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

“Should” Statements

These past few weeks, my mind has been clouded by “should” statements; “I should start lifting weights”, “I should keep my room tidier”, “I should have a job”.  These statements are assumptions that I make, because I feel pressure to be a certain way. I might not actively wish to be more muscular, have a more organized room, or even work, but these are all things I feel I ought to be or do.

Sometimes it is hard for me to realize what I truly want in life, or whether the expectations I put on myself are because I want to conform to societal norms. I am influenced by my surroundings which includes friends, social media, magazines, news and more. I forget that what works for others, isn’t necessarily what will work, or what needs to work, for myself.

In some cases, I don’t have a choice. For example, if I want to succeed in my schooling, I do need to study. However, at some point, it becomes a personal decision as to whether or not “I should study more”. This is where I run into some difficulty. I need to realize that the implementation of “should statements” is a cognitive distortion that only ever leaves me feeling guilty and wrong.

Right now one of my “shoulds” actually has to do with my education. I can’t tell if I am striving for a profession that I am truly passionate about, or because the title is “well respected” and something I have always seen myself achieving. While I am still early on in reaching my degree, for volunteer experience and course selection, I do need to decide where I see myself going. I guess I struggle a bit with finding my own identity.

Should statements can be difficult to break through, especially when my perfectionism continues to reinforce that nothing is “good enough”. The reality is, nobody is perfect, life can’t be viewed as black or white, and I need to accept myself for who I am. I don’t define others by “should” statements, so I need to stop living my life according to how I believe it “should be”. Things happen for a reason, what is meant to be will be, and happiness doesn’t come from worrying.

My goal for this week is to replace the shoulds that I truly believe in, with “I want” or “I will”. Should leads to shame, but a choice leads to action. ♥ Molly

“Shame should be reserved for the things we choose to do, not the circumstances that life puts on us.” – Ann Patchett 

July Favourites

It is hard to believe that it is July already, as it feels like June had just begun. This is by far my favourite month, as it contains 31 days, is usually the month for our family vacation, fosters reunions with friends that moved away for school, brings warmer weather, allows for beach trips, is the “in season” for fresh berries, encloses Canada Day and Independence Day and of course is the month my own birthday falls within! Here are some of the things I already love about July.

July Favourites1. Ivivva Double-Dutch Tank 2. Mini Latte Bowls 3. Nectarines 4.Sunglow Stripes Dress 5. Inspirational Quotes 6. “Word Art” Disposable Cameras 7. Clear Wayfarer Sunglasses 8. The Fault in Our Stars Novel 9. Rampup Wedges 10. iPhone Editing App. “A Beautiful Mess”

Since July is often very busy, I typically have less time for myself. While I love get-togethers, I don’t want to lose sight of my own goals.Along with a few academic and fitness aspirations (not mentioned), I have set five blog and five personal goals that are S.M.A.R.T.. This is what I am motivated to achieve for the month of July:

Blog Goals

  • Participate in Marvelous Monday and What I ate Wednesday at least once! I have been hesitant to join these movements as I am still unsure which direction my blog is going to travel in. I haven’t quite figured out my target audience, so I don’t know whether or not my readers will enjoy these types of posts. Regardless, both “link-ups” are great for earning new followers and I know they will enhance my blogging experience. I’d like to become part of the blogging community so that in future I can attend conferences such as the Blend Retreat, HLS and BlogHer.
  • Create at least 2 DIY posts. Right now my blog is more focused on recipes than my everyday living. I thoroughly enjoy crafts and I haven’t been sharing those that I do on a regular basis! I hope to feature more photos and less words, since lately my posts have been lengthy.
  • Comment on posts more often. I read my “blogroll” daily, however I don’t always take the time to let the blogger know I relate to his or her post. I know how much I appreciate comments, and I definitely want to recognize the effort bloggers put into their websites.
  • Try a new recipe each week and create a new recipe each week. I’d love to venture out from my cooking style by trying recipes that I can find off of pinterest, other blogs, cookbooks and the television.
  • Complete my first review. I’ve actually been sent some products to review, after a company heard that I am blogging. I’d like to feature my first giveaway this month! My only hesitation is that I still don’t have a ton of followers, but I guess that just increases everyone’s chance of winning!

