Carrot Cake

I was thoroughly psyched to see that my bookstore finally had a copy of the Joy the Baker Cookbook. Perhaps my incessant questions about when it would be in stock (due to my horrible laziness and reluctance when it comes to online shopping) paid off! Perhaps not. Either way, there were two copies, and one was automatically mine. My father, in town for a week, offered to subsidize the purchase, and we were in business! (Thanks, Dad.)

The book is beautiful. It’s full of all-new recipes that haven’t yet been on her blog. The photos are gorgeous, and just about every single recipe now has a post-it note on it, because I want to bake absolutely everything inside. When a friend of mine, Isabelle, decided to come visit me two weeks before her birthday, I knew I had my in! An excuse to bake (and eat!) cake for a great friend? Sold.

This is a beautifully *cringe* moist cake, thanks to the pineapple chunks and fresh carrot. So moist, in fact, that despite our aversion to that word, my friend who helped me bake this cake and I used it several times over to describe it. Yikes. Someone help us!

The frosting is a huge selling point – Joy goes into great detail about how to make a successful cream cheese icing. Mine turned out as well as can be expected considering I was finishing it up in the half-hour I had before having to meet Isabelle at the train! I was late! I had a mighty good excuse though.

We enjoyed huge slices of the cake on pretty colored plates, then went about our days. Only problem? I have over half of this cake going stale in my fridge. Who wants to help me find it a good home!?

This is the first in many Joy the Baker Cookbook creations that will be marching out of my kitchen in the coming months. I love her recipes, her voice, and her slang language. Did I mention that she and Shutterbean have a hilarious podcast? Put that in your ears! I’m a huge Joy fan, and I hope after this cake, you will be too.

You can find the recipe in her cookbook, or right here!

Delish! Enjoy.

Funfetti Cake!

Ain’t it just the cutest cake you ever did see? And guess what – this cake is famous. That’s right. Famous. You see, I tweeted a photo of it, with the caption “this cake is for the party”, which is the name of a book written by the great Sarah Selecky, who also has an awesome blog and sends out writing prompts every day. She’s real cool. Anyway, this happened:

Spoiler alert: I haven’t read the book, but I did borrow it from the library once. It’s weird that I feel guilty about that. I’ve always loved the title, though.

So the party cake is a famous cake. It was also a pretty cake. And perhaps most importantly, a yummy cake. I don’t know if you remember the Betty Crocker cake mix that made white cake with coloured spots inside it? Well, this is the grown-up homemade version of confetti cake mix. Funfetti, as it’s lovingly referred to in the blogosphere, has been exploding lately. (See what I mean?) So my first cake of the season, for my cutest friend, had to be a cute funfetti cake.

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Just Because Cake

I made this cake just because. Just because I almost always have the ingredients for a vegan cupcake recipe on hand. Just because it was a Wednesday and I was lonely. Just because I had a bunch of icing remnants in my fridge that I wanted to use up (spoiler alert: I used up none of them entirely). Just because the activities of reading, writing, watching more TV and going outside did not seem appealing that night.

So I made a cake. Just because! And it was delicious. Those Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World recipes are foolproof – they always come out so moist (…) and yummy. I made a chocolate cake and frosted with leftover Betty Crocker and homemade icing that I dyed pink. I tried to do a striped pattern on the top – just because – but it didn’t turn out so I just smoothed it all together to become PINK!

Thus far, the cake has been eaten by me and my best friend while watching Lola Versus (great movie, in our opinion – Greta Gerwig is so funny) on my bed. It was supposed to be taken to a dinner or two, but I keep forgetting it at home. I’ll bring it to the next one though, because it’s just wallowing in my kitchen.

I guess this qualifies as stress baking. I’m okay with that, since I didn’t just eat the whole thing to cope with my stress. Actually, it’s the act of baking that relieves my stress! Often by the time I’m done baking, I’m not really interested in eating the products. This is good news.

I used this recipe for basic chocolate cupcakes – one batch makes an 8-inch, 1 layer cake.

Gosh, I love my hobbies sometimes. Cakes make friends! Happy baking.

