How to Sneak “Super Foods” Into Your Meals

Happy Sunday! These past few days (or weeks I should say) have been extremely busy for me. With summer coming, weddings, birthdays, travel plans etc., it is difficult to find time for myself and stay healthy. I am a very routine oriented person and love to have everything planned out. What I have learned recently is that everything isn’t going to go as planned and that’s okay. Something else I have learned though is the importance of getting enough sleep, taking supplements, and eating healthy. It can make the world of a difference. Especially when I’m not eating a well balanced diet I feel more tired, my skin is dull and I can feel my body struggling to keep up. That is why I make it a point to sneak my favourite “super foods” into my day where ever possible! Eating gluten-free makes it that much more important to find ways to eat the right foods and keep your energy levels high.

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Coconut oil: I have recently discovered my love for coconut oil. I have always loved the taste of coconut but never really found ways to incorporate it on a daily basis. Everyday I add a teaspoon of coconut oil to my coffee. I know it sounds a bit bizarre but it adds a yummy coconut flavour AND due to the high fat content I stay full in the morning until I get a chance to eat something. Coconut oil can also be used to bake, cook, make homemade body products…the list is endless. (P.S. I also use coconut oil to take my mascara off!)

Hemp hearts: I have been adding hemp hearts to my meals for a few years now. Currently I am loving them in my morning yogurt! They have a bit of an “earthy” taste to them so I add them to my vanilla greek yogurt with some fresh berries. These little seeds are high in protein, omegas, fibre, and magnesium.

Chia seeds: I have a love hate relationship with chia seeds. In terms of flavour I much prefer the hemp hearts but I fully recognize their awesome nutritional value so I find ways to sneak them into my meals. Chia seeds are high in fibre, manganese, phosphorus, and omegas. My favourite way to eat chia seeds is to make a chia seed pudding. I add 2-3 tablespoons of chia seeds to chocolate almond milk along with a dash of cinnamon and vanilla extract to make a chocolate chia seed pudding!

Pepitas or pumpkin seeds: When I think of pumpkin seeds the first thing that comes to my mind is hulling out seeds when carving pumpkins at Halloween. But what I didn’t know then is pumpkin seeds or formally pepitas are packed with all sorts of nutritional value. They are high in fibre, protein, and magnesium. These seeds are yummy to snack on alone, sprinkled on salads or a great addition to baking. One of my favourite ways to eat them is baked into Love and Lemons Carrot Quinoa Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies.

What are some of your favourite super foods? How do you sneak them into your meals? Let me know in the comments below!

Michelle xo

Friday Favourites

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Happy Friday! This week seemed extra long after having Friday off last week. I’m going on a road trip this weekend with my girlfriends and couldn’t be more excited to take a quick getaway out of the city. Pictures to come following the weekend! This Saturday April 2nd also happens to be World Autism Awareness Day which has a very special place in my heart. To celebrate I will be wearing blue to support my favourite community, you should too!

 

 

This Friday I am sharing some of this week’s favourites!

  • My favourite read.
  • My new favourite purchase, the most adorable flats!
  • My favourite recipe. These breakfast cookies are amazing and packed with tons of feel good ingredients!
  • My favourite smile. I secretly want to quit my job and do exactly this.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Michelle xo

 

A few of my favourite things

Happy Sunday and first day of spring! It’s still pretty cold here in Toronto but the sun is shining and after 5 days of rain, it’s all I really need! I have been MIA for the past two weeks thanks to the flu and an insane schedule at work. The combination of those two things makes it difficult to balance everything. Nonetheless, that has all passed and I’m back with some of my favourite things as we move into spring. I love spring for two reasons. One, the warmer weather. If you know me well you know that I am cold ALL THE TIME. So it’s nice not to feel that way. Two, spring gives the feeling of new beginnings. With the sun out longer (not having to leave work when it’s dark outside only to wake up and go back to work in the dark) and nature blossoming I really feel like I can fit more into the day and make new goals for myself, aka actually going downstairs to my condo gym for once. With everything feeling so new I like to revamp some of my wardrobe and products I use. Here are some of those new additions to my life!

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boscia – Bright White Mask

This peel-off mask is AMAZING. Not only does it smell nice but it makes your face feel fresh and brightens dull skin from the winter months. After washing my face on a Sunday night I will apply this mask, wait until it is dry, and peel it off. The perfect way to start your week off right!

