Thursday, 26 November 2015

Throwback Travel Thursday: Sapa, Vietnam

Hi friends,

I hope you all had a fabulous day!

I went to le Nordik Spa with my mom, aunt and middle sister - the little wee one was missing. That's what you get for going to school in a different city I guess ;)

Note: If you live in the Ottawa region and haven't been to le Nordik yet, well, you just haven't lived. 

Fix it. Go. ASAP. 

Throwback Travel Thursday: Sapa, Vietnam 

I'm going to keep riding the Vietnam train for another throwback travel Thursday post. Today's focus is the amazing Sapa. 

Snuggled up in the northwest region of Vietnam, Sapa is certainly not to be missed.

It is an absolutely gorgeous area, full of the epic terraced rice fields. 

We organized a 3 day trek with a tour company in Hanoi - there are TONS of places, so we went to a bunch and went with one that had good reviews and was reasonably priced. 

We cheaped-out and took the overnight sleeper bus instead of the train. Although it wasn't completely terrible, I wouldn't recommend it. 

I didn't actually end up taking any trains while I was in Vietnam since I had good ol' Bessie. 

Anywho, our guide came and met us at the bus, took us and our bus-bedraggled selves to get some pho,  and then we headed for her house. 

It was a fantastically beautiful walk - we passed by small houses and expansive rice fields. 

It was about a two hour walk to her house, where we had our own room with mats on the floor. The family also fed us all of our meals - so delish! 

We went out for a looong hike around the area with the mom the next day, and then decided to do a 'pub crawl' in the local village. 

Note: There were only two little 'stores, so we went back and forth, and then bought a crate of beers and lugged them up the mountain back to our home stay. The dad loved it, and an entire bottle of rice wine (aka wine whiskey) ensued.  

One of the guys even ended up getting an outfit made for him - it was amazing! 

On the last day, our guide took us a new route - which turned out to be the hardest trek of my life - back to the town of Sapa. 

We stopped in at the local market - it's the best to go on a Sunday since that's when ladies from all the surrounding areas come to sell their beautiful handmade wares. 

Overall, Sapa was one of the most beautiful areas I saw in Vietnam - which is quite a feat since the entire country is fantastic.

I would definitely recommend going for 2 or 3 days. You can stay at a wonderful home stay and do different   treks depending on your fitness level. 

If not for the amazing hospitality, the beautiful hand-broidered goods, go for the majestic landscape - terraced rice fields as far as the eye can see!

  • Have YOU been to Sapa before? What did you think? If not, is it now added to your 'must-see' travel list?? 

Monday, 23 November 2015

11/23 Fitness for the Week & Green Morning Smoothie

Guten morning friends! 

I hope you all had a fibbity fab weekend :) 

Mine was a tad boring - it's coming up on the end of term when alllllllll of my final papers are I locked myself inside with my laptop (and the Mindy Project, obvi) to try and get a head-start! 

I did manage to get out for a cloudy run. 

A bit of brunch - veggie omelette, hashbrowns and toast! 

And a nice walk through Strathcona park. 

Fitness for the Week

Here's my fitness plans for the week - HIIT-heavy since I have a busy week ahead of me! I'll have to save my running for the weekend *sniff*

Monday - HIIT 

Tuesday - Bodyweight Circuit

Wednesday - HIIT

Thursday - Bodyweight Circuit

Friday - Yoga

Saturday - RUN! 

Sunday - Active Restday :) 

Green Morning Smoothie 


You guys - this was THE most delicious smoothie I've had in a while.

Actually, come to think of it, the ONLY smoothie I've had in a while, but never mind that. 

It's packed full of vitamins and was the perfect start to the day!

I did a bit of an intense HIIT this morning (I'm testing some routines out for a workout surprise I'm planning for you guys to follow over the holidays!!) so I also made a wrap with some peanut butter and honey as a side :) 

Green Morning Smoothie


1 kiwi
1 banana
1 stalk celery
1 handful greens (lettuce, kale, spinach)
1 cup almond milk 
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 tsp coconut flakes (optional) 


1. Put all ingredients (except the coconut flakes) in a blender. 

2. Mix until fully blended. 

3. Garnish with coconut flakes. 

4. Enjoy!

  • What is YOUR go-to smoothie recipe to start the morning right?? 

