Monthly Archives: May 2012
I got a lot of sun that day and the whole weekend mind you, but even though the weather is beautiful I am still seeing way to many pale people out there on the streets. So far all of you who are “too busy” or “too tired” or “too (fill in the blank)”, I have compiled a list of really easy ways that you TOO can enjoy the sun!
I believe that it’s important to soak up every second of this goodness because it doesn’t last forever. My body loves absorbing tons of that good-for-ya vitamin D and I end up having more energy on these days. I can wake up very early, as in 7 am early like today, stay up and active all day and than just crash late at night and have the best sleep!
So if you don’t know what to do, follow these directions.
1. Grab your bike, a backpack, a towel, a water bottle and a book. If you are hungry, also grab a snack. Go ride that bike and find some grass somewhere. I guarantee you that there is grass somewhere near where you are. This idea takes no effort and barely any time. Just stay out for an hour if you like…I am sure you would use that hour doing something unproductive at home anyways, like watching television or surfing the web or even reading indoors…take it outdoors people!
2. Have a backyard barbeque. Again, this takes almost no effort. You would usually make and have dinner outside so just move your food and your body in that backyard or balcony and soak up all that energy.
3. Find an outdoor pool. Such a fun thing you can do on a sunny day and pools are relatively easy to find. Maybe it’s at a friend’s house but maybe it’s just a public pool, they are both good. Not everyone has access to the beach, myself included, but don’t let that deter you from putting on that bikini.
4. Go for a run. It’s bathing suit season, there are no excuses!
5. Go garage sale-ing on the weekends. If the weather is nice than there are most likely 4 or 5 garage sales on the weekend where you live. Go find them and check them out. Maybe you will find that perfect decorative plate you’ve always wanted. One time I found an entire box of authentic sewing patterns from the 60’s (the woman was very old). I paid $10 and received 40 patterns and ended up making some very well tailored vintage dresses with any fabric I wanted.
6. If you have wifi that reaches your backyard or balcony, go out there to do anything you would normally do on the internet.
7. Meet up with friends, sit outside for lunch at a restaurant.
8. If you have to work there just may be a possibility of doing some of it outside. I teach children (or at least I did in Lille). On sunny days our lessons would be done outside. If you meet up with a client then follow step 7…or go for a game of golf!
9. Board games belong outside. So do decks of cards.
10. Buy a bottle of wine and sit somewhere with someone (or a book) and drink it. By far the best suggestion on this list.
My point is, DON’T WASTE THESE PRECIOUS DAYS!
Stay tuned for next weeks post on Natural Sun Care For Skin!! If you enjoy the sun it’s important to do it mindfully and I”ll show you some holistic approaches to sun care so you can rid yourself of those chemicals this summer!
And before you leave this page, please tell me, What is your favourite and easy thing to do to enjoy the sun?
A soup is the first recipe I decided to make now that I live with Max’s parents because I have been deprived of a blender in Lille and I had to take full advantage of my new blender privilege! I’m also super excited for the pretty dishes that his parents have collected over the years. They really make the food stand out so much better!
I based this recipe off of a scrumptious looking pea soup over at Cannelle et Vanille. The original recipe had some ingredients that are a no go with Max’s dad because he feels ill and also I had to adjust the recipe to the ingredients I can find readily available at this French supermarket. So here you have my recipe which ended up being scrumptious and surprisingly filling.
Oh and a bonus! It’s so healthy. You would think it was full of cream but because I added a couple of potatoes to the recipe, after the pureeing part, the soup comes out with a creamy texture. The yogurt garnish on top is really an essential ingredient as well. To mix in the creamy yogurt with the hot soup makes all of the difference.
P.s. It’s not French, I titled it as such because who really wants to eat “Pea Soup”.
To make this, you will need:
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 stalks of celery, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 4 small cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 leek, diced
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
- 1 tightly packed cup of arugula
- 1/2 lemon
- yogurt, radish, extra arugula and black pepper for garnish
Simple enough, isn’t it?! And it really took me less than an hour to prepare so it’s ideal for a weekend lunch or a started at dinner. Most of that time was spent waiting too!
I know, that is probably not what you were expecting to hear but Max has been obsessing over motorcycles and his love for them and how badly he wants one since I met him and I’ve always been doubtful, thinking, “If he gets one he will defintely get hurt.” But yesterdat after I arrived home, I realized that they are just like any vehicle and it really comes down to the driver. If the driver is reckless and taking too many risks, one time those risks will come back to haunt them, but if the driver is modest and responsible, their is no harm done.
