MIMM #11: Thanksgiving Weekend

It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, which means I have today off but this weekend has still felt much too short. I suppose that is nothing new since time spent at home in the company of my marvelous family is never too long. This Thanksgiving definitely felt rushed. Last year I had the opportunity to press leaves, pick pumpkins and help my mom with fall decorations, but this year I barely had time to eat pie let alone bake one! MiMM

My mom and Emma came to pick me up on Friday morning after the completion of my three-hour morning Nutrition lecture. I was all packed and ready to go, so what should have been a fun and marvelous class seemed to drag on. I fed them lunch at my cafeteria before we headed back onto the highway (thankfully with minimal traffic) stopping only briefly at Ikea to look for a highchair (unsuccessfully). I did find a duvet to layer beneath my quilt since my residence room is already starting to get pretty chilly.1385625_351530854982699_1631944843_n

Three weeks away from home was much too long. Friday evening I caught up with Elyse, Caitlin and Carly over a marvelous bonfire. I never really realized how complimentary chocolate, roasted marshmallows and graham crackers could be since I usually eat them separately as opposed to in a s’mores. By 12:30 a.m. I called it a night, which was hard to do since we had so much to discuss.1373539_351530628316055_375718286_n 1384731_351530618316056_1310684331_n

We hosted Thanksgiving appetizers and dinner on Saturday for my Grandparents. Besides a batch of brownies I barely baked but I have a few recipes to try out later today before heading back to University. I’ll save the meal for Wednesday’s post but the eats were more marvelous than ever. With a 21lb Turkey and only 10 guests (…but Lottie prefers sweet potatoes so really 9) there were lots of leftovers for sandwiches. Lottie definitely entertained us for the night with her smiles, giggles and waves. She’s sitting proudly on her own and I can’t wait to see her again dressed up for Halloween. Last year she was not born yet so we were all very thankful to be blessed with her company this weekend. 1377174_351530868316031_810513216_n 1379028_351530624982722_165337714_n

Sunday we were all still tired from the turkey’s tryptophan (kidding), which meant a later start to my studying session. I worked on a Library Assignment and I reviewed a bit of Psychology and Chemistry for my upcoming midterms but I was easily distracted by PVR (I haven’t watched television in 5 weeks) running errands with my dad, preparing homemade turkey soup and baking gingerbread cookies. A less eventful but equally marvelous day to say the least!1380896_351530621649389_2025998700_n

Today I’m meeting Joyce and tonight my dad will be driving me back to residence. It seemed short but I guess that’s partly due to the commute and the fact that schoolwork isn’t easing up. No complaining here, Thanksgiving was marvelous. I’m so thankful for my entire life including but not limited to my family, friends, health, home, education, food, emotions, challenges, privileges and abilities. What are you grateful for?  Don’t forget to check out Katie’s MIMM roundup – Friday she featured some marvelous snacks and marvelous advantages of being a mom and this morning she posted a picture of Rocco (Now 15 weeks) as baby Dracula! He is so precious!  Here’s to making Mondays a bit more marvelous even if it means I have to go back to school and leave my family! ♥ Molly

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy

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MIMM #10: Get Togethers

Another marvelous weekend was spent here in London! I pride myself for working hard throughout the week so that I can enjoy marvelous outings on Saturday and Sunday.  I deserved a break, especially after completing my first midterm of the year on Friday evening. Thank you everyone for thinking math-y thoughts for me. Your kindness and my studying definitely paid off because the midterm went well. There were some challenging questions but I tried my best so I am hopeful to see a good mark when I get my results.MiMM

Not only was Friday marvelous because my midterm was a bit of a reassurance that I can succeed in University, but I thoroughly enjoyed my Food and Nutrition lecture. How it works is we have three professors who rotate through the different three sections that are taught on Friday morning. As opposed to having a big lecture of all first year Food and Nutrition students, they break it down into smaller sections, which allows us to have great discussions.  This past week our class’s topic was Digestion. I was fortunate to be able to take a Food and Nutrition class taught by an excellent teacher in grade 12, and my High School’s biology program was thorough so this lecture was a bit of a review for me (but much needed since I haven’t seen this material for 2 years). It fascinates me when Food and Nutrition brings together Chemistry and Biology in the form of Digestion. I find it neat how our food uses chemicals to break down food in conjunction with mechanical digestion. Our bodies are composed of some pretty specialized and marvelous cells. Honestly I could probably do a whole post on abnormal digestion, for example Celiac and Chrohn’s disease, but I have a feeling it might be a bit boring.1380598_348788808590237_2011727979_n

Friday was also marvelous because golden beets were back in the salad bar. I’ve decided that I should start loading up on the vegetables that I most enjoy for the days when the selection is scarcer. I also roasted acorn squash at 10:00 p.m. because that is what you do when you have a craving.1393003_348788748590243_441210251_n 1383879_348788785256906_1454995811_n1378730_348788765256908_1811413386_n

