Life gets busy and it can be hard to find easy ways to fuel your mind and body with good food. Since eating well goes hand in hand with a life well lived, it only feels fitting to add a food and nutrition post this lifestyle blog.
Some of my most favourite recipes come from the website and Instagram page “minimalist baker” where every recipe is designed to either be 10 ingredients, 1 bowl, or prepared in 30 minutes or less. Each recipe incorporates fresh fruits and vegetables and aims to provide easy meals that are fancy enough to make you feel like a professional chef.
I have provided some of my most favourite recipes from the website below to help inspire you for your next meal!!
From hours upon hours of study sessions, to stretching and yoga, running, or a morning walk, music has been a pivotal player in my daily life this past month.
Below are some of my personal playlists from Spotify, designed to amplify good vibes and provide a soundtrack to a life well lived.
1) Ebb & Lofi flo: “Flowing strictly for the vibes” . This is a playlist created with the intent of flowing effortlessly in the background and cleanse the mind during study sessions and my daily yoga/stretching routines. All of the songs are instrumental, however the ebb and flow of each melody is sometimes exactly what is needed to to reset the mind after a busy day.
2) Equinox: “Equal parts day and night”. This playlist was made with the intention of being a soundtrack to go alongside the seasonal transition from summer to fall. Containing happy and light songs for bright & crisp fall days while also having some more mellow, rainy day songs that make you want to watch raindrops fall.
3) Sandpiper pl/ flo days: “Summer sunshine, winding roads, and crisp waves”. This playlist was the soundtrack to summer 2020 and will forever make me nostalgic for those carefree days spent on the beach, surfing, and lazing in the sun with good music and good people.
As I sit here on a cold grey day, listening to the rain tapping on the window while a vinyl record spins and crackles softly in the background, I can think of all the million things I could be writing, but none of which I truly feel inspired to share right now.
In this moment, the only words I want to read are ones that pull me closer to the present, and rather than escape to a new world, all I want to write are words that keep me grounded in my own.
So here it is:
Sip your coffee slowly. Not every day has to be your wildest adventure. Sometimes a life well lived is the very notion of recognizing the present. Recognizing that you are living, and that that is enough. Allow yourself to watch the raindrops that hit your window. Watch them dance along the glass. Listen to the silence that echoes through your house once the needle lifts from the groove on your record. Take these precious moments of your alone time and use them to nourish yourself. Speak to yourself, but speak softly. Be kind, be patient, be gentle. Allow yourself to breathe. We use so much energy filling our brain with the need to think think think, and the need to be five steps ahead of the present moment, but sometimes it’s okay not to think at all. If you don’t start learning to indulge yourself in little mundane moments such as this, how will you ever learn to be present in the bigger ones? Find your calm, because life will always be crazy. Wether it’s the non stop demands of school, a busy job, or the chaos of constantly trying to please those around you, there will always be the need to take a breath. So use this moment you have right now. Put this blog post away, and listen to the world . Take this moment for yourself, because much like when you write for your own enjoyment, learning to steal moments for you and only you will become an oasis for your mind.
Mushroom hunting season: mother nature’s gift to all foragers
One of the best kept secrets hidden within the forests of BC are the edible mushrooms that grow under the canopies of the dense coastal forests. During mid- late fall mushrooms such as Golden Chanterelles and lobster mushrooms begin to grow after heavy rainfall. Often, these fungi are left untouched but to the trained eye, mushrooms such as chanterelles and lobsters can be found and cooked into culinary delights. Below are some of my favourite ways to prepare edible mushrooms found while hiking through the forests of Vancouver Island.
Finding & collecting the forest magic
Step 1: find & identify
Step 2: Clean and sort
Step 3: Enjoy!
Recipes & other resources
Further reading and information on mushroom foraging, Chanterelles, and lobster mushrooms:
We rose with the sun, danced in the sand, and sipped salty coffee on the beach.
For a few days this summer, my childhood best friend and I returned to our kid kingdom on Hornby Island where we were able to enjoy moments of simplicity and ease. The moments and that create memories like these are the ones that fill my my heart with love and light, and are the ones that I return to when the world is full of chaos.
A life well lived comes from the inside out, and a large part of building a foundation of personal well being is through self care.
Self care comes in many different forms. Sometimes, it looks like spending time with friends and family, reading your favourite book, or exploring the outdoors and feeding your sense of adventure. Other times, it looks like small, intentional acts of self awareness throughout your day. One of my favourite ways to practice self care is through yoga and journaling. I find that by implementing these small acts of self care as a part of my daily routine that I am able to start and end my days with a clear mindset towards my daily intentions, a sense of self love, and gratitude for my life. By journaling a little bit each day, I am able to centre my thoughts and practice gratitude and self reflection. In addition to journaling, I have found that by taking a couple of minutes each morning and night to move through a small yoga routine that I am able to get in touch with my mind and body and ground myself in a sense of peace. I have found that these acts of self care have become pivotal tools for creating a positive mindset geared towards a life well lived.
