Aspiring artist, dietician and world traveler, but am overall very confused.

Vacation Recap Plus New Madness

Hi everyone! Okay, so I’ve been gone for a while, and for the most part, there are good reasons for that. From the top: North Carolina was wonderful! I meant to try to do posts the whole time I was away, but once we got to the beach house, I realized that there was no way I was going to be able to keep up with that. We were staying on Bald Head Island, which is mostly rainforest surrounded by glorious beach. There are very few cars; everyone on the island uses golf carts and bicycles to get around. The week was spent biking, exploring the local flora and fauna, mossing (i.e. relaxing and lounging to the point where you’ve practically become moss on your chosen surface…mine was the couch, cuddled up with a book), and hitting the beach. The weather was pretty crazy on the island. Everyday, there was a period where it poured rain, but I managed to get at least a little bit of time outside everyday. We also did some kayaking through some pretty cool swampy areas, which was really fun apart from accidentally dropping my prescription sunglasses in the ocean, and discovering that all the grass in the swamp was covered in tiny white bugs which, when disturbed, would not leave me alone. So without further ado, here are some pictures I snapped early in the week, before I grew too lazy and vacationy to bother lifting a camera!

This is the bedroom Erik and I were staying in, which looked pretty different after I got all my stuff unpacked:

The main living room and gathering place for movie nights, HGTV binges, and How It’s Made marathons:

One of our views of the rainforest! We saw at least three black widow spiders and their webs amongst those air conditioner fans:

And in another direction was the ocean. Erik took me for my first ocean swim on our first night at the beach house, and I was so nervous about the waves, he pretty much had to carry me in. 😛

I also tried to get some pictures of all the cool critters and wildlife we saw while were down there. Living in suburbia like I do, it isn’t often that I get to see wild animals that aren’t squirrels and racoons, so here are some of those guys:

My favourite critter of the week was this alligator! Everyday, we would drive out to the observation deck to see him, and it was so cool to see an alligator up close in its natural habitat.

Even though I had an amazing time while I was on vacation, after those two weeks of no regularly scheduled workouts, and eating my weight in brie and baguettes on a daily basis, it has been a little difficult to return to real life. My yoga membership had run out while I was on vacation, so upon my return to Canada, after sitting on my ass for a few extra days, I decided I had to do something to help me feel like myself again. I joined the gym my sister Abbey goes to about 2 weeks ago, and I’ve really been enjoying the classes they offer. One class I really didn’t think I would like but actually totally enjoyed was zumba. I’m super uncoordinated (the step class I went to this morning was definitely beyond my level of coordination, but I tried my best and I think I’ve improved since last week’s step class) and at one point while I was trying to figured out a particularly complex move, I got too close to Abbey and she punched me in the face! All is well though, and we will probably be returning for more embarrassing fun next week!

Another thing that has been keeping me busy is that I started school on Monday! My program has been really interesting so far. I’ve been feeling a little bit overwhelmed by chemistry, but I’ll try to get in some studying later today and tomorrow and will hopefully be ready for our second quiz on Monday! Nutrition and Health Fundamentals has also been really cool. We dove right into the dangers of fragrances, and then digestion, so I now know what a healthy poop should look like, if you ever want to know (opposite ends of the spectrum, eh?). :p

I will do my best to try to update more regularly now that I’m back, if school allows. And if there is ever a topic that I bring up that you are more interested in learning about, I’ll try to explain it to the best of my ability! I’m so excited to share all the cool things that I learn with you! So yes…that’s all from me today! More soon!

North Carolina Day 1

My first morning in North Carolina is off to a fantastic start. I woke up a little sore from all of yesterday’s activities, but since we’ll be leaving for the beach house pretty early tomorrow morning, today was my only real day to head out and explore the local trails, and I was raring to go for a trail run. I wasn’t out for too long; my physiotherapist says that it isn’t harmful for me to go running, but that it won’t be comfortable for a while until we can strengthen my hamstrings some more. I took it easy on myself for the most part, alternating between running and walking. There were a bunch of tough hills on the run, which was actually a lot of fun because the areas I would normally run in at home are flat and boring suburban asphalt roads. My knee didn’t start hurting until quite a bit of the way in, so hopefully that means I’m improving somewhat. I had also been warned to be wary of some local dangerous critters, namely deer ticks (lyme disease is a pretty scary thing), rattlesnakes, copperheads, brown recluse spiders, and black widows, which meant that I literally cringed in fear and bolted whenever something brushed my arm or I ran through a cobweb. When I got back to the house, I had a shower (my third since we arrived yesterday afternoon…what’s wrong with me? :P), and had some breakfast which was also awesome. Check out this sweet set up:

