Woodbine Beach, Thank You

I realize that I am sharing yet another beach post. Please bare with me.

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I want to thank you for your hospitality during this past month. You have helped create many memories that will forever remain close to my heart. You have gathered the east end folk many times and welcomed us with pleasant weather and breathtaking sunsets. You were patient with us when we played music and made bonfires. You joined in the songs with your waves and gave us wood to turn to flames. You showcased beautiful light and colours knowing that it would translate well through the camera lens. Woodbine Beach, thank you, for I can now reminisce about the good times and great friends as I soak in the Kelowna sunshine once more.

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Quick Update: If you have been wondering why I haven’t shared a blog post in so long, it is because we moved back to Kelowna. Surprise! The past month consisted mostly of packing, enjoying my last moments in Toronto, driving across the country once again, settling in, and finding a job. I apologize for the long delay, but I barely had enough internet to post to Instagram… And I love posting to Instagram.

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Balmy Beach

A very special guest from out west stayed with us for a whole week. Megan visited Toronto for the first time, and boy did we do a lot of things! From exploring the island to shopping in Kensington Market, going to a comedy club and some funky live music jams (and even a dance club.. yikes), without forgetting a Blue Jays game and beer tasting at the Steam Whistle Brewery, you could say it was a jam-packed week. These pictures are from our more relaxed afternoon, at Balmy beach by my house.

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Megan and Laurence being babes, as usual.

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Megan and I goofing off, as usual.

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Here is a little sneak peek from the mini photo shoot we had after sunset… I am in the process of building a portfolio, and I will be posting more on there!

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I had a lot of fun with this girl, and I can’t wait to see her again in the summer.

Dundas Square

Esther‘s sister came down from Montreal to visit a couple of weeks ago. On Saturday night, I took the girls out on a walking adventure downtown. Dundas Square is such a lively place on weekends. We had a few amusing interactions and also snapped some funky urban photos.

Anne and Laurence

Anne and Laurence

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Anne and myself

 

We have known Anne and Esther for longer than I can remember. I treasure their friendship greatly. Anne is now almost fifteen! It was fun hanging out with her and my sister now that they are older. It’s a whole new ball game and, from the looks of it, it’s going to be a fun one.

It is so important to have long term friends that know everything about you and with whom you are completely vulnerable, completely yourself.

We didn’t (and don’t) always all get along. After all, we’ve known each other through the hormonal mess that is puberty… But we pull through and let me tell you, it is worth it. What I am trying to say is that if there is someone in your life that you have known for a very long time but no longer speak to for whatever reason, maybe it’s a good time to accept them back into your life. It might just be the best decision you’ve ever made.

Eau d’été

The sun was shinning so bright this weekend that I was able to study out on the balcony in shorts and a tank top. The warm weather even inspired my mom to make “summer water” to help keep my brain sharp and hydrated as I drowned it in Financial Accounting review. This recipe tasted (and looked) so lovely that I just had to share it with you.

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Eau d’été

(Water + Mint + Ginger) x let steep for 1 hour in the fridge

I don’t like following precise recipes, and I prefer improvising when it comes to measuring ingredients. Therefore I tend to write out recipes in a super simple manner. If you are not like me and prefer straightforward, specific directions, check out Martha Stewart’s version!

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Wish me luck on my final exam tomorrow!

Island

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It was so quiet on the island, as though we were the only ones there. The water was blue, and the wind was still. We could hear the song of birds and the soft waves brushing up on the shore, but nothing else. The cool, crisp air rolled in and out of our lungs. We were at peace.

“If I had to die right now, it would be o.k.”

It was that kind of perfect moment.

Winter Food + Studying

There is nothing better than grilled vegetables with Sriracha sauce to fight the bitter cold. Hot tea helps too.

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What’s on this plate? Spinach, zucchini, onions, mushrooms, red peppers, pumpkin seeds, sriracha

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Time to get back to Financial Accounting! Studying is surprisingly enjoyable when paired with delicious food.