Saturday I slept in until 8:30 a.m., which was a marvelous, win in my books! I woke up intending to study but received a text message from Chelsea asking if she Andrea, Shannon and I could get together. Chelsea and Andrea had intended on visiting London the following day however a change in schedules meant that Saturday worked out better. A spontaneous car ride on their behalf left them arriving in London at 2:00 p.m. leaving us with just enough time to do a quick residence tour before we had to head to the Covent Garden Market to meet Shannon. On the way we stopped at Starbucks where I tried my first ever Salted Caramel Mocha! 1/4 syrup, non-fat milk with whip cream is definitely the way to go as it is pretty sweet! I really only purchased Nutritional Yeast (Chelsea C. you would have loved all the spices at Snack and Bake) because I was too busy catching up on everyone’s life to focus on fresh produce. Afterwards we visited Organic Works, the bakery and café that Chelsea used to work at. It was my first time visiting (although I’ve tried their bread before) but will not be my last. The eatery is so eclectic I just know my Mom would have loved their displays. It was a tough decision between the Smoked Salmon Sandwich, Kale Salad or Vegan Taco Salad, but I ended up deciding I wanted the crunch of black bean tortillas and a bit of a Mexican salsa kick. Although it was big, it wasn’t super filling, which is why I had plently of room for Chil frozen yogurt. After trying Chil with Shannon earlier in the year, no generic frozen yogurt tastes as good as organic Greek frozen yogurt offered at Chil. They are completely GMO free and offer Kerif, Soy, Almond Milk, Gelato and other dairy free options. This time I opted for Plain, Maple and Cake Batter Greek frozen yogurt with apple and pumpkin pie, sprinkles, butterscotch chips and oreo bits as my toppings. My bowl definitely was not full enough for my appetite. 1390697_348788658590252_1262545042_n 1383818_348788618590256_2092311122_n 1374306_348788638590254_2119040308_n

Sunday I managed to sleep through my alarm until 9:00 a.m.! Clearly sleep was a priority in my body’s mind but I felt a bit guilty for wasting valuable study time. I had been meaning to grab lunch with Victoria but we decided to grab coffee instead. This girl literally reads my mind when we are together; we have so much in common we could talk for hours. She’s definitely been a great support as I transition back into University. Her hugs make me feel so loved and her texts offer equally as much marvelous care.1378282_348788601923591_871201385_n

Apart from blog reading, pinteresting and chatting with my floor mates, my weekend was composed of studying. Last night I tried my first slice of Pumpkin pie thanks to Katie, which was absolutely delicious. I can’t believe there was a time when I didn’t like pumpkin! I was missing out!1381773_348788571923594_412897182_n

I’m counting down the days until I get to go home on Friday afternoon. I had been hoping Friday classes would be cancelled for Thanksgiving but we have an in class assignment instead. It’ll be marvelous to be in the company of my extended family over Canada’s Thanksgiving and I can’t wait to bake some festive desserts. I’m also looking forward to the leftovers that I will get to bring back to residence with me. Some Universities get the week off (Fall reading week) and I am so envious! I could use a week of marvelous “me” time to catch up with my sibblings, parents and friends!1375306_348788585256926_49624765_n

So as did last weekend, Saturday and Sunday were so marvelous they flew by. I could have used a bit more sunshine as it rained a fair bit, but that did not stop me from walking around campus (My hair sure paid price (FRIZZY))! Nothing too big is happening this week which will give me time to review and work on group assignments. Thanks again Katie for hosting MIMM, I hope you are having fun at Kalahari, that Rubber Duck definitely couldn’t fit in Rocco’s baby bath! MIMM sure does make Mondays a little more marvelous and manageable don’t you think? Hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend. What was the highlight of your weekend? Has it started to look like fall in your neighbourhood? Are you a fan of frozen yogurt? Will you be celebrating Thanksgiving this coming weekend and if so what are traditional dishes that your family serves?  Take care, ♥ Molly

“One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

MIMM # 10: Homecoming and More

Did you think I was still recovering from Homecoming? I know, this post is going up a little bit later than usual but rest assured that it isn’t because I am just waking up. My homecoming was fun, but definitely not wild which I’m sure you probably figured out by now based on my personality. I’m still working on finding a balance between social, educational and personal time which means blogging is taking a back seat for a little while but I don’t want to eliminate it from my life because sharing stories and connecting with other bloggers makes me feel marvelous.

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You know what else is marvelous? Mondays! Especially thanks to Katie and her marvelous link-up.1383692_346318488837269_2111843890_n 1385563_346319262170525_2021289085_n

Marvelous is getting together with friends whom you don’t get to see very often. Leah was up for Western’s homecoming so we had a lunch date at Thai Express. After she left I proceeded to get groceries because it was right next door and I figured I should make the most out of my outing. It’s still weird grocery shopping for myself as opposed to my family, but it feels marvelous to be independent. I even managed to find a 14-dollar dress that I think will pair nicely with my roots boots, cream knee socks and black leggings come the cooler weather.960169_346318455503939_482496_n 552751_346318435503941_1357468839_n

Marvelous is taking Friday night off just to socialize with friends. Even though I am legal, I prefer to socialize without alcohol so Friday night I spent avoiding the parties and instead baking brownies and eating pizza in our floor’s lounge. Our residence has baking baskets that you can rent out which is full of pans, beaters, spatulas, wooden spoons, measuring cups and essentially any other equipment you’d need to bake. We kept it classy with box brownies (It’s hard to have all ingredients on hand when you are living in residence) that we devoured straight from the pan. I think that tells you just how marvelous they were.1374700_346317902170661_866644474_n 1011968_346318418837276_934614504_n 1380869_346317898837328_1278916947_n

