21 March 2014

Happy...erm, WinSpring?

Ah, Spring is here.  The skies are blue and the...

Yeah...um.  Nope!

Today we were greeted with wind chills in the -20s and temps in the single digits.  I have to say...I admire winter...she sure is persistent!

Thus, I am crowning this beautiful season of transition as WinSpring.  That magical time between winter and spring where you can veer from sweaters-only to five layers on within the span of twelve hours.  Welcome, WinSpring!

In other news...

In less than a week I am off to Bali for my yoga teacher training program.
I will be on the ground halfway around the world for a little over five weeks.
The first four will be spent in the training and the last week will be spent with my love - relaxing after the intense study and dedication of the program.

I am excited.
I am nervous.
I am ready to start this next chapter of my life.

Lucky for me, I've had a lot of great support.  Not least of which has been from The Yoga Loft here in Moose Jaw.  They are even featuring me on their blog as I write about my experience in the teacher training.  If you are interested in reading more, you can check it out here.  

Other support has come from family and friends and I can't thank the people in my life enough for all the love and listening and guidance they have provided over the last year as I worked through some tough decisions and made some leaps into the unknown.  

This whole idea of doing what you love and are passionate about is somewhat radical for me.  It doesn't mean having a steady pay check or 9 to 5 schedule.  It doesn't mean I'll be guaranteed work or benefits.  What it does guarantee is that I will be happier, that I can be with Dave and that I can share my passion with a community of people and in spaces that are inspiring and fulfilling.  It means I have more control over what my days look like and how I schedule my time.  It means possibility.  It means taking a chance.  It means trusting myself enough to know that this step is worth it.

I am planning on enjoying this ride!

Watch this for a taste of Ubud, Bali.

10 March 2014

Weekend in Winnipeg

Winnipeg sometimes gets a bad rap around Canada.
It is not-so-fondly referred to as "Winterpeg" due to the extreme cold temperatures and oodles of snow Mother Nature gifts to the city streets each year.
During the warmer months, there are swarms of black flies that eat you alive.
In addition, the city itself isn't all that pretty to look at.

That being said, we kind of love it there!

When Dave and I first started dating, Winnipeg was one place we met as I could fly there pretty cheap from Chicago and he could do the six-hour drive from Moose Jaw.  
We had a lovely weekend a little over four years ago.
We visited Saint Boniface and ate at Fude.  
Dave also did one of the most romantic things for me while we were there...he got us tickets to go see the new Star Trek movie at the IMAX theatre in town.

He's mine, people!

We decided to head out to Winnipeg over the weekend for a little break from the Moose Jaw winter and also to see some friends that live out there.

It was great.

We noshed on amazing vegan burgers at Boon Burger.
We had great Ethiopian food at Kokeb.
We wandered around the market and winter festival sites at The Forks and drove around the French Quarter.
We had more deliciousness in burger form at Market Burger.
We had brunch and lattes at Stella's and fabulous tea at Thom Bargen.

Um, as you can see...there was a lot of foodie-ness involved.

That equals an awesome weekend away.

I hope you had a lovely weekend as well!

05 March 2014

The Never-Ending Winter (of our discontent)

Ah...Mother Nature.  You sure are angry...and you have every right to be so with our polluting your rivers, streams and lakes, ripping out your forests and clogging your skies with smog.  I can't say I blame you for giving us a smack-down this winter.  We deserve it.  

But, also know that some of us are trying to do better by you!  :-)

Winter brings with it cabin fever and the various ways people attempt to combat it.  Among them are watching marathons of shows online (I mean you, Parenthood) and going outside even when you shouldn't.  It means board games and candles burning over long conversations.  It also means getting...the...heck...out...of...town.

A couple of weeks ago, Dave and I did just that.  We went to one of our favourite haunts in Canada...the lovely mountain town of Canmore.  We love it there (in case you've missed any of my previous posts on the matter).  We took a week to be outdoors in the mountains in weather that didn't make our faces hurt because of how cold the air was.  We snowshoed and I tried cross-country skiing for the first time (read: FAIL) at the Canmore Nordic Centre.  We drank tea at our standby Communitea, at tented an event regarding outdoor winter safety and ate awesomeness at the Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company.  We spent time with friends in nearby Calgary and envisioned what a quiet little life in the mountains would be like.