Snowfall Adventures

Toronto was greeted with generous snowfalls today, which made the outdoors too beautiful to resist. I grabbed my camera and headed out the door. My escapade quickly turned into a sweet photographic expedition with my buddy Dimos, who decided to tag along and show me around Riverdale.

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We came upon a wall in Withrow park that was exhibiting a thought that often crosses my mind.

Though this is a difficult question to face, I constantly use it to assess my present situation and to motivate myself in moving forward. If at some point in my life I answer no, I like to see it as challenge instead of a failure. I like to treat it as an adventure back to yes. It’s the best way to progress.

Are you happy?

Care Package from the BC Homies

“Because true love never keeps a man from pursuing his destiny”  ― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

I have left home just over six months ago. Not a single day passes where I do not think of my friends. Many times my heart will long for us to be together again. Many times I question my motives for leaving. I wonder why I exchanged such pleasant comfort for risk and uncertainty. Easy for difficult. Belonging for loneliness.

My nostalgia was at its peak during the holiday season, which included my nineteenth birthday. I really wanted my friends.

They must have felt it. After the trip to Québec, I was welcomed to our Toronto home with more mail than teens usually get in a year nowadays. I left my best friends, and they still care about me. This must be true love.

(O.k. I admit I cried too)

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Thank you my loves. I can’t even begin to explain how much good this did.

Moonbean Coffee Company

Before my Statistics final exam, I spent a number of hours studying at Moonbean Coffee Company, located in my favourite Toronto neighbourhood. Even though school is now over, I still visit weekly for a warm cup of tea (usually Milky Oolong or Genmaicha), which pairs up nicely with a good book.

Laurence decided to join me the other day. She studied for an English test. I took these photos and read The Hobbit.

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Moonbean Coffee Company

Moonbean Coffee Company

First Birthday in the City

My lovely sister is now fifteen years old. It is wonderful to see that as we get older, we look more and more alike. In high school, I would try to coordinate my outfits to match hers, just to we would look like sisters… Now I don’t have to!

Over the years, we have learned to deal with each other’s quirky habits and even enjoy each other’s company. We are sisters and also great friends, and it has been fun exploring the city together. I love her infinitely.

The End

laurence

Super Quick Pulled Pork Salad

Pulled-pork healthy salad with fresh, local veggies

Healthy pulled-pork salad with fresh, local veggies

Ingredients:

– A mom

– Pulled Pork

– Fresh Greens

– Cucumbers

– Tomatoes

Steps:

1. Get mom to make delicious pulled pork

2. Throw lettuce onto plate

3. Throw pulled pork onto lettuce

4. Cut remaining ingredients and add to plate

5. Eat & study for Statistics midterm

Turned a Cheap File Box into a Funky Bookshelf

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I turned a cheap plastic file box into a funky bookshelf. I found the box in the Home Office section at Value Village for $2. I desperately needed  some space for school books above my desk, and brand new shelves don’t exactly fit into my budget at the moment.

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Before starting any project, it is important to ask yourself these two questions:

1. Do I have music playing? – Having great music to set the mood will help time pass by faster. This is especially important for big projects that require dull, repetitive actions.

2. Do I have something delicious to drink as I slave through this? – This will act as a mini reward/pat on the back every time you take a sip. I made a Maple Cinnamon Latte with Almond Milk, though the possibilities are endless. Tea, coffee, juice, water, pop, hot chocolate, wine, rum… Your pick!

turning a cheap plastic file box into a funky bookshelf

turning a cheap plastic file box into a funky bookshelf

The first step and trickiest part of the entire project was drilling holes through the plastic to be able to hang it on the wall when painted. I am proud to say that after some time, my perseverance was rewarded.

turning a cheap plastic file box into a funky bookshelf

turning a cheap plastic file box into a funky bookshelf

I found some leftover wall paint hiding in the basement. “Special paint for plastic” is probably available at hardware stores but, since the shelf only cost me two dollars, I didn’t see the point of investing in special paint when I already have some at home. And there’s the budget thing. Do, however, feel free to get yourself the right kind of paint for your file box, if you decide to try this project.