Marvelous is getting decked out in Purple for school spirit. Western’s homecoming football game was on Saturday against Queen’s University which the Mustangs (Western) won 51-30! I started the morning with a free pancake breakfast and lots of photos. I’d like to say I attended the game but I actually stayed home to study. I showed my support by using a purple highlighter and drinking a purple smoothie, which should count for something right? Instead of attending a kegger or a concert, a group of us went to Jack Astors for dinner complete with a trip to Masonville Mall. I warmed myself up with a cup of tea and a smile cookie from Tim Hortons. The London locations are fundraising for Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre.1377293_673753075971164_811362602_n 1371639_346317915503993_769786241_n

Marvelous is group iMessaging with my mom and sisters. I love hearing what is going on with their lives, seeing pictures of everyone’s days, asking for advice or sharing what is on my mind. Lottie was in a Contest at the Fall Fair in my sister’s neighbourhood and she won for Most Hair! I think we can all agree that other 7 month olds are envious of Lottie’s cute curls and it was a well-deserved marvelous win! It’s so fun watching Lottie grow up and my family does a great job of making me feel as though I am there. Lottie will make a great food blogger some day because she loves Sweet Potato and Avocado! I might have to introduce her to Kabocha Squash soon! 1377276_346319298837188_1107510870_n 64525_346319285503856_987695273_n

Marvelous is doing things differently. You can tell that my typical healthy eating went out the window this weekend, as did exercise. My mood has been a bit lower than normal which calls for change. Too many early mornings and late nights isn’t good, which is why I allowed my body to go to bed earlier than normal (I was asleep at 9:45 last night!) and sleep in past my usual exercise classes. No, I don’t plan of switching all salad for French fries, but I’m learning that having treats once in a while doesn’t hurt! It’s been way too long since I’ve had thai food, brownies, pizza, pancakes or cookies that weren’t made with “healthy” substitutions or in my own kitchen and it felt nice to eat them with minimal guilt. While I studied, I definitely was not as productive as I had hoped, but that is okay but you know what, I enjoyed myself! My weekend was different, but it was equally marvelous. What was marvelous about your weekend? Do you text your family members or do you prefer to phone them? Are you keen on parties or are simpler nights your thing? ♥ Molly

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Alphabetically Speaking

Nothing was flowing as I typed this morning. I tried to write about my recent efforts to meditate, but I couldn’t come up with inspiring words to help you see the benefits of finding peace within your mind. I was going to talk about how I am packing for University, but posting pictures of my messy room wouldn’t be eye appealing and I don’t have a DIY project for dorm rooms quite yet. I thought about sharing a recipe, but recently my cooking and baking haven’t been out of the norm or anything special. There was also the idea of writing a book or restaurant review, but my words weren’t doing either justice. So instead, I chose to take an easier route by completing an alphabetical questionnaire that has been floating around the blog world lately. I’m not sure if you’ll be surprised by any of my answers but it’s a great way to find out a few additional fun facts about me. ♥ Molly

“Stay true to yourself because there are very few people who will always be true to you.” 

A. Attached or Single? Single!

B. Best Friend? I have quite a few and I am confident that they know who they are. I also consider my siblings and parents to be some of my closest acquaintances since they have supported me my entire life.IMG_3788

C. Cake or pie? Does cheesecake count? I’m not keen on pie crust but I do love lemon, rhubarb, apple and pumpkin filling!

D. Day of choice? I like Fridays because I have the schedule of being in school, but I can look forward to being able to rest on the weekend. There’s also no pressure to get things done since I have two school-free days to complete tasks. Saturdays are second best because I can relax but it doesn’t mark the end of the weekend.

E. Essential Item? My iPhone. It allows me to create lists, take pictures, stay connected through Texting, Facebook, E-mail, Instagram and Twitter, write blog posts and can even be used as a Calendar, Calculator or GPS.

F. Favorite color? Pink! Although turquoise is quickly catching up!DSC05383

G. Gummy bears or worms? To me gummy bears and worms taste the exact same. I do enjoy stretching gymmy worms and the neon flavours are pretty neat!

H. Home town? Peterborough, Ontario!

I. Favourite Indulgence? Ice cream although I’d hardly consider it an indulgence since I eat it on a daily basis.Yum

J. January or July? I love the weather in July although January marks the beginning of the year which is always refreshing.

K. Kids? I hope to have 3 to 4.

L. Life isn’t complete without? Steadtler Fine-Tip Markers! I’m only kidding… Happiness.20

M. Marriage date? I used to say I wanted to be married by 24 but that only gives me 4 years to find my Prince. Let’s just say the distant future, most likely during summer.

N. Number of brothers/sisters? 2 sisters, 1 brother and 1 brother-in-law! I’m the youngest followed by Emma, Nathan and finally Caitlin (the oldest).

O. Oranges or Apples? Apples because I like a good crunch plus oranges take longer to prepare. I’m all for convenience. Pink Ladies or Royal Galas to name a few.IMG_8338

P. Phobias? Loud chewers and Spiders. They both make me cringe.

Q. Quotes? “You is kind, You is smart, You is important” – The Help, Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie

R. Reasons to smile? Because it takes fewer muscles than frowning, because it’s the cheapest thing to wear, because it spreads positivity, because it makes others happy to see, but most importantly, because I genuinely can and haven’t always been able to.IMG_0485

S. Season of choice? Spring tulips, Summer hydrangeas, Fall leaves and the crisp snow of Winter. In terms of temperature, Summer for sure! I hate the cold, brrr.