Essie – Find Me An Oasis

I included this nail colour in my Spring ’16: My Nail Polish Picks post (check it out if you haven’t read it yet!) but I love the colour so much I had to include it again. This colour is perfect for transitioning into spring. In some lights it looks very white and in others you really can see the “robin’s egg” blue come through. I just love the subtleness of this pastel!

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Tarte – Gifted Amazonian Clay Smart Mascara

I have extremely sensitive eyes and moving into spring I have noticed I have been bothered by allergens making my eyes tear like crazy. Mascara running in your eyes is not a comfortable feeling. So I wanted to find a mascara that was a bit more gentle and I came across this one. Let me tell you this is one awesome mascara! It plumps and lengthens my lashes like many of my favourite mascara’s but doesn’t sting if it runs in my eyes. If you give this mascara a try know that it takes a bit longer to dry so give yourself some extra time in the morning for application otherwise you’ll be boasting raccoon eyes at the office.

H&M – Turtleneck Jumper

I purchased this sweater a few weeks ago. I wanted something that I could transition into spring that had a cozy feel without the chunky knit. This sweater is perfect! Still warm but made with a lighter material. It comes in three neutral colours that you can pair with your favourite ripped jeans for a night out or a pair of black jeans and a chunky necklace to dress up your look for the office.

What are some of your favourites for spring? Let me know in the comments below!

Road Tripping: A Getaway Guide to the Blue Mountains

If you live in the Toronto area you probably have visited the Blue Mountains once or twice in your life. The Blue Mountains are located in Collingwood, Ontario, a quick two hour drive from the city. The Blue Mountain Resort is particularly known for boasting an Aspen inspired village at the base of the mountain where you can find multiple restaurants, bars, and shops. Matt and I had visited the Blue Mountain resort once together in the past and loved every minute of our stay so a few months back when we were both craving a weekend away we decided to book!

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The previous time we visited the Blue Mountains village we stayed at the Westin Trillium House which was obviously a little nicer then anything we had stayed at in the past but to keep our wallets happy we decided to stay at the Blue Mountain Inn (a 5-minute walk from the village). I did some research prior to booking and read that they had done extensive renovations to the hotel. Some areas of the hotel were more updated then others. It was no Westin but for the price we paid I couldn’t complain!

The first night we arrived we decided to take a stroll in the village, grab a bite to eat and indulge in happy hour. We found ourselves at the Twist Martini Restaurant & Lounge. This restaurant had a great atmosphere with reasonably priced drinks and apps and probably one of the best live bands I have ever heard! This guy played hit after hit. Highly recommend this spot in the resort. After going back to our hotel and getting ready for the night we went back out to Kaytoo Restaurant & Bar to grab some more food. We ordered two apps that were good but nothing overly exciting.

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The next day we spent the better part of the afternoon hanging out in the hot tubs. I think one of Matt’s favourite things he looks forward to when we go away during the winter months is basking hours away in the hot tubs – I certainly don’t complain about that. Hours later we decided to get ready and head back to the village to get something to eat. This time we hit up the well-known Rusty’s, which is located at the base of the mountain where you can find all the ski bums coming in for a pint. The atmosphere is fun, light and turns into a popular spot at night. Definitely a must on your list when you are visiting the Blue Mountain village. We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering the village and taking in the picturesque views which undeniably turn into some photo ops!

Later that evening we went back to our hotel to get ready for dinner at Tholos. I was a bit hesitant to go to this restaurant as it doesn’t offer a vibrant atmosphere like many other restaurants in the village. Sure enough I was wrong, it ended up being our favourite meal of the weekend. The Greek inspired menu provides variety and fresh ingredients in comparison to the pub-like food we ate the majority of the weekend. Overall the meal was well worth the agony of my indecisiveness.

The next morning was our last day in Collingwood and we had booked a snowmobile and snowshoe excursion for the day. It was very mild out which made the activities much more enjoyable (I am typically cold ALL the time). I had never been on a snowmobile before or used snowshoes. The snowmobiling was really fun – those machines can go fast!- and the snowshoeing, what a crazy good workout!

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Some tips when visiting the Blue Mountain resort:

  • Make reservations for dinner’s during high season. There were times where Matt and I would try multiple restaurants before finding one that could seat us.
  • Check the resort website before your trip. I was really excited to go skating on the pond to learn that it was closed for the season.
  • If you are living on a budget definitely consider the Blue Mountain Inn for accommodations but if you are looking for the “Aspen village” feel then I recommend staying in one of the village hotels.
  • If you are staying longer then a weekend I would consider staying in a hotel with a kitchenette. The meals can be pricy and you may begin to feel that there is a lack of variety, unless you are willing to hop into your car and travel to Collingwood.
  • Parking, parking, parking. During high season free parking comes at a cost – driving around for upwards of an hour tracking down the next person who is leaving. Give yourself a lot of time to find parking and be patient!