This week, I wanted to share some resources that you might find helpful to use for yoga sequences and journaling prompts. Below, are some of my favourite journaling prompts and affirmations as well as easy morning/ night yoga routines that I use daily!
For most of us, that means we are now fully settled into the throws of school and the novelty of “fall” has started to lose its effect. The days are getting darker by the minute, and most of our time is spent inside our homes navigating through the new home- school/ work life balance while also juggling assignments, papers, and tests.
Sounds fun right?
The post summer come down hits us all in different ways and it’s important to adapt to the change of seasons in ways that still promote happiness and self care. It can feel like once were back to the “reality” of work and school that we no longer have any time. Whether its time for ourselves, time for extra activities, or time to spend with friends and loved ones, when summer ends, it can feel like a little piece of our happiness does too.
So how do we make more time? Where does it come from? And where does it go?
The thing is, there is no amount of rearranging our schedules, earlier wake up times, or dailed in reminder tabs that will give us more time in our day. It’s almost impossible to create the large chunk of extra time that we think we need in order to regain a sense of freedom in our lives. What is possible though, is learning to look at your day and find pieces of calm within the chaos by stealing little moments for yourself. For instance, if your day involves commuting by transit, it can look like using your time while sitting on the bus or train to look out the window and give yourself a moment to take in the scenery and be one with your thoughts. If your day revolves around the home, it can look like stealing a moment for yourself while you sip your morning coffee. Being mindful of how it tastes, how the mug feels when you hold it, and allowing yourself to be present, one sip at a time. Stealing moments helps you realize that you are the master of your own time and that you have more control over your own happiness than it may feel. It helps you look for little silver linings in the smallest of things and encourages gratitude and mindfulness.
The clips in this video are all stolen moments. Moments from throughout my day that I chose to pause, look around, and take in the world around me. These moments were all instances that I could have easily missed and whisked by while lost in my own train of thought (such as the shots while sitting on and exiting the sky train, standing at an intersection, and riding my bike with friends) but took the time for myself to recognize beauty and art in each moment. By doing so, I was able to find ways to look at my own life from a different lens and acknowledge all of the beauty and magic that comes in and out of my daily hustle and bustle.
This fall, I challenge you to change your narrative about needing to “find more time” for yourself and look for the beauty in the moments you already experience each day. Take a minute to find mindfulness and gratitude during activities you normally “go through the motions” of, and steal the moments out of your day that have been waiting for you all along.
When I was young, I would play in a world created by the forest. Where each swaying branch was a secret door to a new adventure filled with menacing dragons and mischievous fairies. Trees were not just climbed, but conquered, and each limb gave a vantage point to a new world. Sometimes a lookout upon an impassable wilderness, and other times an ocean full of mermaids and dolphins. Roots and rocks were tables and chairs from which we feasted on mud cakes iced with pebbles and drank from goblets of leaves. Imagination flowed freely and magic was a faithful friend.
As time passed on, the fairies flew away to another land, perhaps to play with a new kid, but the magic they held still lingered within the woods. For years, I wondered if this childish wonder would ever return and often questioned if I would view the world through as rose-colored lenses as my younger self once did.
It is said that the islands of Hawaii are alive, that the spirits and legends are not just words on paper but a living spirituality within the land and its people. As a complete outsider, I felt like an intruder to this sacred world, that maybe I wasn’t connected enough to Oahu to experience such a coveted energy. This all changed the first time I walked down a twisting path of sand and grass, beaten down by the countless soles before me. Grass creeped between my toes and my calloused feet braved the pointy rocks hidden underneath the scattered sand along the trail. Each step brought me closer to a secluded beach, where a jungle gave way to a horseshoe shaped shoreline and the sun bleached sand sloped gently towards and shining sea. The sun was high in the sky and the air was electric, buzzing with the promise of adventure. My friends and I ran for the ocean, throwing our bags down without a second thought, mesmerized by the turquoise water before us, dying to jump in.