The following weekend, we decided to follow up our adventures in Canmore with an overnight escape to Saskatoon.  Not only to get out of town, but also to celebrate Dave's birthday.  While Canmore greeted us with sunny skies, snow and temps just above or just below freezing, Saskatoon blasted us with -50C wind chills and a desire to do nothing but stoke our cabin fever even more.  We did our best by getting out and enjoying some great pub grub at the Yard & Flagon, downed a couple of great pints at Winston's English Pub & Grill, visited the year-round farmer's market and had a lovely brunch at the hot place in town - The Hollows.  Hey, when it's cold outside...we eat!  Gotta add layers somehow!

Speaking of layers, some of you might be wondering how we cope with the extreme cold up here.  Layers, layers, layers.  And more layers.  Here's my, ahem, style guide to coping with the cold.

A Great Toque  
Preferably one that covers your ears.  Dave is currently sporting an Arcteryx Toque I gifted him for Christmas and I routinely sport a double-layer thermal that once belonged to my dad.

Warm and Weatherproof Boots
Dave gets military issued boots that regularly do the trick, but when we are hiking, he is now sporting his birthday present on his feet...the amazing Zamberlan Vioz GT Gore-Tex trekking boot.  High and dry.  When out and about on my daily routines, I am wearing Tofino Sorels (yes...Tofino!).  Cozy, warm and very dry.  

Warm, Insulated, Windproof Coats
I love the gift I got for moving north.  A Patagonia Tres Parka.  It has been a lifesaver on many a cold night.  It's got a double-layer system with their waterproofing and wind-resistance built in.  It also includes a detachable hood.  I love it.  Dave is wearing an older double-layer system from Columbia he's had for years.  We are looking into an Arcteryx system in the future for him.

That's your outerwear.  Of course there are always the things you can't see like fleece-lined tights and leggings (read:  AWESOME) and heavy duty socks.  I have a collection of scarves appropriate for any occasion.

At the end of the day, though...it's all about keeping yourself warm!

Here's to hoping your winter weather keeps you in a cozy spirit and entices you to make some more hot chocolate.  You should check out this link for yummy goodness inspiration.

06 February 2014

Paleo-Vegan in the Home

Things in the Jaw are going well.  Dave and I continue to await news of when/where/if we will be getting posted by the military.  I continue to prepare for my yoga teacher training in Bali with hours in the studio and many books to read.  Dave continues to chip away at his degree class by online class - his dedication to not just getting his degree, but doing it right, is an inspiration.  

In other news, we've been experimenting with the ways in which we nourish our bodies with food.  After a holiday season full of sugar, alcohol and fatty foods, both Dave and I agreed that a detox was in order.  Now, we regularly eat a vegan diet at home, but we wanted to take it a step further.  Over the past month, we tried out a paleo-vegan "diet."  As someone who has struggled for years with an eating disorder, I hesitate to use the word "diet" as it conjures up images of restriction and scales - but that is hardly what this has been about.  Rather, this has been about feeding ourselves with good, wholesome, plant-based food.  

I will be honest with you and say that when the Paleo craze hit, I was one of the eye-rollers.  I was a person who believed this belonged to those folks in the CrossFit gyms who were making themselves sick with their workouts and who believed that meat and eggs were the only sources of protein that mattered.  

Then, I realized that people think that vegans like me are all yoga-loving hippies who drink nothing but green juice, eat tofu and think daffodils have feelings.  


So, before I knocked the Paleo way of eating, I wanted to give it a try.  Now, I wasn't going to start eating meat, fish or eggs, but I loved the idea of getting rid of processed foods and sugars (not that we ate many to begin with, but there were definitely things we could have done without).  In addition, I was curious to know if cutting out beans, flours and other glutens would alleviate some of the tummy troubles that have been plaguing our household over the last year.