T. Tag 5 People. Anyone and everyone.

U. Unknown facts about me? I can curl my tongue into a three-leaf clover. My hair colour is natural, it hasn’t ever been dyed. I’ve always worn a homemade (Thanks Mom!) halloween costume (or recycled dance costume).  My favourites include Madeline (Age 6-7), Pippi Longstocking (Age 8-9), Paper Bag Princess (Age 12) and a Peacock (I made this one myself – Age 19).IMG_0605IMG_0592

V. Vegetable? It’s harder to name a vegetable I don’t like. If I had to choose, I would probably pick red onions as my favourite.

W. Worst habit? Never feeling good enough. I often have trouble believing in myself because I can’t seem look beyond comparisons long enough to recognize my own potential.

X. Xray or Ultrasound? I’ve had both done!

Y. Your favorite food? Everything in moderation right? Except sushi! It’s labour intensive but I do enjoy making it! IMG_7441

Z. Zodiac sign? Cancer. The Crab. Water element. Moon planet. Sensitive, dependable, romantic, creative and protective. Hypothetically I should like the colour silver and my lucky day is Monday which completely contradicts the above statements!

MIMM #4: The Little Things

I got to see a lot of Lottie this past weekend. She truly embodies a personality I strive to achieve; free-spirited. Her curiosity and genuine happiness is not only fun to watch but also to be around. Her smiles are contagious and her hugs are oh so cute. Some of the sounds Lottie is learning how to voice (mostly giggles and shrieks) melt my heart. It’s inspiring to see how small things light up her life. Pictures just don’t do her character justice because she focuses on the camera, which takes, away from her true charm.12337_320806111388507_1107668_n

My life hasn’t been extremely exciting these days, but like Lottie, I am finding value in the marvelous world that surrounds me. No matter how hard I try, I’ll never be able to just sit still because there is always something preoccupying my time. Lately it’s been a last minute coffee or ice cream date so who am I to complain?541725_320841111385007_681069601_n 946307_320841194718332_1623604002_n

On Thursday Lottie, Emma, Caitlin, my Mom and I all went to the new “Toronto Premium Outlet”. It is beyond my knowledge why they decided to call it “Toronto” given that it’s location is in Halton Hills which could not even be considered Toronto’s outskirts. Fortunately it is easily accessible as it is situated directly off a major highway. The name is a bit misleading to tourists but if they do happen to visit the mall they won’t be disappointed. It’s an outdoor concept, which is rare design for Canadian Malls because of winter weather. Based off of “Prime Outlets” in Buffalo New York, the mall features popular stores that carry both the regular clothing line and garments designed specifically for the factory outlet stores. To name a few, Kate Spade, Coach, Nike, Lucky Brand Jeans, Fossil, Banana Republic, American Eagle, Oakley are some of the well known brands. Since we went on the opening day it was busy, but it was truly marvelous when we found a parking spot quickly.533709_320841348051650_1119198784_n539627_320841368051648_2009733506_n

Friday I met up with Chelsea for the opening of Lululemon Athletica in Mapleview Mall. We both enjoyed taking some snapshots in the photobooth. I think I’m too good at making funny faces. : ) We went late enough in the day that there wasn’t a lineup which was marvelous, but unfortunately all of the free cupcakes from Kelly’s Bake Shop had been given away. I ended up buying a shirt but I loved almost all of the apparel they were featuring. I will have to watch out for sales because I still have money left on my gift card.1005473_320841328051652_479868278_n945952_320847491384369_75177439_n

I spent a lot of the time in the kitchen this weekend, helping to prepare meals or baking away the day. The aroma of freshly baked muffins filling the air is pretty marvelous. I baked “Date Newtons” and can hardly wait to share my recently created recipe with you later this week.  It’s marvelous when a recipe works out the first time around. Warm cookies dipped into a glass of cold milk is pretty marvelous as well.IMG_6449 IMG_6448

Marvelous is also when the flavours you throw into a blender compliment each other perfectly. I love using almost-too-ripe fruit in smoothies because they tend to be naturally sweeter. I have been following through with my one smoothie per day challenge.IMG_6384

Since today is a Canadian Civic Holiday, meaning it’s a long weekend, the gym has been empty since many took the opportunity to travel or visit their cottages. It’s truly marvelous to have a lane to yourself as you swim. In addition the long weekend means that my Dad is home for an extra day – what’s not marvelous about that?

Here are some other activities that I found to be pretty marvelous

  • Enjoying the first scoop of soy nut butter out of a fresh jar
  • Getting a parking lot pull through while I practiced driving
  • Arriving at the go-train station (unplanned) just before the train was about to leave
  • Starbucks Treat Receipts
  • Meeting up with Joyce
  • Lottie Hugs
  • Reading by the pool because it was finally sunny and warm
  • Trying a new Frozen Yogurt Flavour while catching up with Heather

1080839_320805528055232_1990466839_nThere are many marvelous activities awaiting me this week. For instance, the Bachelorette! Call me crazy but I am really looking forward to the season finale tonight. I started watching the Bachelorette as a way to get together with friends since they previously were Bachelorette fans. I never thought I’d enjoy reality television shows but I’ve (gasp) become a bit addicted, especially after last week’s cliff hanger. Desiree gets to go on some pretty marvelous dates, it’s no wonder they have so many contestants. I’d go on the show just for the travel perks! Kidding…