I can still remember the first time I dove into the water. In seconds, I was transported to a new world, surrounded by a salty serenity where sound stopped and everything became new. I opened my eyes and through a blurry haze, could imagine myself eight years old again, exploring the kingdom of Atlantica as The Little Mermaid. Instinctively, I kicked my legs towards the bottom, diving deeper to reach for the sand below. I dug my fingers into its silky surface and emerged with a handful, watching as it changed in my hand from its fabric like form to a compacted ball of mud. I let the sand fall through my fingers and looked to the sky, feeling the warmth of the sun on my face, letting my world illuminate with gold. I let my body sway as I was now afloat, slowly moving back and forth with the transferring energy of each wave. Ever since I was little, I felt as if swimming was the closest I would ever get to flying. In the water, I felt as if I was drifting through space. Fully suspended in complete nothingness, where I could spin, and twirl, and flip, and dive and the only thing to stop me was the liquidity of the sea. With palms outstretched, I would reach to either side and only to be greeted with vast amounts of nothingness, only water and my own feeling of total suspension. Pulling myself back to the present, I tried this out again, testing out my old childish tricks, flipping and spinning without intention or direction. The magic of the woods had returned and I was flying.
As the day rolled on, we played among the waves as they crashed into shore, becoming obsessed with the pursuit of catching a rolling barrel, again and again and again. Once the ocean had filled our ears with water and our bathing suits became weighed down with permanent pounds of sand, we would seek refuge on the shore and soak up the the sun. Tired, but far from defeated, we recovered on the beach until our skin felt the familiar itch of a creeping sunburn, signaling that it was time to brave the tumbling waves once again. The day mostly consisted of this, ocean to sand, sand to ocean rotating in what seemed to be a never ending cycle. As the day began to wind down and the sun started to lessen it’s rays, I could feel my mind fill with ease and allowed by body to follow suit, sinking deeper into my towel, molding a girl-sized impression into the soft sand. I breathed in, feeling the sticky sweet humidity stir with the unintentional salt water in my lungs. The air felt truly alive, as if it were infusing each breath in with a softy spoken energy. If the Hawaiian goddess Pele really did shape these islands, I would say that her magic remains within their sandy shores, echoing through each crashing wave, and her spirit remains alive through magic of the island, touching only those who are lucky enough to experience it. As the sun started to climb its way down from its lofty perch, the sky became painted with pink and gold, and I watched as it slipped a blanket of golden warmth onto the restless ocean as it twisted and turned in rebellion. The ocean seemed to challenge the sky, dodging the rays in an intricate dance from blue to gold and gold to blue until finally giving up the fight, letting each golden tendril of the sun weave into a layer of warmth over the restless sea. I watched each wave crash dreamily on to the beach, moving slowly, like the heavy eyelids of a tired child. I could feel the sighs of the koa trees, as they too began to release the weight of their knotted trunks, swaying sleepily with the breeze signaling the approaching night. The movement of the beach carried whispers of words not quite tangible, like a lullaby in a foreign language. But maybe that’s for a reason; maybe the spirits from the islands speak in a tongue that is only to be heard by those who see that they still remain; alive and well. Or maybe, it’s the magic from my childhood, finding its way back into the world around me: through the dance of the sun and the sky, along the green paths twisting like snakes to secluded beaches, swaying with the trees and dancing in unison with the breeze. Maybe, it’s the fairies from my childhood forests, in their rightful home, within this secluded beach where imagination and reality have twisted into one, on the island of Oahu.
This past week, I had the privilege to visit an art exhibit at the Nanaimo Art Gallery called “Boarder X”. Boarder X is an exhibit originated in Winnipeg, Manitoba and now travels all across Candada featuring contemporary art such as painting, sculpting, video, and photography, by Indigenous artists who all share a love for surfing, skating, and snowboarding. The exhibit itself works to connect those who are passionate about skateboarding and art with the history of Indigenous culture and bring greater awareness to the Indigenous experience of colonialism in Canada. The artwork displayed at the exhibit worked to show the interconnectedness of the environment, politics, social perspectives, and a relationship with the land. From skateboard art to videos and photo galleries, the mix of contemporary styles offered a new perspective on Indigenous cultures relationship with boarding as a sport and allowed indigenous boarders and artists to create their own narrative surrounding the deep cultural/ historical roots that links them to the land and the outdoors with a modern day passion for sport and art. One of the most profound moments that I experienced while visiting the gallery was when I first viewed the piece by Cree artist Kent Monkman called “The Scream” (pictured below). When I saw the painting, I was standing with a group of younger boys, all who were there simply to checkout the “cool skateboards” and skate on the exhibit’s interactive mini half pipe. However, when the group of skater boys arrived at “The Scream”, they all stopped in their tracks and took it in for a moment. I watched as one of them looked at his other friends and said “woahh, this is nuts”. Although this small phrase might not seem like much, this moment of recognition sparked a conversation, from this conversation sparked a notion of awareness. The image of the Royal Mounted Police, preists, and nuns tearing mothers apart from their children on what is depicted to be an Indigenous reserve painted across the decks of five skateboards spoke great truth into the reality of the suffering experienced by communities throughout history and to present day life. The art did the very job it set out to do and captured even the most unassuming of audiences, who originally attended the event with the purpose of skating, but were moved by the ways in which the painting was emulated its meaning.