Side note:  Did you know that many of the gluten intolerance experienced today are as a result of the over-processing and over-consumption of gluten?  Gluten in and of itself is not a bad thing (neither is soy), it's the way in which we are eating it today that is the issue.

So, we cut out soy, flours (except coconut flour which we did NOT have good experiences with over the past month), beans, alcohol, peanuts, sugars and other things on the "not-Paleo-approved-list" and focused on eating whole plant-based meals.  We juiced with our newly purchased and totally awesome Angel Juicer, made amazing green smoothies and ate paleo-vegan lasagna, tacos and soups.  We fell in love with coconut oil and enjoyed making our own almond milk at home.  We ate a ton of nuts and seeds and consistently full and satisfied.

There were times where we both craved a dark beer and some pizza, but overall, I think we are both really happy with the experiment.  I think we will continue eating this way the majority of the time, but will happily re-integrate organic, non-GMO tofu and hummus back into our lives as well.

Here are some of the recipes that kept us going over the past month.  If you have the time and energy, check some of them out and see what you think!

This amazing carrot soup (minus the chickpea croutons) from Smitten Kitchen.

These muffins are now a household staple thanks to Green Kitchen Stories (we add a few more dried fruits to ours - organic cranberries and goji berries).

Our morning juicing blend consists of two big cucumbers, a celery stalk, a carrot, two apples, two pears, a two-inch piece of ginger and a big bunch of kale.  Throw that through the juicer and you've got green goodness for two mason jars.

Our green smoothies consist of a huge handful of spinach, water, almond milk, a heaping tablespoon of ground flax seed (or two tablespoons of Udo's Oil), frozen blueberries, frozen strawberries and a banana.  Super yummy way to start your day or an awesome lunch or snack.

That's what's up in Jaw.  We are waiting for the first signs of spring, but know we have a while to go.  I promise to post some photos from our holiday trip to the Oregon Coast soon!

25 January 2014

A Month In(spiration)

I'm about a month and a few days out from leaving my nonprofit job and settling back into life in Canada.  I won't say the past month has been easy...there has been a lot of "letting go" and "settling in" and getting used to a new routine that doesn't involve a 9-to-5.  It has, however, been one of the best decisions of my life and, the more time I have to reflect on it, the more I know I am doing the right thing and truly beginning to live the life I love.

It's a crazy concept to leave your steady, comfortable paycheque.  To leave the benefits and the familiarity.  It's crazy to consider a different way of living/being/breathing.  But, that is exactly what I am doing.  

Dave and I are inspired by the stories of those who take the road less traveled.  People like those in the film "I'm Fine, Thanks."  A great little gem of a film created by a team of people who are doing exactly what they love.

We're inspired by Audrey Sutherland who wrote the amazing book "Paddling North" and Cheryl Strayed of "Wild" fame.  We are inspired by tiny homes and vegan-paleo food.  We are inspired by homemade almond milk and handmade goods on Etsy.

We are inspired by the food bloggers at Green Kitchen Stories and My New Roots, ultrarunners Krissy Moehl and this amazing mom, Kasie Enman, all showing that you don't have to do things "by the book."  Geoff Roes is also one who inspires us to slow down and take stock.

Recently, Dave has been inspiring with videos from the vlogbrothers.  Two guys who created something awesome by sharing information that blows your mind and gets you thinking.  

We've also been inspired by more mainstream fare...the photos on Pinterest and the goods at Huckberry.

In short...do what you love.  
We've got one shot on this rock.  
I'm planning on making it count.

19 January 2014

Flashback to Denmark

During these cold days of winter, I always think it is nice to reflect on warmer days and summer trips.  Last year, Dave and I had the awesome opportunity to visit Denmark...Engesvang, Ebeltoft, Aarhus and Copenhagen.  It was a great vacation.

Here are some pictures to take your mind off the cold and get you motivated for your summer trips...whether they be long distance or close to home.