I had breakfast out on the porch in my PJs, which I had promptly changed back into after my shower, to the sound of cicadas and cicadas and fountainy noises. And I saw a couple humming birds, which was really cool. Definitely not a regular sighting back home. Neither was the lizard Erik and I spotted on the windowsill yesterday. I wish I had pictures to show you. Breakfast was a super juicy and ripe pear, a toasted sprouted grain english muffin with pecan butter (to die for) and jam, with a cup of tulsi tea:
Anyway, without further ado, here is yesterday’s journal entry:

We left for Pearson Airport at 6:30 in the morning to catch our 8:30 flight. On the way, I munched on a cherry-flavoured almond yogurt sprinkled with museli. The flight went super smoothly. This is our cute little plane:

Erik’s stepmom, Lauri, was waiting for us at the Charlotte airport when we got there. It was about a 1.5 hour drive to where we were staying, and along the way we got to admire NC’s incredibly lush scenery. There are trees and flowers everywhere, and it is a lot warmer here than it was when we left Toronto this morning. Despite the oatmeal raisin cookies we ate during the flight, we were starving and stopped for Chinese food which at first, I was a bit nervous about because of the stupid amounts of grease and batter and salt that I usually assosicate with Chinese food. However, my order of moo shu vegetables which I stuffed into doughy and delicious crepes with plum sauce were delicious and flavourful. Just what I needed then. I’ve been feeling a little puffy lately though, and as a result of PMS plus lack of groceries at my house plus some laziness, I haven’t been as careful about my eating and I was determined to do a workout when we got back to the house. I decided to do the Insanity Asylum Vertical Plyo workout, which, having done mostly yoga for the last two months, was really hard. But I managed to get through to the end, and I know that I’m definitely going to have start reintroducing more cardio into my exercise regime. I have a few ideas for what I’d like to do, and I’ve got to decide on that soon, but more on that another time.

After my workout, I had a quick shower only to discover that we’d been invited to a neighbour’s farm to do some horseback riding. This was when the adventure really began:

We all took turns riding Widowmaker. I had never ridden a horse before and it was a blast except for the parts where Tom (the farm’s owner, and the gentleman next to me in the picture below) kept warning me that she may or may not throw me, and reminding me to be the boss:

Here are some of the other cuties that live on the farm:

After we went riding, Tom asked if we wanted to ride the zip line that he’d put up on his property. Apparently, it had only broken twice (…I was very leery about this) in the 40 years since he had put it up. I was super nervous, but in keeping up with the adventurous spirit of the day, I decided to give it a shot:

Afterwards, we went hiking along this trail (pretty much the same trail I ran this morning minus several giant hills, plus one horse which we all took turns riding) to a super old cemetery that had been mostly taken over by the forest. The engravings on the headstones were mostly eroded which made them difficult to read, but it was so cool to see this hidden and slightly creepy piece of history. One really cool thing about being out of town is learning about the local history, because the area I live in is fairly new and doesn’t have much of a history yet. On the way home, we stopped by Tom’s garden and he gave us a ton of fresh tomatoes, cantaloupe, watermelon, peppers and eggplant. Maybe because I was starving, or maybe because it really wasn’t so bad, Bryan convinced me to take a bite of a cayenne pepper and I ended up eating the whole thing (not the seeds, of course).

Dinner when we got home was heavenly: cayenne tomato soup and steamed rice with stir fried leftover veggies from lunch. Erik’s dad is a master at somehow making leftovers multiply and somehow taste even better than they were fresh. Anyway, I think that’s all for now. I’ve probably been antisocial for long enough, plus I could use another cup of tea, and its getting a tiny bit warm out here on the porch.  Plus, I’ve written a short novel here. So yeah, thanks for reading! Or at least for stopping by. More soon, my dears!

Some Overdue Photos

Today was our first day in North Carolina and  has been as full and wonderful as it could possibly have been. I’m going to try to keep a running journal of our activities on my lap top, but for now, since I don’t have today’s photos uploaded on my computer yet, here are some from last week’s trip to Barrie.