I was laughing my brains out the entire time!
And p.s. I bought this entire outfit for only 12 Euro at the market here. 5 for each the dress and the shoes and 2 for the belt.
Have you ever dreamed of moving to a far off land? Maybe that land is France? Lately I’ve been getting a lot of emails asking me about what it was like moving and how it’s like living in France, because they too are debating that same move.
I met my French boyfriend Max in November, 2010. He was on exchange in Canada but that didn’t stop us from dating. I am a firm believer in following my heart and for some reason, no matter how hard I fought it, I fell for him. This presented a huge problem! Max was to go back to France and was not planning on staying in Canada. Plus, he had 3 years left in his education so there was no chance of him staying in Canada for a long period of time after his exchange, for at least 3 years.
Around the same time, as I was having this major mental and emotional confusion, I went to speak with a friend. I disliked the program I was taking in school and genuinely wanted more fulfillment in my life. She asked me, “Laura, what is it that you have always wanted to do?” Without hesitating I knew answer was to live in France. I had dreamt of a move to France for 10 years and was given advice to do it while I was young, in the past 2 years before this moment.
In January, I privately decided that I would move to France and without even telling Max, I began researching possibilities. It seemed impossible at the time. I looked into Au Pair, a visitor’s visa, how to get a work visa, how long I could stay with nothing, and I flirted with the idea of an Italian citizenship (which I am getting now). After about a month of researching every single day, I found the working holiday visa and decided that this was the only route that would be possible at the moment.
I had no money at the time and obtaining that visa is expensive. You need to prove you have a certain amount of funds in your account plus show a plane ticket and a year’s worth of travellers medical insurance (which is expensive). I talked to my friend Monica who also happens to be a life coach and she coached me through the possibilities.
After brainstorming for an hour or so I decided that I would start an extremely tight budget and put the entire rest of my paycheques towards saving for this move. That meant that I was spending only $50 a week and everything else went into savings. I did this for 6 months and it was the hardest thing I ever did! I did not buy one item of clothing, switched from buying organic food to the cheapest food possible and only went on dates with Max that costed no money.
In March, I slipped it out to Max that I was considering moving to France. I explained the situation and what I was doing to prepare and he was thrilled. I really waited for the perfect moment to tell him seriously. Before that I played with the idea to him and he always seemed to take the bate so I knew I could tell him. I really wanted to move to the South of France but he convinced me that Lille would be amazing and he would be there to help, so I chose to move to the same city as him, which ended up being the right decision.
I continued to save and prepare the documents. I participated in forums that answered all of my questions about obtaining this visa. Forums for expats are excellent resources. It is where you find all of the info from people who have already been in the situation. You can also find blogs and email addresses to contact the people directly. Without using these resources, I may have made some errors that could have delayed my process. I basically was researching everyday, even if only for a few minutes. I wanted to make sure I had all of the documents in place that could guarantee I would make it to France in September.
In May, I broke the news to my family that I would be moving. I received a huge gift from my Aunt and she gave me the rest of the money that I needed to save in order to get the visa. I still focussed on saving and within the 6 months I had even more than I needed to get there. This was stressful and hard but when I look back on it, I am so proud of myself and I really revealed my unlimited potential.
I booked my appointment with the consulate for June 15th. In this same week Max decided that he needed to leave Canada because a sector of the government was on strike and he could not obtain the permit he needed to complete an internship. He was eligible to work in London and needed an internship abroad from France so he moved there for the summer. He was scheduled to leave 3 days after my appointment with the consulate.
I had my appointment and received some disappointing news, I was planning to stay two weeks less of a year and I was applying for a one year visa. I had only bought travel insurance for the dates I was planning to stay and the consulate required the insurance for exactly one year apart. They will usually hand out the visas on the spot if you have all of your correct information and with Max leaving, this is what I wanted, an immediate guarantee. They kept all my documents and my passport and told me to email them with the new information and it will take up to ten days.
I went home and sprung to action. Within an hour I had purchased the extra medical insurance and emailed it to them right after. I received an email back telling me to go pick up my passport the next day. I was working the next day so I sent Max to grab my passport for me.
He was due to leave the Saturday and this was a Friday when he came to my work after picking up my passport. He told me he had 2 pieces of good news. One, he had my passport. And two, he had my visa!! They approved it quite immediately and now Max and I knew we would reunite even if in three months time and I got my wish, I received the news before he left.