Personal Goals

  • Try one new food each week. I love going to the grocery store and picking out products. This month I am going to challenge myself to cook foods of different ethnicities. I’d love to try new fruits and vegetables, especially those deemed “superfoods”. I’m currently working on exposing myself to more coconut since I am just beginning to like its flavour!
  • Develop a new hobby. My sister Emma is very talented at crocheting. So far I only know how to sew and knit. I’d love to learn how to crochet as well! I will also continue to improve my photography skills and baking techniques.
  • Finalize my summer plans! I have recently booked my flight for a trip at the end of August, but I want to work on some details for a family trip this July.
  • Read. I love reading but these days I seem to be too busy to spend time absorbing a good novel. The last novel I read was “Storyteller” by Jodi Picoult and it was so good that I finished it in two days. I hope to reincorporate reading into my bedtime routine so that I am spending less time exposed to bright lights, and more time winding down before falling asleep. It’s just one more thing that I can do for self-care and myself.
  • Be more easy going. Traffic, slow walkers and other things that throw me off of schedule, can really get on my nerves. I hope to become more patient and be less of a perfectionist. I want my summer to be enjoyable and relaxing, so I am going to try to go with the flow. This will include my appearance, as I want to spend less time straightening my hair and more time embracing its natural wave and frizz. While I am always optimistic, I do let others influence my mood, and I want to focus on finding the good in every situation so that I don’t take anything in my life for granted. There is always something to be thankful for!

What do you hope to complete this month? Do you take time off for holidays in July, or is it no different than April and June? What are your July Favourites? Have any inspirational quotes or tips that make you even more productive? ♥ Molly

Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value. – Albert Einstein

Defining Happiness

Happiness. By definition, it is the state of well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy (Source). While happiness is a human right that belongs to everyone, it does not mean that we each experience pleasure every moment of each day. In fact happiness can co-exist with any emotion. It is very possible to be happy and sad at the same time in situations including and similar to commencement. As promising as one’s future may be upon graduating, leaving behind friends and a known part of one’s life is undoubtedly emotional.

Yesterday was a day filled with happiness. I completed my first colour run, got to visit with a close friend whom I haven’t seen for over one year, swam in my own pool, spent time with my family and concluded the evening with a lovely dinner.

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Gluten Free Carrot Muffins that I made for race fuel. One of the girls on my team has a gluten intolerance.

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Left to Right: Leah, Larissa, ME, Will, Maude

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These sunglasses were so handy. No coloured corn starch got into my eyes. I’ll be reusing them as they really block out the sun.

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Slice of Tomato, Couscous/Red Onion/Red Pepper, Barbecued Salmon, Onion Tomato Relish, Cesar Salad! I haven’t had Cesar salad in so long!

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Look at that smile. She is learning how to “shriek’ it is oh so adorable!

Sometimes happiness isn’t necessarily about what we do, but instead comes from the people whom we do things with. Whether or not we feel comfortable in our environment is also a key factor into the outcome of an event. I don’t love to run (and definitely did not train for this race) but running 5km was invigorating as I was motivated by laughter, music, fellow runners and of course “Colour Bombs”.

We can put a conscious effort into finding happiness through activities such as meditation or painting, but happiness can also arise in unexpected moments. It is fundamental in relationships and friendships and definitely makes tasks more manageable. I can’t imagine being employed in the wrong company or even the wrong field.

Part of the reason happiness is so sweet, is because it isn’t always present. In Gretchen Rubin’s novel “The Happiness Project”, some of the controversial arguments about happiness are mentioned.

 “The belief that unhappiness is selfless and happiness is selfish is misguided. It’s more selfless to act happy. It takes energy, generosity, and discipline to be unfailingly lighthearted, yet everyone takes the happy person for granted. No one is careful of his feelings or tries to keep his spirits high. He seems self-sufficient; he becomes a cushion for others. And because happiness seems unforced, that person usually gets no credit.”

This reminds me to be thankful for what I have because although others may appear to have their life more put together than myself, appearance can be deceiving. It resonates with one of my favourite quotes that I have mentioned before “Comparison is the thief of Joy” first said by Theodore Roosevelt.