One thing I learned about myself during this project is that my paint skills are rather lacking. I managed to get paint everywhere on the tarp, my hands, and my clothes. I am embarrassed to admit that when I went to clean myself up while the shelf was drying, I noticed in the mirror that I even had paint in my hair…

Point is if I can do it, so can you. It is worth the effort in the end. Check out the final result:

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I love my folding stand-up desk.

Let’s Get Personal

What do I want, really?

I want a big library with books and books and even more books. I want to live in a city in a loft with high ceilings and windows and brick walls and wood floors and a living room that is also a studio where I can paint and my husband can play music. I want to travel and work in orphanages and see the world and the many beautiful cultures. I want to document my travels and mainly just write all the time about everything. I want to go to Ecuador or Nicaragua or somewhere to teach English or French or art or anything else for a year as I perfect my Spanish. I want to graduate university with new and better work habits where I am organized and don’t wait until the last minute to get things done. I want to live in real life: where Facebook isn’t the first thing I think of when I take a picture or accomplish something or a major event occurs. Instead I’ll think of printing the photo to hang it on my wall, and I’ll think of calling my grandma or friend to tell the news. I want to act with love, patience and compassion towards everyone. I want to write letters and mail them to my friends for their birthdays. I want to take a stranger out for coffee and learn from him and be inspired. I want to collect music and tea and have tea-drinking-music-listening gatherings. I want to learn guitar and write a song and sing it to someone I love. I want to live.

I want to really live.

What do you want?

Teenage Dream

Okay.

I understand that I am seven months too old to call myself a teenager,  but do you agree that an attic bedroom with a patio door that leads out to the roof is a total teenage paradise? If I had this bedroom back when I was still in high school, I would have been the most popular kid in the class! I mean, everyone would want to come hang out at my house just so we could chill on the roof, smoking cigarettes and stuff. (Kidding about that last part…)

It’s still pretty cool now that I’m an adult though. I mean I can just take a blanket outside and listen to some tunes, read a book, drink tea. Charis, Levi and I had a mini photo shoot out there the other day.

Anyone else want to come over?

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Also notice that I am wearing velvet almost exclusively here. (If you want to send me a pair of velvet shoes, feel free!) The velvet shirt is from our beloved Value Village, and so is Charis’ cute jean dress. Who doesn’t love recycling clothes and getting a great $deal$ out of it?

Rainy Day Tunes and Nostaligia

Rainy Day

View of the roof from my bedroom

Rainy days are abundant here.

I enjoy them. They are cleansing, refreshing. Plus they are the perfect excuse to stay indoors, listen to music, and drink tea.

I am listening to Aidan Knight, one of my favourite musicians from BC. It seems like my entire high school experience included his album Versicolour playing on repeat.

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Levi also loves the rain.

A long time ago I remember my friend Hayden telling me Margaret Down was his favourite song by Aidan Knight. When I looked it up I found this live performance in the rain, since the song was not yet on an album. I don’t know about Hayden, but years later this is still my favourite song.

There is nothing more fitting for a rainy day than a live performance in the rain by Aidan Knight.

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE!!!!!

Mango Coconut Slush

This is a super simple refreshing drink that I’ve been enjoying, especially on warmer summer days. I made two different graphics for this recipe and I can’t seem to pick my favourite, so you get two-for-one today! For fun, I added a little poll at the bottom of the post. I am curious to see which one is your favourite, dear 125 subscribers. Feel free to vote!

(A little side-note; these photos are Pinterest friendly!)

Mango Coconut Slush

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Mango Coconut Slush

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The Really Really Free Market

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On the first Saturday of every month, I will be making my way to Campbell Park to treasure hunt at the Really Really Free Market. It is a beautiful concept that allows people to get rid of things they no longer need and to pick up unwanted doodads for which they wish to give a home. The best part about this market is that it really is free. Generous volunteers supervise the event and help organize the donations that are brought in as the day unfolds, and at the end of the day they take the left over articles to those in need.