The highlight of our trip, apart from copious fruit-eating, was going for a 3 hour boat ride in this 20-something-year-old motor boat. This is Erik’s Aunt Barb easing the aforementioned boat into the water:

This is Bryan (Erik’s younger brother) and their Uncle Paul having a blaaaaast:

At one point, Bryan drove the boat into this really eerie area where a giant patch of the trees were dead, there was seaweed crowded in the water, and as we approached, a huge flock of black birds flew out of the forest:

Me, on the boat. I work my bathing suit the whole time we were there, but the lake was too cold for me to swim at all. 😦

And, of course, a foot picture. Here are mine and Erik’s feet. He hates feet.

Anyway, we’re off to go watch a movie for the rest of the night (assuming I can actually stay awake that much longer), but stay tuned for an update featuring our adventures in North Carolina, and hopefully some awesome and healthy eats!

Back for Now

Today is a particularly gloomy day at work. Outside, it is drizzly and grey, Regina Spektor is playing on the iPod dock, and the burner in the kettle looks like it’s on its last legs. On Thursday morning, I drove back from Barrie where Erik, Bryan and I had spent a couple of days hanging out with their aunt and uncle. We had a great time boating, eating bowls and bowls of melon, and watching many hours of the Olympics. I also had air-popped popcorn tossed in coconut oil and sea salt, which I believe must be a gift from the gods. You must try this if you have not. I would have had some pictures if I hadn’t left them all on Erik’s camera, but I’ll try to get them on here in the next few days, assuming there is anything worth using.

Eating at the convention went somewhat better than most conventions have in the past. On the first day, after the first 14 hours of work or so, I caved and had a slice of cheese pizza, but for the rest of the weekend, I munched mostly on crackers, nuts, and fruit, with salads and roasted vegetables for dinners after convention hours were over. The four days I was away went by a lot faster than usual, and I had Barrie to look forward to upon my return. Alas, I am once more on a work marathon before we finally leave for North Carolina which I’ve been looking forward to for months! So the next few days of work are going to be pure torture, while I slowly die inside from impatience and excitement. :p

Anyway, tons of work to do today, unpacking from the convention but there will be more soon!

Off to Otakuthon

Right now, its 8:12pm, and at 3am, I have to wake up to drive 8 hours to Montreal, and then work at a convention until 10pm. This weekend is not going to be fun, but tomorrow is going to be especially rough. Usually, when the store I work for goes to a convention, we eat pizza and Tim Hortons all weekend. Having worked so many cons in the past, I decided to try to come as prepared as possible this time. Behold, the convention loot I picked up at Fortinos the other day:

I would have bought some fresh produce, but I decided I would hold off until I see what kind of hotel we’ll be staying at. I wouldn’t want all of it to go bad. So instead, I’ll be bringing some Happy Trails Adventure Cookies which I baked yesterday (in the jar above). They’re splendid, but I used honey instead of brown rice syrup and the were not holding together at ALL, so I added about 1/3 cup of almond butter as well, which kind of did the trick. I just had to squish them together really well, and I took them out when the were almost done baking to push the cookie dough balls into cookie shape. Also featured above: a bag of Swiss Museli Stonemill Organic bagels, portable dark chocolate almond milk, Mary’s Organic Crackers in black pepper flavour, raw almond butter, unflavoured Vega One protein powder, Doctor Kracker crackers and an assortment of bars which I will show you below:

I will also be bringing a container of unsweetened Vanilla almond milk, as well as some oats, chia seeds, apples, and bananas. Normally I try to eat tons of vegetables and fruit throughout the day, but I will have to make due with the above.

In celebration of my last day of freedom, I visited a very good friend of mine, Sarah, and we always have a really awesome time together. Yesterday, we visited High Park and sat around enjoying the sunshine for a while, before we headed to Rawlicious, a raw vegan restaurant where we shared a Nori Roll appetizer (sprouts, marinated mushrooms, bell pepper, carrot and avocado wrapped in nori), and I had a fresh juice (beets, apple, carrot and ginger) and a raw pad thai (kelp and zucchini noodles, shredded romaine lettuce, cashew sauce, cashews, cilantro, bell pepper… this was a little bland and could have done with some more flavour, very refreshing though).