Matt and I loved our mini vacation out of the city. I’ve been blessed to grow up with a family cottage so sometimes I forget how nice it is to get out of the city. Change it up every now and then, hop in your car and go on a road trip!

What are your favourite locations to road trip to in Ontario? Let me know in the comments below!

Michelle xo

Spring ’16: My Nail Polish Picks

Today’s milder weather here in Toronto has me dreaming of spring temperatures and spring colours. So I thought I’d share my top nail polish picks for spring 2016! One thing you should know is that I actually wear pastel spring colours year round. Sometimes I mix it up with a deep grey or blue in the fall and holiday colours around Christmas but for the most part my go-to’s year round are pale pinks and nude colours. One of my closest friends says that I like “the boring colours” – she loves the neon brights all year round – but the positive I take from that is I have a wide collection of pastel colours to choose from! Here are my top five colours for spring ’16!

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  1. Sugar fix by Sally Hansen Miracle Gel – LOVE this pastel blue. It’s the perfect colour to transition from spring through summer. It’s fun, colourful, and bold but still has a “spring” feel to it which is why this is one of my top picks!
  2. Figi by Essie – Ok, so I think most people can agree that this is their go-to colour. Essie’s Figi is THE perfect colour in my opinion. This colour is bright and fun but is neutral enough that you can wear it day-to-day. Pick this colour for your next mani, I promise you won’t get bored of it.
  3. Find Me An Oasis by Essie – This colour is new to my collection. It’s hard to describe this colour perfectly but I would say it’s somewhere between an off-white and robin egg blue. Love love love!
  4. Birthday Suit by Sally Hansen Miracle Gel – I love this nude colour! It’s an opaque nude so it gives you a pop of colour without being too much. An ideal colour to transition from day to night.
  5. Soul Mate by Sinful Colours – The best way I can describe this colour is halfway between rose pink and coral. This is definitely the most “colourful” of the group and I don’t wear it as often as the others but it’s a great colour to transition into summer!

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As you can see above there’s a bit of a trend, I primarily have colours from two different brands. Ideally I would like to be more diverse with my nail polish brands but I’m not. I found two brands I love and they never fail to impress so I just stick with ol’ faithfuls.  I love Essie because of their colour choices. I find they have the widest range of colours to choose from and I love them all. I love Sally Hansen Miracle Gel (or Complete Salon Manicure) because the polish seems to last the longest on my nails without any chips and the wide brush helps for precise application.

P.S. Sally’s Hansen’s Miracle Gel Top Coat is AMAZING! It gives your nails volume and really helps to make your manicure last longer without chipping. I use it as my top coat for all my at-home mani’s.

What are your favourite nail polish colours for this season? Am I missing out on any? Let me know in the comments below!

xo Michelle

Spirits: How to make a Rum Old Fashioned

Matt loves to make cocktails. Especially cocktails made with rum. He has a much more sophisticated palate then me when it comes to drinks and really appreciates the simplicity of a good cocktail. So a few months back when he offered to make me a new cocktail, I hesitantly accepted. And I am so happy I did! Matt made a Rum Old Fashioned. Traditionally an old fashioned is made with bourbon but being Appleton Estate’s number one fan, naturally he made a Rum Old Fashioned. The drink was sweet but not too sweet and perfectly balanced with a hint of orange. Now old fashioned’s are a go to cocktail for us and we enjoy trying them on our travel adventures or visits to new restaurants. Here’s how to make this simple but delicious drink…

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Ingredients:

  • 1.5 ounces of rum
  • 1  ounce of simple syrup
  • 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters
  • Orange peel (for garnish)
  • Ice

Note: To make simple syrup combine equal parts of water and white sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Allow it to cool prior to making a cocktail.

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Directions:

  1. You can either use crushed ice or one large ice cube to make your drink. A large ice cube is preferable but we didn’t have any prepared so we went with crushed ice. First, peel a large portion of an orange and add to the glass. Then fill your glass with ice (or a large ice cube).

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2. Next, add the dashes of bitters and pour the rum and simple syrup over the ice. Stir.

3. Lastly, use any remaining peel left on the orange to zest over your drink. This adds a little extra orange flavour.

4. Enjoy!

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What are some of your favourite cocktail recipes? Let me know in the comments below!