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What was marvelous about your weekend and do you have any marvelous plans awaiting you? Thanks again Katie for hosting Marvelous In My Monday! It’s easy to dwell on the fact that the weekend is over but MIMM is a great way to reflect on the fun things present within a workweek.  ♥ Molly

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” – Robert Brault

MIMM #4: Positive Reminders

I think it is important for you all to know that I am still working on my recovery from mental illnesses. I am by no means 100% recovered from disordered thinking around food, weight and happiness. These days, my mood is much more stable and I am pretty happy-go-lucky however I do still have episodes of negative self talk that bring me down. “Bubbly, Personable, Happy, Smiley, High-Spirited, Fun” are all terms used to describe me but they also go against my diagnosis of being chronically “sad”. How? The reality is you can be depressed and cheerful at the same time.

I don’t say this to earn sympathy but rather to avoid comparisons. Too often bloggers glaze over their lives only highlighting the “happy” moments. I post pictures of my room when it is tidy and avoid photographing it’s areas of clutter. I only post recipes that I have perfected but that doesn’t mean they started out as 100% fail-proof. I appear as though I never get in fights with friends or family but in truth, I am a human as well and I don’t have flawless relationships. Some bloggers are inclined to showcasing the fun activities they do, without letting on that they have moments of “doing nothing” as well. I don’t think I’d earn many followers if all I ever did was complain since nobody wants to be left feeling emotionally drained after reading a post. I think it’s strong that some bloggers are able to admit to the hard times they are facing and shed light on issues so many of us battle on an everyday basis. CaitPlusAte and ItzLinz are two of my favourite blogs for this reason since they address sensitive subjects while remaining positive and inspirational.

So while I might appear to have my life in order, rest assured it’s not. Don’t get me wrong, I live a happy life and most of my smiles are genuine, but that’s because I have plans in place to lift my spirits when moments of sadness arise. Marvelous is having continuous support and unconditional love whether I feel I deserve it or not. My friends and family continue to remind me that they have my back. In times of sadness I have a little bucket of marvelous “reminders” as to what is marvelous about life and what others find marvelous about me.

IMG_6295 Screen Shot 2013-07-28 at 2.54.58 PMPositive Affirmation Books: No matter how old you are, I truly believe you need to own at least one picture book. These three books, “Heart Thoughts”, “In the Garden of Thoughts” and “Every Thing Is Going To Be OK”,  contain inspirational thoughts that are not only uplifting but empowering. Accompanied by whimsical illustrations or photographs, these books always leave me feeling happier and more optimistic.  “If you stumbled today, remember where and how it felt. Tomorrow, take a different path. Life flourishes from its pain and the lessons we gain.” – Dodinsky

IMG_6305Blessed Bracelet: The idea is to wear this bracelet until it fades in colour and eventually falls off. These bracelets have been carried through India and blessed with love on the banks of River Ganges. I was given two from my Life Coach as a reminder not to worry about the past or future but to live blessed in the moment. The colour red symbolizes protection, healing, commitment and spirituality. The first one stayed on my wrist for over four months and I have yet to tie the second one onto my wrist. “When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place.” – C.S. Lewis

IMG_6113 IMG_6302“Why We Love You” Letters: For my twentieth birthday, two of my best friends, Elyse and Caitlin, compiled a box filled with 20 letters from my closest friends and family members for me to read next year when I am away at University. Since I couldn’t wait until I felt sad, I read them all in one night, but I will definitely continue to re-read them in moments when I need to be cheered up. It was neat to see which memories were most prominent in the minds of others. My dad wrote a poem recalling when I ran around an MBA court with the “Raptors Flag”. The comments were so flattering and made me feel very important and special.  Some were stories from when I was a baby, others were work-related,  some were just funny things I’ve said (and wish others had forgotten by now) and of course some offered advice for my future. One of my favourites came from my niece Lottie as she signed it only with ooo’s (not xo’s) since she still hasn’t learned to kiss yet! What a cutie! Elyse and Caitlin also included some inspirational quotes and fun photographs they pulled from my instagram and pinterest accounts. “I remember your drive, passion, determination, and insane energy from your grade 7 year like it was yesterday. I remember your landfill, your lock bridge, your uber-organized binders and your straight A’s. I always loved how you presented yourself with such poise, but were so darn adorable in your little cardigans.” – Tammy

photo-89Willow Tree Angels: Angels are said to represent protection, inner peace, virtue and love. Today I have three and each one offers me comfort when I am searching for answers. I purchased myself the Angel of Freedom, was given the Angel of Happiness from my grade 12 English teacher on the day I graduated, and the Angel of Friendship actually belongs to my mom but I keep it in my room.
“Angels have no philosophy but love.” – Terri Guillemets

IMG_5982Pandora Bracelet: Last year for my birthday, Elyse and Caitlin gave me my Pandora bracelet along with the “Inner Strength”, “Journey” and “Angel of Hope” charms. They both have the “Journey” charm as well to symbolize that they will always fight alongside of me. While we were away in France, my family gave me the “Eiffel Tower” charm. They also gave me the “Camera” charm since I love photography. This year Joyce gave me the “Faith” charm. Each charm is so special since I didn’t purchase them myself and instead they were given to me as a reminder of friendship or love. While wearing the bracelet I am constantly thinking of those who believe in my potential. “Friends give us the courage to lift the blinds on our hearts to open up and show what we generally keep hidden from the rest of world.” – Ritu Ghatourey