Overall, I enjoyed the food there. I feel like it might have been safer to have one of their salads, but I had never had raw pad thai before, so yeah! My favourite thing that I ate there, however, were these raspberry thumbprint cookies (raw, of course) that they had decided to discontinue that day and so were giving out free samples. I was heartbroken, and helped myself to several samples. I have never made thumbprint cookies before, but it is now a goal of mine. The breading part of the cookie was made from nuts and seeds, and it was fantastic!

Anyway, since I have to be awake and ready to drive myself and several others into the next province over in less than 8 hours, I should probably try to get some sleep. I really hope I can try to eat healthily this weekend. When you’re standing behind a table for 12 hours, 3 days in a row, it can be difficult not to gnaw your arm off in boredom, hence the crackers.

Today’s Eats

Hey guys! Today has been an awesomely satisfying day. I picked up a new day planner and a new laptop for school, which is what I’m typing on now. I hit pilates this morning, which was a lot of fun, as usual. And I made some yummy food, so I thought I would show you the things that I made today!


I had a toasted 9 grain bagel with coconut butter, and a berry/melon bowl.


For lunch, I made some red quinoa with a pat of soy-free Earth Balance atop it, and red lentil and spinach dal from Tosca Renos’ Eat Clean Diet Vegetarian cookbook.


And for dinner, I had an orange, some kale chips seasoned with nutritional yeast and cayenne pepper, and Emperor’s Rice from the Vegan Cooking for Carnivores cookbook, which was some forbidden black rice mixed with some brown rice, cooked in water and coconut milk, and seasoned with sea salt and chives. It was really simple, but really yummy! And I’ve got tons of leftovers for my next two days of work, which is delightful. 🙂

Anyway, I just had time for a quick post. Erik and I are going to go watch The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (the recent, American remake) and snuggle up with some chocolate cake. More soon!

Cravings for Oatmeal Raisin Cookies: Satisfied

Currently at work, enjoying one of the vegan oatmeal raisin cookies I baked last night (recipe found here!) which might be the best oatmeal raisin cookies I’ve ever had! They are enormous and gooey, and I can’t wait to make Erik try one after work tonight. The only obvious changes I made were that I used spelt flour instead of kamut flour, and pure cane sugar instead of sucanat. I wonder if there is a big difference in the sweetness of the two. I also baked mine for an extra 5 minutes because they were so jumbo sized.

Totally unrelated, but I’ve been feeling a little documentary-crazed lately, and one of the ones I watched recently was called “Thin”. It showed a few weeks in the lives of some patients at an eating disorder treatment centre in the United States. It was so heartbreaking, to see all of these women struggling through treatment, only to leave before they are ready to (due to their insurance running out, or because they don’t want to be helped, among other reasons) and relapsing. It was pretty scary to see just how consuming a serious eating disorder can be, and how it can take a lifetime to recover from. This documentary was stomach-turning and sad, but totally eyeopening, so if you get a chance to, check it out.

On a happier note, I still can’t believe I’m switching programs! Whenever I think about it, it doesn’t feel quite real yet. I’m going to have to figure out whether I need to buy a lap top or not, which I’ve been wanting for a while to help with recipe access in the kitchen. I’m also weirdly excited to start buying textbooks so I can start reading. The way the program works is we do two courses at a time on alternating days, usually about a month long, until we get through all 19 courses. According to my schedule, I’ll be starting with Biological Chemistry which I am not remotely excited for (loathing for chemistry instilled in my being since high school), and Nutrition and Health Fundamentals, which I am feeling pretty keen about already. Buuuut, enough boring details about my life. 😛 I’ll be going now! Have a beautiful day!

Adventures at Whole Foods

Settling in to yet another ten hour shift at work, and I’m feeling mostly resigned to my fate. I started my day off the best way I know how, with some hot lime water, a bowl of cereal, and then a yoga class. This morning’s class was aerial yoga, and another fact of life that I have begun to resign myself to is that I don’t think I’m cut out for aerial yoga. As cool as it is to be upside-down at 6:30am, it makes me super nauseous and I don’t feel like I reap the benefits from it that I should. More grounded poses I can handle, but doing a shoulder stand 3 feet off the ground, not so much.