Blue Velvet Cake

Strictly speaking, decorating this cake was a major disaster.

Protips: don’t roast vegetables in the same room while you’re trying to whip cream cheese frosting. Don’t decorate a cake in that room either. Don’t be too prideful to cut off the tops of your cakes to make them even – people do that for a reason. Namely, so that their cake doesn’t come out totally lopsided.

Not my best effort. I set this cake goal hoping I’d learn something about baking and decorating cakes, and I think after lots of near-disasters, I have learned a few things. Basically, I have learned how to problem-solve in the face of panic.

This cake is “blue velvet” because the white frosting was just not working out. I was running back and forth between my living room and the fridge to make this cake chill out, and the frosting was pulling up crumbs like it was its day job. So the white icing was looking decidedly sloppy, to say the least. I just decided – heck, let’s dye it! I was out of red food colouring, so I tinted it blue and just dealt with it. I originally piped icing roses onto the top of the cake, and then spent a good ten minutes laughing out loud at how ridiculous it looked. Wanna see?

In retrospect…NEVERMIND I STILL HATE IT. At this point, I was laughing and saying “YOLO” to myself. Life’s short, it’s cake, whatever. Besides, the recipient of this cake is a wonderful person and I know he wouldn’t have minded if it stayed looking exactly as it did in the above photo.

In the end, I just spread that blue icing all around, tried for an ombre effect, and ultimately just tried to make sure the frosting was smooth and not showing crumbs and then called it a day.

This is a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. The cake is from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, because it’s my go-to book for amazing, moist cake that always come out of the pan easily. The recipe for their Crimson Velveteen cupcakes is here – I doubled the recipe to make 2 8-inch cakes. I made the cream cheese icing recipe in Joy the Baker’s cookbook, but I was sad that it didn’t come out. I followed her instructions as closely as possible, leaving the butter and cream cheese out until they were approximately the right temperatures, then doing each of the steps carefully. But my frosting came out runny, not at all like the photo of thick, spreadable frosting in her book. And even after adding more than the recommended amount of icing sugar, it stayed melty and drippy. I was very disappointed, and am still stumped as to why it didn’t work! Her recipes are usually right on. A similar recipe to what I used is here.

Wanna know the best part? It turned out to be, by definition, a blue red-velvet cake. Or, you could call it a  blue velvet cake. The person I made the cake for? Blue Velvet is a movie by one of his favourite directors. I only wish I’d actually planned that..I would have been so fly!

So. It’s not going to win any prizes for looks: it’s lopsided and blue and hilarious in many ways. But it “has character”, and was made with the best intentions and a full heart. So that’s gotta count for something, right? Right?? Plus, it tastes good, if I do say so myself.

Six Layer Chocolate Malted and Toasted Marshmallow Cake

Brace yourselves.

Wait, maybe I should have somehow written that in the title. The title alone sometimes stops my heart. It’s okay though guys: I only had one piece, and went for a run this morning. (Let’s just ignore the fact that the run probably burned 1/3 of the calories I consumed from that piece of cake alone.)

It’s probably a good thing that the birthdays of my closest friends all lie between March 12 and April 23. Because by the time April 23 rolls around I am not going to want to so much as see a cake until, like, at least 2013. I mean, pie maybe, but not cake.

Joking aside though, there are 5 birthdays (including my own) that fall between those dates, and that means that we, as a group, gain approximately a cake each, right before summer, aka bikini season. Way to plan that one out, parents, way to plan. Because it’s not as though cake is optional, on a birthday. For me it sometimes is, because icing can occasionally make me nauseous, but if there ain’t cake there sure as hell better be a tray of brownies or something.

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Chocolate Zucchini Cake + Mixed Berry Sorbet

I wish I could pinpoint where my mantras come from, but in all honesty they just float in like fluffy clouds and take up residence in my brain. I don’t get a choice in the matter. Earlier this year, my mantra was “follow your bliss”. I still love that one, and it still guides me, but recently another one has made itself known: “choose art”. Mmm. I’m in love with it.