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I visited the market for the first time last Saturday with Charis. I was smaller than expected, but the treasures were not lacking. We figured out that people keep bringing more donations throughout the day, so the key is to hang around for a little while. After about an hour, Charis and I collected some nice books, clothes, and a Cream record. May I remind you that we walked out of there with all these things for FREE. I love the Really Really Free Market.

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Sleeveless plaid shirt from the Really Really Free Market

Fashion on yonge

On September 4th, Charis and I attended the Vibe runway show at Fashion On Yonge. Located at Trinity Square Park by the Eaton Center, the event showcased fall looks by Ann Taylor, Bench, Danier, Gap, Mendocino, and more. DJ J-Lah did a great job with the beats. Here are some photos of the event:

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Red Carpet

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My favourite look of the night; props to Danier.

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Men

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Charis and I were fortunate to take part in the Fashion Show, sponsored by My Great PhotoShop Skills.

Zucchini Noodles

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My new favourite vegetable is the zucchini because of its unbelievable versatility. For lunch we made zucchini pasta. It is so simple to make and only requires a potato peeler to create the noodles. Then they are heated in a pan until soft, and voilà!

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We combined the noodles in a pan with coconut oil, baby Bok Choy, mushrooms, green onions, sesame seeds, and roast beef.

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zucchini noodles

St-Lawrence Market

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Charis is finally here and we have a fun week ahead of us! Yesterday morning we took a stroll through the wonderful St-Lawrence Market. Here you can find everything from fresh vegetables to grass-fed meat. You can even buy coffee that has been roasted on location.

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It is in my nature to take photos everywhere I go, and it can sometimes lead to interesting interactions. As I was snapping photos of Charis near some lovely colourful fruits, one of the “Fruitists” (guy working in the fruit stall), spontaneously requested to be in one of the photos. He even took off his work coat and struck a pose!

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Kitchen: Tuna Bites and My First Letter

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I got a letter in the mail today! My first letter in the new home. It is from my beloved Charis who is coming to visit me in September… We are going to have the time of our lives!

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For lunch, I mixed tuna and avocado and decided to eat it in the form of cute little bites. The recipe is so simple I was able to write it out as an equation. Why complicate things?

(cucumber slice + tomato slice + tuna and avocado + olive slice) x toothpick = ta da!

Toronto Islands: Festivalous Festivities

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Last Saturday, Laurence and I went to the islands for the first time. Taking the ferry to get there was quite an experience in itself. The sun was shining and the breeze was fresh as we cruised over the waves, away from the city.

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We attended the final (though our first) ALL CAPS music festival. After five  years, the 2013 event was announced as the last celebration. We were happy to be a part of it.

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Many Toronto musicians took part in making the event successful. It was great hearing different sounds and talents from our BC locals. One band from Vancouver did hit the stage in the afternoon though, and I have to say it made us somewhat nostalgic. At this point we were missing home.

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Vancouver band Beekeeper

On Sunday, the afternoon shows took place on the beach. How delightful it was laying in the sand as we listened to Eons harmonizing with the sound of waves hitting the shore!

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Pachamama on the beach

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Sunday evening ended in dance, with the very groovy Catl  and the grandiose Rich Aucoin. A wonderful end to a memorable sisterly weekend.

One of many sparklers during Rich Aucoin's performance.

A sparkler during Rich Aucoin‘s performance.

Thanks to my sister's photographic contributions for this post.

Also, I got a haircut. Special thanks to my sister‘s photographic contributions for this post.

Good Morning!

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Happy Monday everyone! I would like to share two things about my morning.

The first is my absolute favourite summer drink: Almond Milk Iced Latte. Bonus points if it’s in a mason jar, like mine today.

Second is my marvellous hair. I guess it’s humid in Toronto today. At least Monica understands.

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