IMG_6292Oracle Cards: These decks help me to manifest my thoughts and put words to my feelings. They seem to relate to whatever emotion I am experiencing, happy or sad, confused or awakened, and offer vague advice open for personal interpretation. “Today I will tell myself that who I am is okay, and that what I am doing is good enough. Of course I make mistakes and get offtrack sometimes, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not as good as everyone else. No one is perfect and that’s just fine.” – Melody Beattie

MiMM1Happiness is a journey not a destination, similar to the path towards recovery. You don’t get to a state of utter confusion and chaos overnight, so you can’t expect to be healed in a second. Even in my worst days, there is something marvelous to be celebrated. Thank you Katie, for yet another wonderful link-up that reminded me to take time to reflect on marvelous memories.  ♥ Molly

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” – Maya Angelou

City Life and Shopping Tips

Today I am headed to Toronto. Despite living only about a half an hour way, I don’t make my way into the city that often. When I do go, the temptation of spending all my savings is so powerful as Toronto is home to some of the nicest shopping districts and boutiques in Canada. While I don’t exactly need a new wardrobe, I haven’t bought many summer items this year. My friend from High school, Megan, goes to the University of Toronto and has a Condo downtown. I see her on a daily basis as she is my gym buddy (she’s a great motivator and doesn’t take “I’m tired” as an answer), but the few breaks that we take in between laps at the pool don’t offer us enough time to catch up. We’ve been meaning to have a girls night for awhile now, and we decided that we wanted to escape Oakville for a fun shopping trip. I’ll be catching the train around 10:00 a.m. and then coming home tomorrow in time for my driving lesson at 3:00p.m. This leaves us lots of time to shop, chat, eat, and of course watch chick flicks. I really hope to go to Brandy Melville as I’ve never been, try out a Vegan restaurant called “Fresh” and then check out some of my favourite stores including Urban Outfitters and Forever 21. Since I have another shopping trip planned for later this week, I’m limiting my purchases to essentials only. I make myself sound like a “crazy” spender but in fact, I actually have trouble parting with money. I fall in love with so many clothes but by the time I reach the cash I’ve usually talked myself out of most of my finds. This being said, I do consciously think of a few tips before and during my excursions. I try to …

  • Shop with a list:  Today I hope to find a new sunglasses, a pair of cute sandals or wedges, a fashionable bathing suit, and a pair of shorts. These are all things that I need. Even though I probably have too many dresses, they are never frivolous purchases because they are something I wear frequently. I am going to try my best to refrain from buying one, but I won’t be that upset if I happen to find a cute maxi on sale.
  • Set a budget: I’m pre-setting a budget, because I don’t want to get caught up in the moment and overspend on things that I don’t need or won’t use. I’m going to try and use cash for clothing purchases as I find it helps me stay conscious of my total spendings. Did you know that statistics show that you are willing to pay up to 50% more for an item if you are putting it on your credit or debit card? Of course it’s not safe to carry too many lose coins and bills, so I’ll be using debit (lower limit) for food and travel expenses.
  • Start Early: We picked an early start time so that we don’t get stuck in traffic on our way into the city, the malls are less busy and we aren’t fatigued from a day’s worth of activities. We are also mid-week as opposed to the weekend in hopes of avoiding crowds since many will be working.
  • Set a timeframe: While we have all day to shop around the city, we have many areas to check out such as the Eaton Centre and Queen Street. We don’t want to be mindlessly wandering as we have other things on our to-do list.
  • Look Online: To be honest, I already have an idea of exactly what I want to buy. I’m not getting my hopes up since stores hardly ever have the exact item I am looking for, but it gave me a rough idea about sales, prices and what to watch for.
  • Pack Snacks: Nobody can have fun if they are hungry. Food courts don’t always offer the healthiest eats, and you don’t want to be wasting your time searching for a snack when you could be better using your time to try on clothes. I know that I get emotional if I am starving, and I don’t want to have a meltdown in the change room.
  • Trust my instincts: If you aren’t sure, put something on hold. It’s much easier to go back to a store than it is to make a return, especially if you only receive a “store credit”. Shop with a friend who’s opinion you value because it’s hard to trust a sales person who is more focused on selling than whether or not the outfit truly suits your body.

July Finds 2 July Finds July Finds 31. Brya Skirt 2. Solitude 3. Polka Dot Bikini 4. Antica Maxi Dress 5. Floral Wayfarer Sunglasses 6. Kimchi Blue Molly Jacquard Pinup Short

Happy Tuesday! What are you mindful of when going to a mall? Do you pre-shop online or do you like to be surprised when entering a store? What is your favourite trend right now? ♥ Molly

“Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping.” – Bo Derek 

Kindfood: Restaurant Review

July is all about firsts, so after visiting Kindfood, I decided I would write my first restaurant review. I mentioned my visit briefly in this week’s MIMM, but I didn’t quite capture how marvelous the outing was. I truly believe that hard work and great execution deserves praise, and Kindfood did just that, so it only made sense to let others know how much I enjoyed my meal.