That night I threw a little surprise good bye party for him and he was off to London. For the next three months we entered into a long-distance relationship which was totally worth it. I hopped on an airplane on September 15th heading to Paris.
I’ll continue with this experience next week!
I’m in shambles today. We are out of Lille early tomorrow morning and I am swamped. I really love that feeling though…you can read more about why in a guest post I have coming up in a week or so!
I made this dessert from a recipe that Max’s parents sent me. Eons ago, we went to a dinner party hosted by les parents and they served this dessert and I was quite impressed. I said goodbye to my friends last night and knew it would be the perfect little gift!
Notice how the background to this recipe was in my hair in yesterday’s post and it’s still in my hair as I write this.
Also notice that I love you guys and I’m so appreciative that you are reading my blog!
If you want to make your guests think of you as a master pastry chef then grab these ingredients:
- 125 grams butter
- 5 pears
- 280 grams of flour
- 270 grams of sugar
- 70 grams of icing sugar
- 300 + 3 tablespoons of milk
- 2 limes
- 1 egg + 3 yolks
- 1 tablespoon of corn starch
When I started this blog I had no idea that months later I’d be posting pictures of outfits that I wear. I guess it was inevitable though. I went to school for fashion a few years ago and have always had some interest in the subject. And now that I live in France, I can’t deny myself any further.
In these pictures, although you cannot see it, I did a great Bridget Bardot “flick” eye. Here is the link the the awesome tutorial.
I wore this to an open bar end-of-year party held by Max’s school. The party was gross and I came home with a beer-soaked dress, sticky legs, and disgusting shoes.That’s just not my scene.
Although it was so much fun to dance and finally wear this dress that I bought in London back in January!
(Dress: Urban Outfitters London, Shoes: Hand-me-down from Max’s Maman, Scarf: Vintage)
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago how I stopped eating any form of sugar including simple carbs. Well, after a week, this didn’t go over so well.
I stopped seeing the value of this challenge in my own life. Although I wanted to help a friend by writing this article, it came in the way of myself. And not in a selfish way at all because sometimes putting yourself first can be the least selfish thing you can do. I had to choose between this article or my lifestyle and I chose my lifestyle.
Where was the pleasure in my life when sugar was gone? I couldn’t picnic over a baguette with Max. Our grocery store trips became a battle and my recipe ideas suffered. I can’t afford to buy the supplements that would have helped me along the challenge greatly and frankly, I wanted to sit and eat dessert after dinner. A feeling of guilt came over me when I accidently bough vanilla yogurt rather than plain yogurt and after that day I realized that this challenge was adding absolutely no value. And if the point of the challenge was to add value and it was doing to opposite, then Houston, we have a problem. Wisdom stepped in and told me to start eating pleasurably again. After all, I’m in France and this is what I came for (besides love).
The value that beginning to eat sugar brought me is great though. Now I realize how hard this is and how difficult it must be for that friend. I must admit, I am very quick to judge, especially in situations where nutrition is concerned. I have a tough love attitude of, “If you need to change your diet, do it and do it well.” Well…it might not be so easy for everyone, and that includes me. So the value added would be the addition of compassion towards people in these situations because goodness does it ever suck to stop eating sugar.
More value earned as well…I am more keen on experimenting with natural sugar options. While I am currently keen on honey, stevia, maple syrup and coconut sugar (that’s quite a lot actually) I may want to try a few others and also start baking with them!
Thanks for reading!
Today I was going to post a funky outfit I wore over the weekend with my explanation of why I quit my no sugar challenge. When I took a closer look at the pictures of me in that outfit I saw that I had a sad sally face in all of them. My face was like that because people kept walking into the picture. So you won’t get to see them…and I probably won’t wear that again for a while. But that’s okay because I have another recipe for you today which was going to be for you tomorrow but it came early!
This recipe is easy and yummy and it’s a nice little twist on a classic.
So enjoy! And do this:
The first half of the name of these zucchinis describes me. Well, you may have to add bitter in there to truly describe me cause sometimes I have bad moods.
Did I tell you that I failed at the 30 day sugar challenge? More to come on this topic next week but I’m just telling you this because this recipe has honey in it.
These are really good but totally spicy. You need to pair them with something of the opposite flavour, like creamy, in order for them to work magically with any main dish. I paired them with that chicken alfredo recipe from the other day and the match was heavenly! You can also use this philosophy of flavour matching for relationships.
You will need:
- 1 zucchini
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- 2 minced gloves of garlic
- 2 minced shallots
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 1 tablespoon of butter
Et voila! Enjoy!