small blog about nice things
vegan, adventurer, lover of chai lattes and winona ryder
You can expect: book reviews, diy tutorials, photos, complaints about the world, and much more

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Life Post: Self-Care

To me, the words self care sound almost indulgent, over the top. However, I've come to learn that self care is pretty frickin' important and can make or break my day. Whenever I get really stressed with school, overwhelmed with work, or my routine changes in some way, I pretty much give up. I hardly shower, eat mainly chocolate and toast, don't cut or paint my nails, don't moisturize, don't even wash my face, don't hang out with my friends, ignore my family, and sometimes even skip brushing my teeth and hair. I turn into this intense hermit cave-lady who hates everyone (except my pup) and refuses to leave her bedroom. Everything seems SO POINTLESS and I struggle to motivate myself to perform even the most basic of tasks. This past exam period has really made me realize how key it is for me to fight my basic turtle-ing instincts and focus on taking good care of myself, even ramp up my usual routine. Just a heads up - when I say self care, I don't mean stuff like taking saunas and getting acupuncture and doing crazy forms of intense yoga or meditating for 6 hours a day. It's more like the basic things we, like most mammals, need to thrive. Lots of good, nutrient dense food, water, consistent exercise, plenty of sleep, love, time with friends and family, etc. As I said before, these can easily fall by the wayside during busy or stressful times, which only makes things worse.

I've put together a list of the top 4 things that help me feel more solid during intense times. Next exam season or family reunion or crunch-time at work, maybe try giving these a go. The goal here is to keep swimming, not just float (and oftentimes in my case, flail).

1. The basics:
The classics - you know, showering, brushing your teeth and hair, washing your face, sleeping, etc. This may sound obvious, but trust me, once you stop doing 'em for a while, you realize how important they are - and not just on a superficial level.

2. Breathe
There are tons of studies out there that show a clear link between taking some time (even if it's only 5 minutes) to meditate and being smarter, more relaxed, happier, and even healthier. Don't get freaked out by the stereotype of weird chants and uncomfortable positions! I use this cool app called Headspace (highly recommend), where this Scottish/British guy with a remarkably nice accent guides you through the whole thing, starting from Day One. Download the app (it's free) and give it a go. If you can't really see yourself meditating, even taking the time to just focus your breath can be beneficial.

3. Movement
I know, I know, the last thing you have time for is exercise. In fact, I feel like a total poser suggesting this because when I'm busy, exercise is the first to go. But seriously, it can be a total lifesaver. My mood goes up (after the first dreadful 5 minutes) and I ultimately end up being much more productive. Even just a quick walk can do the trick. Force yourself to put down the books, friend, and your body and mind will thank you. I feel like such a yuppie just writing that sentence, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

4. Date Yo'self
Take your sweet self out for coffee! Take an hour to sit in a warm shop, drink a cozy beverage of your choice, listen to the convos going on around you, and absorb it all. It is so relaxing. Also - hot tip - the ambiant noise in coffee shops is the exact right decibel level or some shit to help you work more efficiently. Oh man, I love spending time in coffee shops. Coming up soon is a guide to the best coffee shops in Ottawa, so keep your eyes peeled.

Good luck with your rough seas!


Saturday, 7 February 2015

Food: Hippie-Dip Granola

Before the recipe, the news!! Before Christmas, my family adopted a sweet lil pup. He's a Brittany Spaniel, called Junot after my Dad's and I's favourite author, Junot Diaz. (If you haven't read any of his books, check them out!!!) He can be a total terror sometimes, because he's got this boundless energy thing going on, which is so sweet and pure and also sometimes frightening. I love him so much it's kind of ridiculous. There's something about dogs that are is so genuine, it's impossible not to love them. They don't hide their emotions or lie to you or do any of the shitty things humans do. AND THEY ARE SO CUTE.

Here's an old pic of him being a derp and chowing on a soy bone. 

Anyway, he got his rabies shot today and this afternoon his leg got all swollen and he whimpered whenever he tried to stand up and man oh man was it ever heartbreaking. He just kinda wobbled around until we snuggled him into his lil doggie bed underneath the island. We covered him up in a blanket (future over-protective mom right here!!!) and I lay with him until he fell asleep. I'm amazed by how much I love him, already, so fast. Ahhhh!! Here's him as of last week (he's getting so big!!):

Now, granola!

Iconic in it's yuppie connotations, granola nevertheless is one of my favourite snacks. At my old job, I sometimes used to be responsible for breaking up and packaging the restaurant's house granola. I hung out in the little basement bakery by myself, smashing up giant sheets of crispy granola with a rolling pin, with free rein to eat all the bits I wanted. Mmmm, that was the best. That granola used sugar to sweeten however, which I'm trying to avoid in this case, and lots of palm oil, which again, I'm trying to get away from using, after reading about the horrible impacts inflicted on the environment to harvest it ( So for now, olive oil all the way!

Check out the recipe below. I hope you give it a try!


A quick note: this is not a clumpy granola. It's looser, and hella crispy (my personal preference), perfect for sprinkling over yoghurt or fruit, or grabbing by the handful.


2 cups rolled oats
1 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened, please)
1 cup cooking dates, chopped
2/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
2/3 cup pumpkin seeds, roughly chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsps ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg*
1/2 tsp cloves*
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tsps vanilla

*optional, add if you've got them on hand, but if not, no worries


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking trays with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, combine all the wet ingredients.
3. In another bowl, combine the dry.
4. Pour the wet into dry, stir until everything is coated. It should look pretty wet still, but that's good! No worries.
5. Using a large spatula, half the mixture over each baking tray, making sure it's smoothed into an even layer.
6. Place in oven, stirring ever 4 - 6 minutes to avoid the edges burning.
7. Bake for around 15 - 20 minutes, depending on the your oven and the vigilance of your stirring.