I want to leave you with one last personal thought before I conclude this post about happiness. Happiness is something that is different for each and every one of us. What brings glee into my life is completely different than the things that create pleasure for my family members and friends. We are each entitled to our own opinion and while it is fair to respect the input of others, it is necessary to take your own to heart. Just because others might question your values does not mean that they are wrong. You cannot sacrifice your own joys in fear of rejection. ♥ Molly

“One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats.” – Iris Murdoch

Tropical Treats

As a nutrition student, I read cookbooks like an individual majoring in English would devour a Shakespeare play. While most of the time I search for inspiration through Pinterest and Blogs, I probably flip through a recipe book at least every other day. Call me addicted, but the terminology is fascinating.

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When I am creating a recipe of my own though, I often seek guidance from my Nutrition textbook.

One of my favourite bloggers and good friend is great at informing her readers about great sources of various nutrients. This year, Chelsea completed her undergraduate in Food and Nutrition and received a dietetic internship for the upcoming year. Whenever I am in need of a new place to eat, I always ask her since is great at discovering new restaurants and shares similar nut allergies as me! Often she will do a breakdown of a certain vitamin or mineral and this week it just happened to be Iron. Something I should be more conscious about consuming within my diet.

When assembling a meal, I don’t simply cater to my taste buds; I also try to incorporate nutrients that I know I need. My blood work consistently shows a lack of Iron and since I don’t eat red meat, I am conscious about choosing leafy greens, legumes, tofu and of course occasional heme sources such as mussels and shrimp. Chelsea mentioned that seeds and molasses are also great sources for iron, so I might just have to whip up a batch of cookies!

Similarly, I don’t often drink milk, so I choose calcium rich and vitamin D dense foods such as yogurt, fish and eggs (the yolk included). Recently I took up an interest in swimming and since then, I have found that I am getting muscle cramps during the night. This can be a sign of a potassium deficiency as potassium is responsible for balancing water and acid in blood and in body tissues. Potassium is a trace mineral, which means quantity wise, I don’t need as much as a macro mineral. This being said, someone over the age of 14 should be ingesting 4700mg of potassium each day (Canada’s Food Guide). Bananas are one of the best sources of potassium as are lima and white beans, potatoes (with skin), squash, dairy (yogurt and milk) and apricots (fresh or dried).

Today, when creating a healthy snack, I decided to incorporate both Potassium and Calcium. While this recipe isn’t exactly a source of iron, Vitamin C does enhance non-heme iron absorption when eaten at the same meal. Last week my sister and I made yummy orange creamsicles, but to be honest, they weren’t exactly nutritious. In hopes of maintaing their flavour but cutting back on the fat and sugar, I created a delicious yogurt variation. I call them “Better than Tropicana” because they remind me of a childhood favourite; Tropicana “Strawberry Banana Orange Juice”.

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Makes 6, 3oz Servings

  • 1 cup of Orange Juice (Freshly squeezed or Organic).
  • 1 cup Strawberry Yogurt (Greek or Regular, 0% or 2%)
  • 1 banana (Fairly ripe)
  1. Blend all ingredients together and pour into popsicle moulds. Let freeze overnight.

Note: If you wanted this to taste more like an Orange creamsicle, substitute vanilla yogurt instead of strawberry, and omit the banana. You could even add in some fresh orange zest, but beware it sinks to the end of the popsicle. To compensate for the missing banana ingredient, add an extra half a cup of vanilla yogurt. To pack in even more protein, you could add in 1 scoop of protein powder, decrease the amount of yogurt and increase the ratio of juice so that it isn’t too thick.

I think that the reason I enjoy making popsicles is because they aren’t messy (hello blender and spatula) and are very easy (only three ingredients). I am hoping to create Pomegranate Blueberry, Strawberry Basil, and Mocha flavoured popsicles in the near future. Making popsicles is similar to making a smoothie, only in solid form. The hardest part is definitely waiting for them to freeze and seeing them disappear quickly. You’ll be surprised at how filling they can actually be! ♥ Molly

Fun Fact: I fell in love with popsicles during the 2003 summer power outage. Everyone brought popsicles and ice cream out to the park since there was no electricity to keep the freezer cold! 