Yesterday morning’s yoga felt much better. I did the most sturdy headstand I have ever done before, which was really exciting, and the teacher was really supportive and gave a lot of good advice. Yesterday was actually just really good in general. Erik and I hit Canadian Tire where he got my late birthday present, a food processor! I’ve been dying for one because there are all sorts of things I’ve been dying to make such as banana soft serve, and homemade nut butter (I’ve been especially curious about pecan!). Then we went to Whole Foods, where I picked up a bunch of exciting things… Miso, sprouted non-GMO tofu, lacinato kale, coconut butter (had on my toast this morning and it was diviiiiiiine), chocolate chip banana bread (Erik’s request…I did not fight him :P) … I love Whole Foods. But I’ve also been thinking (especially since I finished reading Michael Pollan’s “In Defense of Food”, which was an excellent read) that I want to set my family up with CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) because I really do eat a lot of the same vegetables all the time, so I think it’d be fun an interesting to be forced into variety.

After our trip to Whole Foods, we headed back to my house, and I started making dinner which was:

Up above, you see Baked Maple Mustard Tempeh, Vegan Mac n’ Cheez (made with ancient grain spaghetti noodles because I didn’t have macaroni noodles) and sauteed asparagus! All in all, it was pretty yummy, but there were way too many mustard flavours happening, so I will be toning those down for sure if I ever decided to make this tempeh again.

After dinner, we snuggled up and watched Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead which was a great documentary. I was super interested in short-term juice fasting before, because of all the awesome health benefits I’ve heard about it, but now I feel even more inclined to try it. I will have to find out more about it first, of course, but I really like the idea of cleansing your body and your tastebuds every few months.

So for now, that is it. But more soon! 🙂

Something Exciting Has Happened

Just a quick post before I depart for aerial yoga this evening.  Today was my interview at the holistic nutrition school I believe I’ve mentioned here before. And it was awesome. It seemed like such a lovely community and  very close-knit. As of September, I will officially be going to school for nutrition, and I’m super excited. In celebration, I made some ratatouille, which you can find the recipe for here. So this was my dinner tonight,  accompanied by two slices of very tasty multigrain sourdough bread with a smear (not a very delicious word, now that I think about it) of soy-free Earth Balance.

After dinner, I had a mug of lemon echinacea tea, because my throat  has been a little sore today. I had never had it before, and I was pretty put off by this throat-coating quality that it had. Hopefully it  is something that I can get used to, but until then, I will have to look for other natural remedies to  supplement this strange tea because…yeah. Any suggestions would be wonderful. That’s all for now!

I Had Forgotten to Title This Post

Hi there, Anne here! To start off with, here is what today’s lunch looked like:

It was coconut lentils on sprouted grain toast, kale chips (seasoned with cayenne pepper and nutritional yeast…my favourite combo so far, but I am open to suggestions) and half of a roasted acorn squash. To drink, I had some sort of Lipton tea that I think was cucumber-melon-mint flavoured, but I’m not sure. The tea was okay, but lunch was awesome! I love kale chips! I’ve made them three days in a row, and I think that it might be my favourite way to enjoy kale! There is no bitterness, just a very different and delicious crunch. I would like to experiment more with kale though, so I will have to go recipe searching. Dessert was a So Delicious coconut milk ice cream bar in banana split flavour, and holy shit am I ever in love. I need never consume a normal ice cream bar again, if I’ve got these babies on hand.

I went to another physiotherapy session this morning, which I am growing more and more skeptical about. They did, however, give me a delightful deep tissue massage in my injured leg as well as some ultrasound therapy which was also pretty relaxing. They have also added some more exercises onto my daily repertoire, including some calf stretching (which I despise…) and clam exercises (this just sounds naughty to me) which I’m meant to do 3 to 5 times a day.

After grabbing a quick bowl of cereal at home (flax flakes with museli, berries, and chia seeds), Abbey and I headed off to pilates. I adore the Monday morning pilates instructor for her incredible coolness, grace, and wicked storytelling. I’ve always admired people who can tell really sweet, captivating stories, because I am definitely not one of those people. I could listen to her talk all day. I haven’t really done any intensive cardio for a few weeks now apart from yoga cross once a week. All I do is yoga and pilates, but I’m at the studio at least six days a week. Erik and I also try to go hiking once a week, usually. I wonder if this is sufficient exercise, because I’m really loving it and would like to continue going to this studio after my summer trial is up. Any thoughts?

I suppose that’s all for now. I may have exciting news on the morrow, but I won’t know until then, so I will keep you posted! Keep your fingers crossed for me!