Choose art. It’s a mantra, but it’s also a paradigm: it shapes my choices and changes the way I think about things. I’m defining “art” loosely, but it all makes sense to me. By “art”, I mean anything that enriches me + my life. So flipping through a glossy spread in Bon Appetit counts. Reading a book counts. Baking, food styling and photography definitely count. And when I “choose art”, I spend less of my precious free time soaking up TV shows or movies like a boring sponge. Choosing art keeps me busy, keeps me entertained,  stops me from being lonely.

Last week, I was feeling particularly listless and lonely, and I had just finished a midterm so I had a bit of free time. So instead of watching TV, I decided to create. I made double chocolate zucchini cake and mixed berry sorbet. Both are delicious, and together are even better! Not to mention that getting to practice my photography that made me the happiest of girls.

Here are the recipes for double chocolate zucchini cake and mixed berry sorbet. As recipes go, they’re very simple. I was able to make both without leaving my house because I had a 3-pack of zucchini that needed using, and a plethora of frozen mixed berries in the freezer.

I’m lucky enough to have this ice cream maker at my disposal, but I promise the cake is good on its own too! If you do have access to an ice cream maker, let me assure you that the sorbet is amazing on its own as well. I’ve also been adding a little to smoothies, and it packs a flavour punch.

Enjoy!

Vegan Cookies n’ Cream Cake

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It’s birthday season, am I right? I don’t know if it’s just in my personal circle or what, but there seems to be a high-traffic period of birthdays that starts mid-March, and peaks during the first week of April. I could be biased, because my birthday is today (!), but I know more than a dozen people born this week alone – and almost five (and counting) born on my birthday itself!

Whatever the reason (parents getting busy in August, what?), this phenomenon only means one thing: a whole freakin’ lot of cake. A couple weeks ago, I had the great privilege of making Deb’s Sour Cream Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate Peanut Butter Ganache Glaze. Mouthful, much? Mouthful of awesome. Here’s a couple pictures of that big huge mound of radical perfection:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then I outdid myself. I made a vegan Cookies n’ Cream cake.

It seduced me. It drew me in with its crumbled cookie perfection, and took me down with its resulting sugar coma. Mostly, I ended up depressed that I don’t have a cake stand (have you guys seen Bakerella’s latest post!!?!?! Jealous death..) but I somehow managed to be okay with just the cake. Sigh, my life is so hard sometimes.

First of all, since I know y’all are going to be asking: yes, Oreos are vegan! No really, they are. I just went and checked the ever-dwindling package that is residing in my pantry. They just have a lot of coconut oil and vegetable shortening. And FYI people, this is the unhealthy type of vegan food, so don’t be jumping on the bandwagon just because Oreos and french fries qualify, okay?

You wanna know how to make it? Do ya?

 

Cookies n’ Cream Cupcakes

Adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World

For two 8-inch cakes, we must make a double batch of cupcakes! Want to see how I figured that one out?

..It was hard. It took a lot of Google searches. On a related note: how did anyone survive without the Internet?

For two 8-inch cakes: (I’m so nice, I pre-doubled the recipe for you guys!)

  • 2 cups plain soy milk
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond/chocolate/more vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup crushed Oreos (I accidentally omitted them from the cakes!)

For the frosting:

  • 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening
  • 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated margarine (I used Becel Vegan margarine)
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup plain soy milk
  • 1/2 cup crushed Oreos

Since we’re not using eggs, we need a good binding agent. So the base of the cake is made up of  soy milk and apple cider vinegar: mix them together, and let them curdle for a few minutes. Curdle = awesome word.

Then mix in the sugar, oil and vanilla + other extract and beat the concoction into submission (read: frothy).

Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda & powder and salt. Doesn’t it look a bit like a mountain experiencing global warming? All the snow is melting! How sad and dirty!

Okay..I ‘m probably the only one who sees that.

Add dry ingredients to the wet, and mix until there aren’t any more big lumps. Speaking of lumps. So unnecessary. Don’t click that link.

Spray some cooking spray into your pans and divide the batter evenly between them. Cook in a 350 degree oven for 18-20 minutes. It actually took me much longer to cook them all the way through, so I’d recommend checking them at 20 minutes, and then every 5-10 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool. Go to your Cognition lecture. Come back and make dangerously sweet icing. Onward!

Beat together the shortening & margarine until they are fluffy as a cloud. Add the sugar, and beat for a long time, until your arm threatens to fall off. Give up trying to properly combine them, and add the vanilla and soy milk. Then the cookie crumbs that you mashed up using a plastic bag and a lot of cojones. Then beat that until it is fluffy and delicious. AMAZING.

Once you’ve let the cakes cool and the icing is at room temperature, we can begin decorating!

I cut a semi-circle out of a piece of tinfoil and put the cakes on top, so that it would be easy to remove after, and would keep the plate clean and pristine. Aren’t I industrious?

Cool story, bro.

And finally..we get the finished product. Ta-da!!

How beautiful is that? And trust me, it tastes as wonderful as it looks. The icing is richly sinful and the cake is moist. It’s so easy to cut into, not too crumbly, and fluffy as all get out. If you have an Oreo lover in your life (as I certainly do), make this cake for their birthday!

Okay everyone, wishing you all my birthday love, why don’t you have an awesome day today? It is the best day of the year, after all! (Heehee).

All my sugary love,


Plum Cake

We interrupt this travel journal for a brief update.

I’m home! I’m back. I’ve been busying myself making podcasts, making myself healthier, making lists, making plum cake. I’m trying to be productive. I’m trying to make plans. I’m trying to get a job. I’m trying to breathe when I feel like I’m under an immense amount of pressure to “be successful” and decide “what to do with my life”. I’m missing my friends like crazy (we scattered across this fine country and beyond after graduation) and I’m trying to keep in touch with them.

I’m appreciating the beautiful fall weather. I’m loving all the delicious smells that come out of my family kitchen. I am grateful I don’t have to pack up my things every few days or have cold showers or share a room with seven other people. I am enjoying getting back into a bit of a rhythm in my days. I’m working on keeping my thoughts balanced and positive. I’m loving being around people who love me unconditionally, I’m happy to be having meaningful conversations. I’m happy.

I made this cake because my mom bought a bunch of beautiful plums at the farmer’s market and they weren’t getting eaten. The same day she bought them, Deb from Smitten Kitchen posted a recipe for a Purple Plum Torte. Synchronicity! I’m aiming for more of that in my life.

The recipe couldn’t be simpler, or more satisfying. I followed her instructions exactly and it came out absolutely perfectly. She recommends not trying it until the second day, because apparently that way the flavours have a chance to mingle. I didn’t try it the first day, so I can’t really confirm. But the second day? Wow. It’s delicious. It’s such a simple recipe but couldn’t be tastier. There’s lots of yummy caramelized bits, the cake is moist, and the plums have so much flavour. Plus, it’s gorgeous, isn’t it? It’s so beautifully rustic.

I love almost every recipe Deb posts (um, this margherita pizza??), and would love to get my paws on a copy of her beautiful cookbook. Someday. For now, I’ll keep making the wonderful recipes from her blog.

Happy eating, everyone!

Joyeux Anniversaire

It’s my sister’s birthday today: she is 13. I know, it’s nuts. Just thought I’d share our family traditions, since I think that birthday traditions are fun and adorable. 

So first, we always have cake for breakfast. Always, and I don’t think it’s ever been vanilla cake, always chocolate. I personally am not a cake fan, so my mom always makes me brownie cake instead. Mmmm. 

Also, my mom goes insane on decorations. She actually loves it. She will go out, and get the most ridiculous (read: tacky) decorations imaginable. Last year, it was a life size plastic Mariachi band and a seriously fierce salsaing 2D plastic couple. This year, think Grease-style: cutouts of those old cars, a diner, etc. For B’s  this year it’s Hawaiian theme to the max: picture a hula dancer. But they are male. And wearing a mask. Which is tribal. And terrifying. 

Presents in the morning, is pretty common. 

And out for dinner at night. Lovely. I enjoy birthdays greatly at my house. 

Noticed: Tons of people born in April. Early April especially, like the first week. I think that puts conception at about..July? In the mood for loving in July? I guess so..Maybe it’s just a geographic/demographic type of thing. Maybe I’ll look into this a little more, but I know at least ten (?) people who are  born the same week as me. And that’s quite a few!

Anyways, today we ate at a really nice (and really tiny) Italian restaurant called La Forchetta in Little Italy, downtown Toronto. It’s really small! But apparently has won multiple awards. The food was amazing, to be sure, and the service was excellent. I guess that’s what you get for not having too many customers to serve, you can make it fantastic. Then again, it was also a rainy Monday night (ABSOLUTELY MISERABLE, IN FACT) so not so busy. But the food was delicious. I had a pasta with roasted chicken, roasted garlic, chickpeas, caramelized onions, artichoke hearts. It sounds not so nice, but tasted delicious. Plus a organic greens salad with blueberry vinaigrette & goat cheese, and capuccino tartufo. Delicious. Really. 

I will post more about it later, but the Hills are on and I feel like watching something trashy. Be back soon!

 

s.

Black & White Marble Cupcakes

Did I stress bake again? This is getting out of hand. Let’s pretend it’s NOT stress baking. Instead, this is celebration baking. 

What am I celebrating today?

  • Today, November 30th, is the day I finish my first novel! 1320 words to go!
  • After today, I will have only 17 days until I get to go home for the holidays!
  • Tomorrow is December 1st, the start of the most wonderful month of the year!
  • The pain in my teeth has finally started to subside, and the antibiotics will start kicking in soon – yay!
  • I’m nearly done the paper that has been causing me grief for a while
  • I’ve got all sorts of exciting ideas for hand-made Christmas gifts planned!
What are you celebrating today?
Yesterday, on a brief hiatus from the editing/re-writing of that darned paper, I took a moment to indulge my Top Chef: Just Desserts side (a show that I discovered a few days ago, to great delight!!). This is also little bit of a tribute to my experience at NaNoWriMo. The black-and-white swirls and stripes is in honour of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, because I found out this month that she wrote it during NaNoWriMo a few years ago! That inspiring tidbit has been getting me through my month. I was so impressed that such a wonderful novel could come out of that speed-writing experience.

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Project 365: Week 12

Go girl.

I’m almost 3 months into Project 365. I can’t explain how amazing I feel about that. We’re turning the corner into April: final exams might make it a tough month for this project, but I’m still determined to take my daily photo. And during the summer? I have a feeling this project will be a cake walk – there’ll be so many beautiful, outdoorsy things to do and see.

Shooting the ice cream + cake post from yesterday was such a jubilant moment for me. I love food styling, I love that I’m slowly improving, and I love how the photos turned out. Love love love. Happy happy. Improvement of my photography is one of the reasons I took this project on. The other reason was to preserve everyday moments + beauty in my life. I think I’m succeeding at both!

Have a great day.

Favourites

How I Use My Bullet Journal

Vancouver, British Columbia

Bologna, Italy

Cinque Terre, Italy

Barcelona, Spain

Hvar, Croatia

Everyday Beauty: A Summer Weekend

Read this Book: Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

Hot Toddies

Sunburst Painting

BBQ Tofu Tacos

21 Favourite Things

Photo Walk: Pattern

Pink Polka Dot Dress

Heart-Shaped Nail Art

Cinnamon Buns

X Bread

Creative Coping

On Running

Chocolate Zucchini Cake + Mixed Berry Sorbet

My First Book!

Knitted Colourblock Hats

Today, Be Gentle

What National Novel Writing Month Taught Me

TEDxMcGill: Redefining Reality

Be Who You Are, Not Who You Wish You Were

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

What a Weekend Away Taught Me About Becoming the Person I Want to Be

Project 365: Week 18

This week was full of pretty things. A peanut-butter chocolate cake with lovely striped candles. A market full of fresh produce, diffused light, fresh samples and amazing seafood.   An afternoon on a rooftop overlooking all of Montreal. A trip to a beautiful boutique!

I love having photos to look back over: it helps me to re-live the special moments of my life and remember how happy and blessed I am. Even the photos that seem so half-baked at the time seem to be more full of colour and more exciting than they felt at the time. The whole really is greater than the sum of its parts.

I’m happy. I’m in a good place. Big, fun things are happening and I finally feel like I’m coming into my own in some small way. I hope that you are happy too.

xo

Project 365: Weeks 28 + 29

Whoops, I completely forgot to do my Project 365 update last Friday! What with all that crazy cake baking, it totally slipped my mind. No matter, twice the fun this week.

My photos, as usual, are pretty food-centric. It’s strange to say, but on days when I stay inside all day, the food I create can be the most interesting subject around. But it’s summer, so I try to go outside as much as possible!

I’m more than halfway through this project, and I have to say I’m totally thrilled with it. I’ve kept with it, sometimes even taking a photo late at night when I get home, and I’ve never missed a day. I love that I can look back on some of the photos and know exactly what was going on in my life that day, while others surprise me! I love that I’ve gotten to know my camera better. I love that I’m satisfied with how *some* of my photos look, for the first time ever.

Thanks for reading. Also, this is my 100th post this year! Yippee!!

Project 365: Week 27

It isn’t a secret that I love Joy the Baker and Tracy Shutterbean like it ain’t no thang. So colour me thrilled to see that finally, *finally*, my local bookstore had two copies of the JTB cookbook in stock. Let’s just say, now they only have one copy in stock. The recipes all look incredible, but I’ve only made one so far: the Single Girl Melty Chocolate Cake. My oven didn’t cooperate so I ended up overbaking it, but it was straight up delicious. I cannot wait to make every single other recipe.

This week has been lovely. Full of runs, DIY, cooking and baking, friends, happy hours, picnics, journalling, reading. I’ve had a great time. We’re past midsummer, so I’m trying to make the most of every day we have left in summer! Hope you have an awesome summery weekend.

On Onion Rings and Rejection

Hola! Como estas? Muy bien!

I’ve just returned from Cancun paradise after a week of doing as little as humanly possible. It’s true that different people go on vacation for different reasons, and mine this time around was to rest, heal and be lazy. Mission accomplished! I’m at my family home now, getting things sorted – declaring my minor (sociology!), choosing courses, applying to Honours and doing my very first detox!  I’ll be outlining the program my mother and I have chosen for you once I’m through the worst of it. It’s fun, makes me feel good about myself, and helps me tick off another of those New Years Resolutions!

Today, though, I’d like to talk about two very important things:

  1. Onion Rings (of the healthy-ish, easy, home-made variety. See also: dangerous, delicious and wonderful.)

  2. Rejection (of the depressing, necessary and encouraging variety. See also: Tastespotting and self-doubt.)

#1. On Onion Rings

Here is a little ditty about onion rings:

I love onion rings,

Delicious, crispy and brown,

Yogurt is good for dipping,

You’ll never put them down.

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Inspiration | January 15

I think I’ve been inspired by almost every single photo Tara Whitney has ever taken, including (especially) her film photos.

Jada Pinkett-Smith has some great thoughts on taking care of ourselves and motherhood. “Communication creates partnerships.”

Photos that are making me so excited for summer in Canada this year.

I love the idea of the new Buy Me Once website.

Such a wonderful idea for an end-of-year recap: 100 things that made Austin Kleon’s year in 2015.

Some really great links about business, blogging and creativity.

Trying to get more into meal prep, so I love reading Shutterbean’s posts on the subject.

Joy the Baker’s new passion project is one of my very favourite things. Drake on Cake!

I’m still baking a lot of bread. A really easy, vegan recipe is up on Guinea Pigging Green this week.


2016 has been a wonderful year so far, hasn’t it?! This week I recorded a great episode of the podcast which is launching next Tuesday, talked with friends and my mom, worked hard, woke up early, and got thismuch closer to launching my new course! I’ll be sharing more on that in a couple of days.