Chelsea is always talking about Kindfood on her blog and more often than not I am left drooling over the photos. When I saw her back in May at Whole Foods, we agreed that another lunch date was in need since we had more than one lunch worth of topics to discuss (It had been over a year since we last saw each other). Neither of us had to be convinced that Kindfood would be the place to meet up (the bigger issue was finding time). After looking on the website, I saw that Kindfood is Canada’s first, and Award-Winning, 100% Gluten-free Vegan Restaurant featuring local and organic plant based cuisine created with deliciously vibrant flavours that are nourishing, healthy and revitalizing (taken from the website). With a statement as bold as the preceding, I obviously went in with high expectations. Thankfully, it didn’t disappoint.

The Food

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What I ate: The Happy Buddha Bowl which was a bed of organic brown rice topped with grilled sweet potato, diced red onion, chopped tomato, cilantro and avocado. Mixed in for flavour was a combination of dried herbs, olive oil and tamari. It comes with sunflower seeds and raw almonds, but I omitted them due to my allergies and supplemented in tofu for protein instead. The only thing I might have added to my meal was a sauce of some sort. I don’t eat rice that often, so this request is more to do with texture than taste, but I did find that the rice needed something to make it a bit less dry. Maybe a spoonful of hummus?

Even though I had scanned the online menu before visiting Kindfood, I still had trouble deciding what I wanted to eat. The menu offers a great selection ranging from burgers to salads and everything in between. It is very detailed and informs you of all the ingredients in each dish, which I found particularly helpful for my allergies. They also have a juice bar, and sell pre made beverages such as beer and Kombucha. Other things that interested me on the menu included the Beauty Salad as it featured an orange & umeboshi vinaigrette, the Sprout Sandwich because the combination of hummus and cilantro pesto sounds very appealing, the QuinWOW bowl as it includes a sauce of  miso gravy which is something I’ve never tried, Kelly’s Tempeh Burger because I hardly ever cook tempeh on my own, and of course the Salted Caramal Cheese cake because I can never resist a sweet and salty dessert, not to mention it’s vegan!

Service

photo-99Good customer service is all about bringing customers back, and I would not only return, but also recommend this restaurant to friends and family. I found everyone to be so informative, friendly and outgoing. They were able to guarantee no cross contamination occurred with nuts, and they accommodated my addition of tofu, even though it isn’t on the menu (Thanks Chelsea for letting me know). My meal was delivered after only a few minutes of waiting, despite the restaurant being quite busy. The food was warm, had good presentation and was served by a waiter who possessed knowledge about my meal and polite manners. A meal might be delicious but if the customer service isn’t at least adequate, I won’t return to the restaurant. Kindfood received 100% and I repeated told Chelsea how kind (no pun intended) the staff was.

Value

My meal was $12.00 before adding the tofu and tax. For the quality and care put into my dish, I actually would have expected to pay more. The ingredients tasted fresh. While I managed to consume the entire bowl, it was definitely a generous portion. On a typical day, I would have probably been over-satisfied after having half so if you divide the cost by two meals, it’s extremely reasonable. Did I mention it was organic? This is a quote I found on the menu: “Organic may cost a little more… but we think you’re worth it.”

Atmosphere

photo-100In one word, the atmosphere is fun, but to be quite honest it’s hard to describe the atmosphere of the restaurant in depth, as I was more concentrated on my food and my get-together. I’d say it’s a location to go on a first date, or with family. It’s fairly casual as you seat yourself and get your own water. From what I saw, it was common for people to share two dishes so you can imagine the atmosphere is fairly relaxed (Fine dining often doesn’t involve passing plates around). Some tables are lower to the ground and some are higher up, so some tables offer stools or chairs and others offer a bench across the wall (I think!). It’s very cozy and very clean but you also have the option to sit on the patio! The walls are painted orange, the artwork is minimal, the menu is hand-written on a chalkboard and overall the restaurant is extremely welcoming. The meals were served in appropriate (wooden bowls), clean (no scratches from previous uses) dish ware that I actually owned (the plates, I am hoping to buy the bowls).  You could dress this restaurant up by wearing a summer skirt and wedges, or you could show up in jean shorts and flip flops.

What would I change? Probably nothing!  It’s situated downtown Burlington right by the lake which is a great area to go shopping in. After our meal Chelsea and I had a bit of time before she started work and I left to go home, so we walked off our meals. Parking is affordable, window glancing is optional and there is always the water to walk beside. Did I mention Kelly’s Bake Shoppe is owned by the same family? Apparently the baked goods were so popular from within Kindfood, there was a high demand for a separate bakery. Just recently Kelly opened up her shop less than a block away. I was too full to fit any more food inside so I bought four to take home. I’ll definitely do a review on the bakery in the near future (after I’ve tested a few more varieties of course) but they were excellent are a great for individuals who can’t stomach gluten!

IMG_5788Want to know more? Check out the website for Kindfood or Kelly’s Bake Shoppe! I just found out Kelly even has her own blog!What is one of your favourite restaurant? Do you prefer fine dining, cafés or even food trucks? Do you typically eat at a restaurant chain, or a local family-operated restaurant? ♥ Molly

“We all eat and it would be a sad waste of opportunity to eat badly.” – Anna Thomas

MIMM #1

This summer I am not working, so I am able to live a more relaxed lifestyle. While I do love a schedule to keep me on task, it has been nice to make last-minute plans with friends. Despite not having a set routine, I still seem to be keeping pretty busy. From the upbeat “Color Me Rad” race, to low-key Strawberry picking, I’m so thankful for everything that I’ve had the privilege of doing this summer. My life has been pretty “marvelous” so in appreciation, I’ve decided to participate in Katie’s “Marvelous In My Monday” link-up.

