara. I put the most pressure on myself because I want to be the best version of me that I can be, and for a while, I used to believe that meant skinnier instead of healthier. 

6) When it comes to body image, what are your current thoughts about yourself?
I'm feeling great! Sure, I always think I could lose another 10 pounds or have whiter teeth, but overall, I love the way I look. I think the major factor of how comfortable I am in my skin is because I like to exercise my brain, and my constant search of happiness makes me realize that the most beautiful people are ones that value kindness, generosity and patience, not a size 8 pair of jeans. 

7) What are two things you hope to gain from this challenge? 
I'm looking forward to learning new recipes, and cutting my sugar habit. 

Do you need a detox after Easter weekend? 
What's your favourite go-to healthy recipe? 

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Last Few Days in Toronto, 2014

Oh the insanity that is my life. I am home safe, wrapped up in blankets with the ol' ball and chain napping peacefully beside me. But let's back up to my last few days in Toronto. 

The conference I was attending ended on Saturday with a big bash, so I made sure to dress like a "professional adult" and wore a blazer and carried a brief case. Fake it til you make it. 

After a late night of schmoozing on Saturday, I slept in on Sunday, then headed to brunch with my friend Jilly. I started the day off with a much needed soy cappuccino. 

We went to "Fresh," which is easily one of my favourite restaurants in Toronto. I ordered the pancake breakfast which had blueberry pancakes, vegan sausage, and tofu scramble. It was all phenomenal. 
After catching up with my friend and wandering around Queen St West, we parted ways and I headed to my friend Adele's comedy show at Second City. I love improv, and I had such a blast laughing my head off. 

After the show, I was exhausted, and when I'm exhausted, I get HANGRY. So the natural solution was veggie burger and fries. Quick and dirty, just how I like it. 

After wandering around downtown aimlessly, I wanted to head to another favourite vegan restaurant, "Hogtown Vegan," but plans just didn't work out in my favour. So instead I headed to my uncle's and ate cake. Jeez, I am seriously obsessed with any and all foods, aren't I?!

Sunday night was filled with me packing my suitcase to fly home the next day. While packing, I stumbled across this gem of a photograph of my grandpa. Wasn't he such a dapper gentleman?

Monday morning, I flew home to this beauty. 

We beelined for Calactus in Moncton, and shared stories and giggles from the past two weeks over beer and burritos. 

The stars aligned and we both had Tuesday off, which we celebrated with pancakes. The best welcome home I could have ever asked for. 

The conference was amazing, and I met so many wonderful and incredible people. But I must admit, I am extremely happy to be home. With my work taking me to different cities over the past few months, I've gotten a tad home sick. So I am very appreciative of all the pancakes and cuddles that are sure to happen over the next few weeks.

Also, IT'S BIRTHDAY WEEK! Bring on the chocolate. 

Friday, 11 April 2014

Toronto - Soul Pepper, Grasslands & Art Opening

What a whirlwind ride this trip has been! I'm in meetings and conferences and professional development classes all day, so I've tried to sneak in some fun time whenever I can. 

Wednesday was my only day off, so I made sure to pack it full of events to exhaust me even more. Logic. 

I met a Stage Manager for Soul Pepper (a theatre in the Distillery District in Toronto) in one of my workshops, and he invited me to sit in on one of his shows. I couldn't believe my luck, that I had the opportunity to not only pick his brain, but he gave me a full tour of the theatre, I was able to watch the show and listen to him call it, and ask him as many questions that I could articulate. 

After the amazing performance, I headed to the AGO to meet up with a friend of mine, Sarah. I hadn't seen her since December, and really wanted to catch up, so we decided upon wandering around the Art Gallery of Ontario. 

As amazing as the art gallery was, all I really wanted to do was gab her ear off, so after only twenty minutes of art, we left and headed to a restaurant. 

She suggested "Grasslands" a vegan restaurant on Queen Street West. 

We started with an appetizer of deep fried oysters (oyster mushrooms). They tasted a lot like oysters, but less fishy or salty. 

We both ordered a main that came with the same sides, and split the "meat." I ordered the chicken and she ordered mustard crusted tempeh. Both were amazing, but I preferred the tempeh. It had a better flavour, and honestly the chicken weirded me out, because it tasted SO MUCH like chicken. I'd recommend the chicken if you were transitioning out of meat, and still want the similar taste. 

We decided to make a meal out of the meal, and ordered dessert. It's not often I come to Toronto, so we thought we'd live it up! Dessert was a chocolate bundt cake with a fudgy syrup. UGH SO GOOD. 
Dinner led to drinks, and we caught up over a few beers at a nearby pub. 

I had classes all day Thursday, but that night my dad was having an art show at Odon Wagner Gallery. The timing of my trip to Toronto worked out perfectly with his opening, because otherwise I wouldn't have been able to attend. 

I've seen most of his works in his studio for years, so seeing them on the walls, with proper lighting, hung beside each other, was quite emotional for me. I'm incredibly proud of him, and I've seen his series "Yonge Street" evolve from beginning to end. Again, I am so so proud of him. 

My friend Darcy came to the opening, as she was in one of the paintings! My dad often uses friends of mine in his works, so if you want to be immortalized in a picture, give me a shout. 

His show runs from April 10th to May 3rd, and if you're in Toronto, I would love if you supported him and checked out his work! Let me know if you see it, I love talking about art! 

After the opening we celebrated with a night out at a French restaurant, which meant a salad with no cheese for me, and copious amounts of wine. 

I only have a few more days left in Toronto, which means I only have a few more days of eating amazing vegan food (sob). 

What have you guys been up to this week? 

Monday, 7 April 2014

Toronto April 4 - 7

THE CONFERENCE IS AMAZING! Holy balls I am learning so much and meeting so many people. I am also exhausted and barely functioning, hence why I can't post daily updates.

Now shut up Georgia and show us the food!

Chipotle is the best. I got a burrito, and it changed my life. Will be going there for lunch all the time. 

Went to a random Mediterranean place on the corner where the conference is held. Guy was flirting with me and gave me four falafel balls instead of three. I'm such a falafel ball slut. 

And this is my view 99% of the time. Food, paperwork, and coffee. 

I've been eating a monstrous salad from Urban Herbivore daily, typically with cookies. Definition of balance, right?

My majestic and beautiful friend Adele treated me to some quinoa coated onion rings from "Fresh," with garlic and chipotle aioli on the side. The onion rings were to die for, and when dipped in the garlic aioli, it was a delightful flavour for my palette (<-- guys I am so tired don't judge my attempt at explaining food)

Pro tip on not getting super chunky while on vacation or a business trip: eat half of what you order for lunch and the other half for supper. Plus I am super short on time and money, so only buying one meal a day is both financially affordable and time efficient. 

Oh yeah, and beer. Because after three days of eleven hour classes, girlfriend needs a drink.