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

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

 

Dreaming of…the Drake Dev

This past fall my sister, cousin and I took a quick road trip from the city to the Drake Devonshire Inn in Prince Edward County. Let me tell you, this place was gorgeous! It was a hot & sunny day in October and my cousin was preparing to leave for Whistler for the winter. We couldn’t have picked a better outing for the day. As you might know the Drake Dev is in association with the well known Drake Hotel in Toronto. So I was expecting good food, good drinks and a relaxed vibe. It did not disappoint & we were lucky enough to snag a spot on the patio overlooking Lake Ontario.

Since we went over Thanksgiving weekend we all ordered their seasonal punch to start. The punch had an apple cider base with hints of seasonal spices, some of my favourite flavours blended together. It was really tasty. Next, time to order some food! The menu is small but has a good variety of dishes. We all tried different items from the menu which allowed us to taste each other’s. My sister definitely had the best dish, their ‘Buckwheat Pasta Carbonara’ – it was soooo good.

After lunch we took some time to wander the beautiful property, enjoy their art exhibits and appreciate the “summer weather”. They even had a photo booth inside where we obviously took some goofy photos.

Sitting here right now on a cold winter night, I’m dreaming of this beautiful day and location. I will definitely be going back very soon. I highly recommend to take a trip out of the city to visit this picture-perfect place!

Have you ever been to Prince Edward County or the Drake Dev? What was your favourite spot?

My new obsession – milk glass

Happy Monday! Today was very cold in the Toronto area. It was one of those days that started to make you think, “winter is long & were just in the middle of it…ugh”. To lift my (& your) spirits I thought I’d share my latest obsession, milk glass. My dear mother recently opened to my eyes of vintage house ware pieces. Never the less, I immediately fell in love. Vintage pieces have definitely been popping up more and more in interior design. Milk glass being one of those. I love milk glass for so many reasons; it is feminine, has beautiful detailing, and is the perfect crisp white. Unfortunately condo life = lack of storage, so I have had to hold myself back from over purchasing.

The first piece I owned was this beautiful ruffled edge bowl. Often it is filled with candy (I could probably eat all those mini eggs in one sitting – definitely my guilty pleasure) or sits at the base of my hall console.

My mom and I quickly realized that we had a new obsession and needed to grow our collection (my mom has more pieces in her home!). Next we purchased this beautiful vase.

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Have you ever seen two things go better together then the vase and those tulips?!

My last piece is definitely my favourite. I had my eye on this piece for quite a while. We purchase the pieces from a local online business so each day I would go on the website and admire it. Then finally one day I noticed that it was sold. Of course I was heartbroken and wished I had bought it myself. Later that week I went to my parents to find that my mom had purchased it for me! The sweetest. This piece I typically only use for special occasions – here it is displaying a friends lovely cupcakes at an engagement party! It is the perfect piece for bridal showers, baby showers, and holiday parties. It makes those sweet treats and appetizers even more divine.

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Do you have any milk glass pieces? Or a love for vintage items? Let me know in the comments below!

“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear” – Elf

Ah Christmas…my absolute favourite time of year! I love the decorations, the music, the lights, the time spent with family and friends – the feeling. Therefore the décor in my condo this time of year is very important for me. Last year we had moved into our condo in November and had already spent quite a bit of money on other necessities so we were minimal with the Christmas decorations. This year I made it my mission to have a condo full of decorations and even a full size Christmas tree (in a 750 square foot condo). To say my boyfriend was sceptical is an understatement.

I decided this year to go with a “woodland” theme for the décor. Since I didn’t have much décor to begin with I could start with a clean slate and have a theme. This idea was actually sparked when I went to a Christmas event at a local décor shop. My sister and I had picked out the most adorable woodland creature tree ornaments. From there I was hooked on the idea.

The colours in my living room are blue, grey, black and white so I didn’t want to go with traditional Christmas colours as they would clash being in such a small space. I pictured this theme having a lot of greenery with gold and white accents, birch wood, faux fur and accents of décor from family members. So below you will see how it all came together!

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This is the top of my front hall console. I tried to utilize a lot of my current décor and add a seasonal flare to it. The Mason jar was filled with greenery and cranberry stems. Since I did not have a real tree I thought it was only fitting that I had a candle that would resemble that scent. Here is the Illume Tin Candle in Balsam and Cedar from Chapters Indigo. It smells soooo good! On the bottom of the console are two reindeer that my Opa made. He has now passed away so it is really special and important for me to have those are part of the décor.

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Next is my media stand. I purchased the birch candleholder over a month ago at a crafting show. The silver pillar candleholders I have out all year but I swapped the usual pillar candles for the ones that have small twigs embedded. I have had the nutcracker for a while not and then added the garland and cranberries to finish the look.

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Lastly, my Christmas tree! I am so in love with my tree. My tree has a mix of old and new. I was fortunate enough for my Oma to give me some of her old decorations. I mixed those with some new woodland creatures from Chapters Indigo, a star topper from a local home décor shop, burlap garland, and white, gold, and silver accents!