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Marvelous is sitting down for a family meal, cooked by someone with love. It’s learning about what is going on in the lives of your parents or siblings, because you are truly interested in hearing what they have been up to.

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Marvelous is for the moments when you wake up to the sound of birds chirping in time to see the sunrise and for the times when you sleep in unexpectedly. It’s for falling asleep while reading a good book, but also for the times when you wake up energized for the day ahead.

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Marvelous is being able to get together with a friend who you haven’t seen for a while, without it being awkward since you share so many similar passions and interests. It’s for having friends like Chelsea, who you can ask for good recommendations when it comes to television shows, books, restaurants and foods.

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Marvelous is trying a new restaurant or a new dish, and eating until you are completely satisfied. It’s being able to pick an item off of the menu that you truly want or are craving, able it’s being able to enjoy every mouthful without regret.

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Marvelous is staying active in your every day life, whether walking to get the mail, biking to the library or completing a workout video. It’s being able to go to the gym five days in a row because you enjoy exercising, but it’s also being able to take several days off without guilt.

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Marvelous is catching up on a TV series with a cup of tea in your hands. It’s being able to watch an uneducational show without feeling lazy, because you find yourself entertained by the humour and suspense.

Marvelous is spending time smiling and laughing with family. It’s watching your niece learn and grow, as she discovers new things each and every day.

photo-95I have so many great adventures to come this summer, but already, I’ve managed to make my day to day life pretty marvelous. Thank you Katie and everyone else, for reminding me how marvelous my life truly is. Be sure to check what other bloggers find marvellous in their life, as it is a great way to find favourite products, DIY projects, new recipes, motivating quotes, fun songs and of course fitness tips. I bet Katie has had a lot of marvelous moments this past week, as she recently delivered a handsome and healthy baby boy named Rocco. He is definitely a bundle of joy and my best wishes out to their growing family.  ♥ Molly

“It is always the simple that produces the marvellous.” – Amelia Barr

Fourth of July Celebration Snacks

Happy Fourth of July! Provided I can do math (2013 minus 1776), 237 years ago today, the United States declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. While I haven’t visited every state, I have enjoyed visiting New York (NYC and Buffalo) on multiple occasions, California (L.A and SanFrancisco), Maine (Freeport) and Florida (Orlando). I am also going to be exploring South Carolina later this summer! I am headed to Myrtle Beach with a friend and her family, any good recommendations?

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(Throwback Thursday to NYC 2010, Overlooking Central Park and The Busyness of Time Square)

Since I am Canadian and celebrated July 1st earlier this week, I’ve have already had my fair share of themed attire, BBQs and of course fireworks. This being said, I don’t think I can ever get sick of “party food”.

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Summertime gatherings tend to be filled with beverages and munchies, so in hopes of keeping my snacks on the healthier side, I came up with a new recipe. I absolutely love Guacamole, but Avocados can add up in price. To cut costs and please my dad’s taste buds (can you believe he doesn’t like Avocados?) I decided to substitute in green peas.

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Green Pea GuacamoleIMG_5756

Makes approximately 2 cups

  • 3 cups frozen green peas, completely thawed
  • ½ cup Vidalia or green onion, chopped
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 garlic gloves, sliced
  • 1 tsp. lime zest
  • 3 tbsp. lime juice (Approximately 1 limes)
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  1. Set aside 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro for garnish
  2. Place all ingredients into a food processor, and pulse until smooth or desired consistency. Approximately 3 minutes.
  3. Refrigerate for half an hour, allowing flavors to blend.
  4. Serve alongside crackers, nacho chips, or crunchy crudités such as snap peas, carrots or cucumber. Garnish with remaining cilantro, a slice or lime or extra cayenne pepper.

Disclaimer: While this dip is rich in flavor, it isn’t quite as creamy as your typical guacamole since it contains very little healthy fat. One “switch up” you might want to make, is cutting down on the peas by 1/2 cup, and adding in 1 avocado that is peeled, pitted and chopped. Also, you can hardly taste the cilantro so don’t despair if it isn’t your favourite flavour. My sister doesn’t like cilantro but agreed it was needed in this recipe.

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(Sorry about that piece of cilantro on my mini latte bowl, it kind of ruins the picture. I don’t know how I didn’t notice it when taking the photos! And yes, I have two sizes of the same coloured bowl. I didn’t eat it ALL in one helping – I only came close!)

It’s affordable, it’s easy (especially since you don’t have to finely chop the ingredients before pulsing them) it’s tasty and it’s healthy! I hope you enjoy it as much as my family did. I decided to mix in some red onion and tomato after it had been pureed, to add a bit more texture. They were great additions, as I am in love with onions of any kind. Maybe this recipe can be something you bring to a future gathering when you are asked to bring an appetizer?? I know I wouldn’t hesitate to bring it to a girls night!

Happy Independence Day Americans! Did you notice I omitted the “u” in flavour out of respect for your spelling? ♥ Molly

“This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.”  – Elmer Davis