Living in a small space? Decor tips for your condo-sized bedroom

Happy Family Day to readers living in Toronto! We finally have some warmer weather today and the sun is shining so I hope you get the chance to get outside and spend the day with loved ones.

Something you might not know about me is that I live in a condo. A 750 square foot condo to be exact. By no means do I feel like the space is too small. I actually love the size of my space (Matt might feel differently about this). It’s cozy, comfortable and easy to clean! But when you live in a small space you need to be smart about the decor. The decor should flow from space to space, having a similar colour scheme and feel. When you are a renter there is some things you can’t change depending on your landlord like the colour of the walls, appliances, the floor etc. so I recommended finding one colour scheme that works well and go with it. For us it was easy, we found a couch that we absolutely adored from Urban Barn and ran with it. The couch is a light blue-grey colour so I decided that would be the focal colour with white, black, yellow and metal (silver, copper) accents. After about a year of living in our space and time spent saving money I feel like our space is the way I pictured it would be. Over the course of the next little bit I will show you the different spaces in my condo so stay tuned! For today I will start with our bedroom.

When we moved into the condo we purchased a new queen sized bed and acquired a beautiful cherry wood cabinet. Both of these pieces are large and I knew would take up a lot of space in the bedroom so we had to be mindful of any other pieces we wanted to bring in. In addition, one whole wall of the room is windows which adds beautiful natural light and warmth into the space but leaves us with only three walls to work with. I decided I would start by purchasing the bedding and work from there. Turns out that was pretty easy as I found a duvet cover and shams I fell in love with when we bought our couch at Urban Barn.

The duvet and shams are in a deeper shade of grey with a white lattice pattern. Ideally I would love to have more throw pillows but I know they drive Matt crazy so I went with one yellow accent pillow. In the pictures you might notice that the duvet is not a full fluffy one you might usually see. Matt and I went with a natural wool filled duvet as he has really bad allergies. It’s not as fluffy as I would like it but is warm and much more breathable in the summer months.

Those photos above my bed I took on a trip to Europe when I was in high school. I love that I can add personal touches throughout my space.

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In the corner of our room by the window I added a low ottoman for extra storage. Storage in condos is SO important. So I tried to add small pieces for extra storage wherever possible.
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This is the top of the ottoman with a silver tray from Home Outfitters, some personal picture frames, a candle from Chapters and of course a milk vase (which is new to my collection, thanks mom!) filled with some fresh tulips. I love this area of my room. It really adds a feminine touch without being too much.

Last is our bedside tables. I think these were the most difficult pieces to find and for Matt and I to agree on. I wanted something that was airy and appeared less bulkly beside our bed. Matt wanted something with drawers for storage. After many outings to different home decor stores we finally agreed on these from Target.

The black adds a pop of bold colour against the white accents and light coloured walls and the wire design creates a lighter look. For the lamp shades I went with a narrow all white shade that has a simple quilted design. I added more photo frames, a jewellery dish from Chapters and a cactus plant from a local flower shop.

That’s my bedroom and I love the way it has come together. What is your favourite room in your space? What is the decor like? I’d love to hear from you guys!

Happy Love Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day! I like to refer to it as love day because regardless if you are in a relationship or not you should spend the day with the ones you love. Valentine’s day happens to fall on a long weekend here in Toronto, a day before Family Day. So it’s the ideal weekend to cozy up (it has been FREEZING in Toronto this weekend) and spend some quality time with loved ones.

Matt and I aren’t ones to go out on Valentine’s Day to fight the crowds and eat off expensive prix fixe menus. We usually plan a relaxing night in. This year was no different. We decided to make homemade pizza and snuggle up on the couch to watch a movie…of my choice.

Earlier in the day I had a itch to do some baking so I decided to make a batch of heart shaped sugar cookies for my valentine (it also helped that I had a roll of sugar cookie dough lying around). I quickly ran out to the store to pick up some red icing and heart shaped cookie cutters and then whipped them up. Side note: It seems like every time I make cut out sugar cookies they never keep their shape. Help! What can I do to make them keep their shape? I’m not sure if it is the recipe itself or my oven?? Let me know!

Before making the pizza I made a small appetizer for Matt and I to share – Boursin stuffed mushrooms. This is the MOST simple people pleasing appetizer you can make. I adopted this recipe from a girlfriend of mine when we had our annual get together over the holiday season. Before I tell you this very simple recipe you should know that I LOVE mushrooms so I was all in when my friend brought them over. Matt doesn’t love mushrooms as much I do but I knew he would enjoy these and sure enough I was right.

Boursin stuffed mushrooms: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Then, clean and stem your mushrooms (you can use either cremini or white button mushrooms). Using a spoon stuff the mushrooms with Boursin cheese – I use the garlic and fine herbs one. Place the mushrooms on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes. Let them cool and enjoy!

Next, it was time to make our pizza! We have become masters at making homemade pizza after many trial and error moments. Usually once a week I will go to the local gluten-free bakery and pick up a freshly made pizza dough. If we plan on making pizza that day I’ll leave it in the fridge and if not I will throw it in the freezer for the next time we want to make pizza. Typically we have our go to toppings, one side is a classic Hawaiian with sliced ham, pineapple, and cheese and the other side is herbed goat cheese with sautéed onions and mushrooms. I try to roll the dough as thinly as possible, usually we can get a whole pizza the size of the baking sheet which leaves left overs for the next day. Matt and I both agreed that this was the best pizza we have made yet!

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Once the pizza was ready we cozied up on the couch and put on The Intern with Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro. It was pretty good, classic feel good movie. I particularly loved Robert De Niro’s character. He plays a widower who is bored of his life in retirement and applies for an internship. His character was just plain adorable!

That was my Valentine’s Day and it was perfect. I wouldn’t want it any other way. What are your plans for Valentine’s Day? Are you doing the same? Let me know in the comments below!

Love,

Michelle xo

 

My Essential Lip Colours

Ah lipstick…it’s such a bittersweet thing. I love experimenting and trying different lipsticks but finding colours and types that you like can be hard. I have five lipsticks that are essential in my make-up bag. Some can be worn all seasons and others are season specific.

When it comes to applying lipstick I have a few tricks up my sleeve. First I apply a lip balm to moisturize and keep chapped lips at bay. This also makes applying the lipstick easier. Then I line my lips with a lip liner that matches the skin tone of my outer lip. This helps create definition as I have small lips but also gives me boundaries to apply the colour within. Lastly, I apply the lipstick using a lipstick brush. Using a brush really helps to apply the lipstick with precision and prevent smudging beyond the natural line of your lips.

Here are my favourite lip colours!

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Rebel by M.A.C

  1. Rebel by M.A.C – I’m in love with the deep richness of this colour. This is definitely a colour to wear in the fall and winter months for a night out on the town with your best girls and a LBD.
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Lust for Blush by Maybelline

2. Lust for Blush by Maybelline – I love this colour for so many reasons. It’s affordable, its matte and the colour is the perfect neutral tone. I can wear it day or night and with just about anything. Highly recommend this drug store brand!

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M.A.C Red by M.A.C

3. M.A.C Red by M.A.C – I think the name speaks for itself when it comes to this colour. It’s a staple red that every woman should own.

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Betsey by Stila

4. Betsey by Stila – This lipstick screams summer. Add bronzed skin, sun kissed hair and you have the perfect summer look. The people at Stila knocked this one out of the park with the addition of peppermint oil (it smells SO good) and a mirror at the top of the cap. Does it get much better then that?!

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Cruella Velvet Matte Lip Pencil by NARS

5. Cruella Velvet Matte Lip Pencil by NARS – This is lip pencil just came into my life recently and let me tell you it is the BEST. First off NARS has a soft spot in my heart. I have never tried a NARS product I didn’t like. This product being one of them – it does not disappoint! The pencil is ideal when it comes to precision, the colour is the perfect matte red and my lips never look dry wearing this product even after hours of wear. This one is a must try people!

What are some of your favourite lip colours? Am I missing any? Let me know in the comments below!

Boozy Brunch

Yesterday Matt and I got together with 4 of our close friends to have a boozy brunch! We had great food, great company and tons of laughs. It was such a good way to switch things up and bring friends together! On the menu was waffles, yogurt, fruit, muffins, coffee with Bailey’s and of course, mimosas. I wanted to be able to have a waffle as well so I picked up a gluten-free pancake mix (the Compliments brand from Sobeys is the BEST, most of my friends prefer it over regular mixes) and whipped up a waffle with it. It was delicious. I mean, how good does that look?!

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Brunch appropriate decor was also a must. My friend covered her table with a white linen table cloth, had tulips in an adorable yellow vase, and sparkling wine sitting on ice with various juices to pour over. It was very “brunchy”. Overall such a great day with friends – you should give boozy brunch a try!

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