Molly Smiles

While you might know a bit about “The Happiness Recipe”, I haven’t really given you much history on me. My name is Molly and my middle name is my mom’s name,  Martha. Over the years though I have gained many nicknames and am used to responding to almost anything. Perhaps it is because I have a big personality, a good sense of humour, am quirky and am fairly small in height. Here are just a few: Molly Mouse, Molly Moo, Molly Dolly, Molly Pocket, Molly Moushka, Molls, and so on.

Emma is proudly holding me!

Emma is proudly holding me!

I was quite the ham!

Emma and I! I was quite the ham!

I still have similar style. I love bows, dresses and headbands!

I still have similar style. I love bows, dresses and headbands! (I am second from the left).

I grew up in a small community called Peterborough, Ontario. As the youngest of four, I followed in the footsteps of my siblings attending French Immersion. I started my dancing career at the age of three, learned how to play the violin and made true friends as there were only 8 of us in my class. Soon after I celebrated my 10th birthday, my family and I moved to Oakville, Ontario.

Fast forward ten years, and here I am today.  Attending the University of Western Ontario at Brescia College, in pursuit of becoming a Dietitian. No wait, Neurosurgeon or maybe even a Psychiatrist? I am not quite sure so for now I am focusing on completing an Honours Specialization in Food and Nutrition with a Major in Psychology. Brescia is my home away from home as the professors really take the time to get to know you. I participated in a Speech Competition focusing on a Female Leader and as a result, have attended many luncheons with the Principal and fellow contestants. I really feel part of the community and it offers so many engaging volunteer opportunities which enables me gain experience in the profession of my choice. Brescia is sort of like a sorority (without the drama that is) since it is an all girls residence (Boys can attend classes on Brescia, but they would either be a Kings, Huron or Main Campus student).  Brescia  reminds me a bit of my roots (Peterborough), as the class sizes are quite small. In contrast to the 500 faces I meet in my Chemistry course on Main Campus, I am able to really get to know the 80 or so students in my close knit dietetic stream.

Grand Central Terminal, NYC!

Grand Central Terminal, NYC!

Fao Schwarz in NYC!

Prom 2011!

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Fall, Thanksgiving!

South of France, Summer 2012!

South of France, Summer 2012!

Halloween, DYI Costume, 2012!

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Al Gore, Me to We, 2012!

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Christmas, 2012!

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Speaking alongside Clara Hughes! March 2013!

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May, 2013!

The things I value most in life are simple gestures. I love it when someone politely shakes my hand, holds a door, asks how my day is going or does a random act of kindness. I enjoy conversing over coffee with friends, shopping (Especially for groceries), crafting, reading and of course blogging. If I had enough people to feed, I would spend my days in the kitchen baking and cooking. Bike rides, swimming, running, dancing, yoga posing and even walking are the ways in which I stay fit. Some days I wish money wasn’t an important factor in traveling, as I aspire to visit Hawaii, Australia and British Columbia in the near future. To date, my favourite place in the world is Amsterdam; my Nana and Grandpa’s birthplace. While I like to keep busy, I can’t deny that I have days where I sleep in. Dinner is my favourite meal as it is one that is always spent with my family. I wish every day was “Games” day as I am fairly competitive and love playing Cards, Scrabble, Apples to Apples, Catch Phrase and Ellen DeGenere’s iPhone application, “Heads Up”. I’m definitely not afraid of making a fool out of myself (In a good way of course), I go out of my way to help others and am a great talker (I once had a shirt that said “I got an A+ in Talking”).

I believe the best things in life are homemade. I believe smiling makes me happier. I believe tea parties aren’t old fashion and I believe flowers bloom from their roots. I believe wearing dresses makes me feel pretty. I believe life is about creating experiences and I believe in celebrating each accomplishment. I believe crafts aren’t just for kids. I believe that meal time brings a family together. I also believe that there is a recipe for happiness that is waiting to be cooked in each of our lives.

Want to know more about me? Send an e-mail to thehappinessrecipe@hotmail.com, follow me through Instagram (mollyschoo or thehappinessrecipe), read my Tweets (mollyschoo) and keep subscribing to this blog! ♥ Molly

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson