29 November 2015

Alex's Birthday

Silly Alex didn't request his birthday off from work, so sadly I couldn't really do much in terms of taking him somewhere fun to celebrate. But I managed to make the best of it and he was happy!

After he got off work,  I gave him his gifts, which included a set of ceramic knives, a giant IKEA cutting board and three jars of specialty smoked salts (mmm, bacon salt). Then we went to get his haircut, because oddly enough that's what he wanted. Afterwards I took him out to dinner. Since he loves sushi I took him to a sushi bar in town that both of us had never been to before. It was really good too! We had toyed with the idea of possibly going out for more drinks, but since we are akin to the elderly (lol) we decided to head over to Starbucks to sit outside and drink coffee before we went home. It was so nice watching his smile grow bigger as he opened his gift and it was really great to see him stuff his face full of sushi.

Happy birthday, baby. I love you.
28 November 2015

Through the Lens: #68

On our picnic this past Monday Alex found this blue car sticking halfway out of the ground and we thought it would be a neat idea for me to take random photos of it during our walk. Here's what we came up with, we hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
26 November 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

Last night Alex & I patiently and lovingly slaved over our first two homemade pies. Between making the crusts from scratch, letting it chill and making the fillings it took us 4 hours. So, say hello to Bacon Apple and Fancy Pumpkin. They will meet their full potential once they are consumed later today. I think I'll be posting the recipe for the apple bacon lattice one on here sometime soon, because it would be perfect for christmas as well.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! May your food be tasty and your pies be as good as ours. ;)
25 November 2015

A Declaration on Skepticism, Beliefs, and Questioning Everything

I've always had a hard time understanding those who are extremely and stubbornly steadfast in their beliefs (no matter what they believe in or don't believe in). There is still so much out there that is unknown. It seems preposterous to me to be so headstrong in such constricted points of view. Things change, the search for knowledge pays off, technology advances, and discoveries are made. I feel as though there needs to be a level of skepticism when it comes to the perception of our world. A child-like inquisitiveness in which we strive to maintain the older we get. To remain dead set on a certain way of thinking is detrimental to the advancement of not only society but ourselves as well.

A simple conversation with others can open us to a variety of other points of views that we may have never considered before. Points of views where no one is wrong and no one is right. All that matters is that your eyes are open enough to where your thought process may become altered in a way that is beneficial to yourself and those around you. If we remain in a life where we so willingly accept what others tell us a fact, how are we to ever search for the truth that is still out there? Stagnation is no way to live. We need to question what is around us. For if we do not question, we simply become the blind leading the blind.

"Beliefs are dangerous. Beliefs allow the mind to stop functioning. A non-functioning mind is clinically dead. Believe in nothing." - Maynard James Keenan
(Yes, I just quoted Tool...)  

What is your take on beliefs or the lack thereof?
23 November 2015

Another Day, Another Picnic

Alex & I are really enjoying the cooler weather here, mainly because we are able to go on picnics on our days off. It's so nice to explore with him by my side. Today we went to Circle B Bar Reserve, had a picnic and walked on the trail for almost two hours.
We came across different birds, racoons and adorable squirrels. If you know anything about me, I love small woodland creatures. In fact, I'm pretty sure that's why I have a rabbit as a pet. Anyways, today was perfect. The temperature was a lovely 68 degrees, windy with just the right amount of sun.
We spent some of our adventure taking little videos that I compiled into a two minute long video. Which I'm really excited about because it truly captures how amazing this day was. If you'd like to see it, I've placed it down below.
I'm really glad that Alex's mom gave us a wicker picnic basket last night, because that means that we can go on even more picnics together - which we have both decided that it is now "our thing". I can't wait until the next one!

When was the last time you went on a picnic? Where is your favourite place to go on a picnic?
22 November 2015

A List of Love

Today I am starting a new series called, "A List of Love" where I will focus on sharing with you the things that I am loving each month, as well as stating what I am thankful. And I'd love for you to join me! Sometimes it can be hard for some of us to state what we are thankful for. There may be a part of us that feels as though we are bragging, but I see it a different way. I view it as a way for us to keep things in perspective and to be aware of how lucky we truly are. It all comes down to mindfulness.

This month I am thankful for: my health and the health of my loved ones. The clothes on my back, the roof over my head, the car that gets me to and from a job that I cherish. My family, my friends and my boyfriend. I am thankful for the love and understanding from the ones that surround me on a daily basis and for the safety (both physically and emotionally) that they provide.

Things that I have been loving:
  • date nights with Alex
  • warm, frothy lattes at local coffee shops
  • long maxi skirts with slits
  • soft, cozy sweaters
  • finally being able to wear boots
  • the new City and Colour album
  • having Olive snuggled in bed between Alex & I
  • meditating
  • writing more
  • the sound of rain against the window as Alex and I cuddle in bed in silence
  • goat cheese on toast with mashed raspberries
  • delicious, homemade dinners (thanks, Alex)

Now I encourage you to create your own list of love. You can write it in the comments below or make your own post. If you do make a post, be sure to leave the link to it in the comments section. I can't wait to see your lists! Also, you are more than welcome to use the image above on your blog post - just make sure to credit me.
19 November 2015

4 Easy Ways To Focus on Wellness

Soon I'll be turning thirty-one and lately I've been thinking a lot about what I do to take care of myself both emotionally and physically. The closer I get to thirty-one, the more I've noticed that somewhere in my mid-twenties I started to truly focus on personal wellness and methods of self-care. I workout, do yoga, try to eat whole foods and seek out more time in nature.

Wellness isn't always something that comes naturally or easily. You definitely have to make time for it, but once you do you'll find yourself wanting to continue - no matter how busy your life becomes. Here are some ways that I have found works really well:

I've been doing yoga for almost three years now and I've found that dedicated an hour each week to yoga has really helped with my anxiety and overall well being. Yoga has a magical way of centering you. If you haven't tried it - I suggest that you do. I remember when I first started I wasn't flexible at all and over the years I've progressed quite a bit.

This is something I really started to focus on last year. I started to really pay attention to what I was putting in my body. I try and stay away from excess sugar and cheese because when I tried Whole30 I found that both didn't do well with my body.

This is something that I have only recently started. Some may think it is the same as yoga, but I've found that doing ten minutes of yoga each day can add some much needed relaxation. Whether it's in the morning to center yourself or at the end of a long day to regain some calm, meditation can help. You can find a wonderful 30 day course on meditation here. Best of all it's free.

It can really be any type of exercise. Just start moving. You can walk, run, jump run, dance - whatever you do get that heart rate up and have fun. This will sound weird, but the more energy you expend the more energy you will get from doing so. Running was something that I had to force myself to do and now that I've been running for over four years now I feel weird when I don't. Be sure to checkout my Stay Fit board on Pinterest.

What are some of the ways in which you focus on wellness in your life?
15 November 2015

Life Lately & My Boyfriend

Meet my boyfriend Alex
It's been awhile since I've done a post about my life and what's really been going on in my neck of the woods. So I figured it was time for me to bring you all back into the loop. This past July W. and I separated and the divorce was finalized in early October. Throughout the whole process I had a friend like Alex by my side helping me cope, stay sane and happy during one of the most difficult experiences of my life. And I am grateful to have someone as patient and understanding as he is.

Yes, he is mine now and I am happy to call Alex my boyfriend, again, because funny story... we actually dated for the first time when I was in eighth grade (he was a super, cool high school guy at the time). Which is weird, but pretty awesome if you ask me. He moved back to Florida two years ago and I was lucky enough to run into him this year when my life could allow it. Best of all, it feels as though no time has passed between us - even though it has really been 17 years since we saw each other last. He has truly made me the happiest I have been in a long time. So excuse my bragging for the next few moments, will you?

Alex and Danielle

Alex is a professional chef. Like a really, really excellent chef. The type that can make something boring like sloppy joe's into a masterpiece. He's an incredible singer who can play guitar, bass, piano - you name it. He's great at art too - so much so that I find myself secretly jealous of his talent every time he shows me his artwork. Aside from all these awesome things about him, he is funny, sweet, caring, supportive, affectionate, loving and kind. He makes my soul feel less alone and I find myself smiling when I think about how connected we truly are. Plus, Olive approves of him and honestly if a bunny's judgement doesn't count, whose does?
14 November 2015

Health & Wellness: Morning Rituals

Health & Wellness: Morning Rituals
Aah, the morning ritual. This is something that has actually taken me quite awhile to create a habit of. And no, I'm not talking about a routine of waking up, brushing your teeth, getting dressed and eating breakfast before you rush out the door. I'm talking about a morning ritual that you can benefit from. A ritual that will lead to a sense of calm and emotional grounding before you start your day. I've compiled a list of awesome rituals that you can try the next time you wake up. Let's get started, shall we?

Meditation is a great way to start the day. Taking time to put yourself in a calm mental state can help prepare you for whatever stress may come you way. Meditation doesn't mean you have to completely quiet your mind. It is more about letting your thoughts come and go. There are some great meditation videos that you can find here. These videos are also great for those who are new to meditation.

Seriously, just a cup of tea can do wonders. Maybe it is the ritual of heating the water, placing in the teabag and waiting for it to steep that can create a sense of calm. Or maybe it is the warm liquid that soothes the soul as we drink. Either way, a cup of tea can help you slow down a bit and enjoy the morning. Just make sure you keep all distractions at bay while enjoying your tea. You can check out my favourite tea latte recipe here.

This is something that I have been trying to do more - and most of the time it's in the evening. So, if you're able to start journaling in the morning I commend you! My friend Megan shared with me this amazing site that will send you ten minute writing prompts everyday. You can sign up for these daily writing prompt e-mails here.

Ah, I really can speak enough about yoga. It truly has become one of my favourite things to do. I may not do yoga for an hour each day (since I typically do an hour every Saturday morning) but doing a few yoga poses in the morning can really be beneficial. You can find a wonderful morning yoga video here.

Other beneficial rituals to add to your morning:
a cup of hot water and lemon, listening to music, avoiding electronic devices, taking time to say good morning to those around you, eating a healthy breakfast without distractions.

What are some of your morning rituals? And is there anything you think you might want to add to it?
11 November 2015

Cold Brew Coffee w/ Coconut Sugar

Cold Brew Coffee w/ Coconut Sugar
Even though it's Fall, the temps are still in the eighties here in Florida. So today I'm sharing with you the most delicious way I know how to beat the heat, while still getting that much needed caffeine!

an empty seal-able container
a french press or cheesecloth

2/3 cup ground coffee
3 cups water
1/2 coconut sugar
1/2 water
Combine coffee and water in a large bowl (w/ a spout), stir well.
Pour the coffee mix into a seal-able container.
Place in refrigerator for up to 12 hours (no longer than 24).

After 12 hours have passed, shake up the coffee concentrate, pour it into a french press and press down on the plunger. *If you are using the cheesecloth method: place the cheese cloth over a large bowl (w/ a spout) and strain the coffee mix twice to remove all of the coffee grounds.
Pour into a clean seal-able container.

Place 1/2 cup coconut sugar and 1/2 cup water in a pot over medium heat, stir until sugar is dissolved. Let cool and place in an air tight container. This will make enough sugar for several cold brew coffees.

Pour cold brew coffee into a glass over ice - add simple syrup and milk (or milk alternative) to taste.

Stick in a brightly coloured straw and enjoy!
07 November 2015

Throught the Lens: Fall

There is nothing better than fresh air, pretty leaves and the sound of rushing water over jagged rocks.
05 November 2015

A Fall Picnic & Feeling Like Snow White

On Monday Alex & I went on a spur of the moment picnic. The second we arrived, we were greeted by several raccoons feasting on bread. Being who I am, I walked towards them, picked up a slice of bread from the ground and held it out towards one particularly curious raccoon that we affectionately named Chauncey. You guys, I seriously felt like Snow White amongst all those furry little bandits. Afterwards we snacked on our homemade turkey sandwiches and stuffed our faces with salty potato chips. We spent the rest of the afternoon walking the trails and talking. It truly was a lovely Fall afternoon spent outdoors.

Be sure to check out my Instagram for another photo of Chauncey, plus an adorable video of him eating a slice of bread.
02 November 2015

Superfoods: A Crash Course and Recipe

I'm sure if you were to ask any kid what a "superfood" was, they'd automatically picture their favourite food adorned with a cape. And maybe I like to think of it that way too, except my favourite food isn't a hot dog. Superfoods are nutrient dense, vitamin packed, super delicious and easy to add to your diet. Here are some of my favourite superfoods, along with a few easy ways to add them to your diet. I even have a recipe where you can get all four of my favourite super foods in one delicious meal. If you're impatient, the recipe is at the end of this post.

Acai Acai berries are harvested from acai palm trees. These berries are rich in antioxidants and can help with stimulating immunity and giving you an energy boost as well. They are full of fiber and contain heart-healthy fats as well. They contain vitamins B and K - which help the body efficiently metabolize carbohydrates, protein and fat. Another bonus is that it's flavour is reminiscent of chocolate, but not overly sweet. I add frozen acai berries to my smoothie bowls.

Raw Cocoa Did you know that raw cocoa is different from cocoa powder? Raw cocoa comes from unroasted cocoa beans that are cold-pressed (which removes the fat) whereas cocoa powder is roasted at high temperatures. Raw cocoa is another great antioxidant that lowers insulin resistance and blood pressure. On the vitamin front, it contains magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, copper and manganese. Raw cocoa has somewhat of a bitter taste, so I wouldn't ask you to try it by itself - even though that's how I eat it most of the time.

Chia Chia seeds are actually the seeds that are used in those silly chia pet plants, but their benefits far outweigh their ability to grow "fur" for a Garfield shaped pot. Chia seeds offer an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as calcium, manganese and magnesium. The Omega-3 fatty acids raise your good cholesterol levels (HDL). For 2 tablespoons of chia seeds you'll get 11 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein! I put chia seeds in salads, overnight oats and smoothies - sometimes I'll eat them by the spoonful.

Coconut Oil Coconut oil is another fantastic healthy fat that is made up of the long chain fatty acids that promote good HDL levels. It also contains vit amin E, K, iron and lauric acid. Our body converts the lauric acid into monolaurin, which prevent a variety of diseases. I tend to buy organic, unrefined coconut oil - as it tastes a lot better in it's natural state than the refined kind. Coconut oil can be used in place of other oils, so feel free to experiment with different recipes. I like using it to cook chicken tenderloins in.

My favourite way to consume all of these superfoods in one fell swoop is in a smoothie bowl.

Here's what you'll need:
Superfood Smoothie Bowl
1 frozen packet of unsweetened acai
1/2 frozen banana
1/4 avocado
2 tbs chia seeds
1 tsp coconut oil
1 medjool date (if extra sweetness is desired)
1/2 cup milk (or milk alternative)

Toppings: unsweetened coconut, raspberries, raw cocoa nibs.

Place the acai pack under running water and break it into smaller pieces, it will be to blend. In a blender mix main ingredients (except toppings) - blend until smooth. Pour into bowl and add the toppings. Or add whatever healthy and yummy ingredient that you have on hand, like granola, sliced banana, raw cashews, etc... Grab a spoon, dig in and enjoy!

Have you tried any of these superfoods? Which ones are your favourite?
01 November 2015

The Truth Is Out There

Happy Halloween from Mulder & Scully. Err, I mean me & Alex.

These costumers we're so much fun to do and wear.