This weekend, we’re going to a birthday party, hosting yoga in the park, and hopefully doing a lot of relaxing. I hope you have a wonderful weekend too!

Summer Bucket List 2014

Summer BL2It’s June, so in my books it’s officially summertime! As always, I want to make the most of this wonderful season. A couple years ago, I wrote a list of lovely things I wanted to do during the summer, and the summer after that I made a summer jar full of fun ideas (though I wish I’d written them all down in that blog post because now I can’t remember any of them). This year, I want to continue the tradition. This summer is particularly special because, of course, I’m spending it as an ex-pat in Korea. That being said, my hopes for this summer spent in Busan are pretty much the same as for any summer.

Already this season there’s been sunshine, beaches, a sunset boat ride, patio beers, rooftop picnics, yoga, swimming in the ocean, plum wine, and Sunday nights spent at the spa. In a word, it’s been perfect – I’m so lucky to be living such a good life. This is a list of more things I’d love to do this summer, but really, they’d just be icing on the already-awesome cake.

Go surfing

Swim in the ocean at night

Set off fireworks

Create a new cocktail

Sleep on the beach

Celebrate happy hour every weekend

Listen to live music outdoors

Watch a sunrise

Read several great novels

Have great heart-to-heart conversations

Eat al fresco whenever possible

Drink sangria

Take another boat ride

Buy a floppy sunhat, a maxi dress and a pair of shorts

Find (& eat) chocolate soft-serve ice cream

Enjoy it all as much as I can

***

No surprises there right? I just want to be outside, breathe fresh air, eat good food, spend time with friends, soak it all in. Sounds like a good life to me.

Inspiration | March 21

DSC_0003These three questions that determine if you have long-term potential with someone as a romantic partner are quirky and seem silly, but at the same time I have pretty strong answers to all of them, so maybe they’re on to something! (For the record, my answers: I hate them. Yes, and it was wonderful. Yes, but only if we could still find ways to work, be creative, and contribute.)

The number I’ve read of this list of self-improvement books is pretty low, but it’s made my “to-read list” much longer. 

I’ve never been that into makeup but I must have watched 30 of the videos from this Youtube channel this week. 

This interview on MarieTV with the founder of Pencils of Promise both touched and inspired me. 

I liked this interview with Austin Kleon, especially the quote “you’re only as good as your last post”. 

Reading about this notebook made me positively giddy. I am such a paper person but I also love having everything organized on the computer…#geek

I want to make and eat these things: Baked Carrot Cake Oatmeal | Double Chocolate Chip Banana Bread | Chilled Chocolate Torte | Grain Free Chocolate Granola

This episode of the TED Radio Hour made me cry. 

I loved these 6 minute minimalist workouts. Simple but effective. 

I’ve also been filling my brain with lots of podcasts lately. I’ll be sharing my favourites on Monday! 

***

This weekend I have plans to go for a hike, get to the beach, and explore a beautiful temple. The weather is supposed to be really lovely too, and I’m excited! Have an awesome weekend. 

everyday beauty

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The past few weeks that I’ve been home have been pretty quiet, and I haven’t been too interested in taking photos. Apart from my beautiful plum cake day, I’ve been forgetting to take pictures which isn’t like me! But I think that after my big whirlwind adventure (which already feels so far away..) I just needed to decompress.

My days have been mostly filled with research, soul-searching, filling out exercises from What Colour is Your Parachute, green smoothies, and podcast production. I’ve also been knitting again!! I’m making this sweatshirt sweater, and it’s coming out nicely so far – I’m only on the second sleeve. Still a long way to go but it’s been fun. I’ve also been getting back into an exercise groove, trying to fall in love with yoga. After only about a week of daily practice, I can do a tripod headstand and can alllllmost do Crow as of yesterday. That’s making me happy, to see little changes in my strength from one day to the next.

Not much else to report. This weekend I’m going to visit my grandparents which should be lovely, but I’m hoping that the reports of snow in areas near where they live are false – ugh snow! Hope you have a great weekend.