Friday, 20 November 2015

Healthy Party Snacks

Hi friends, 

Happy Friday!!

Healthy Party Snacks

I had some chicas over for a ladies vino night, and decided to make a few healthy snacks for us to munch on.

Steer Clear of Cheese Plates 

Personally, cheese plates are my worst nightmare - I have absolutely ZERO self-control when a plate of delicious cheese is put in front of me. It also makes me feel incredibly guilty afterwards, so I decided to steer clear of it last night! 

[Note: this is not to say that cheese plates are never alright – cheese is a source of protein, so it is good for you in appropriate portion sizes. So, if you are one of those magical unicorns with the self-control of steel, then go for the cheese plate. For the rest of us, see my suggestions below :) ]

Veggie Platter

Instead of the regular cheese platter, why not cut up a few veggies to munch on instead??

This is one of my go-to appetizers for get-togethers since I am a sucker for some delish crunchy veggies, especially when they are paired with a good dipping sauce(!!)


Here's an old recipe of mine for basil hummus

I have to admit, I’m a bit of a hummus fiend. My boyf has quickly discovered that I become quite cranky when I don’t have a supply of hummus in the fridge - at all times. This is an easy hummus recipe, which you can make in a big batch on the weekend and it will last you all week (in theory…). 

When you’re in a pinch and don’t have the time to make a fresh batch, there are some great options at the grocery store – just make sure you read the ingredients and don’t go for anything too fancy with extra unnecessary calories.

One of my personal faves. The garlicky kind, obvi ;)

You can also cut up some whole wheat pita bread to dip into this delicious spread as well!

Sweet Potato Fries

A great way to have something salty without resorting to a bag of chips – throw together some sweet potato fries! Not only are they delicious, but they’re super easy to make – I’ll try to post a recipe for them next week!

Fun fact: sweet potatoes are pumped full with beta-carotene and Vitamin A, and a great alternative to regular potato chips or fries.

3 Ingredient Cookies

Looking for an easy – and healthy – dessert option?

The best and easiest option is always to go with a fruit platter, but if you’re looking to provide something that looks a bit more like the traditional dessert fare, these cookies are the bomb diggity!

3 Ingredient Cookies

This recipe is adapted from a Blogilates [LINK] recipe, and should make 12 small cookies or 8 medium-sized cookies.


1 banana
1 cup rolled oats
Handful raisins/chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Add peeled banana, rolled oats and raisins to a large bowl.

3. Use your hands to mush (yes, I said “mush”) everything together.

4. Coat baking pan or use wax paper.

5. Roll dough into small balls and flatten them to look like – you guessed it – a cookie.

6. Bake for 5-10 minutes, or until golden around the edges.

7. Remove from heat, let sit for 5 minutes (seriously, they’ll be hot).

8. ENJOY!!

  • What are YOUR go-to party snacks? Any other recommendations??

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Concert Review: Andrew McMahon, in the Wilderness Tour

Hi friends!

I know I usually do a 'What I Ate' post on Wednesday, but I figured I'd change it up a bit today and do a review of the Andrew McMahon concert I attended this past weekend. 

Concert Review: Andrew McMahon, in the Wilderness Tour

Full disclosure: I love Andrew McMahon's music - he has a knack for writing songs that pluck my little heart strings. 

The concert was held at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto. It's a great venue, and conveniently placed near Greek Town for a delish pre-show meal ;)

[I would recommend Messini on Danforth St - amazing Greek salad with chicken souvlaki]

The openers for the show were the New Politics. While they were able to get the crowd nice and rowdy, I found them a bit...rehearsed. 

Their light show was on point, and the lead singer would take breaks to do a mini breakdancing set. I couldn't help but feel like it was a bit of a cookie-cutter show, and it seemed like they had received professional coaching for their routine. 

Anywho, Andrew McMahon is obviously a big fan - he came out to sing a song with them, and even invited them onto the stage with him later during his set. 

As for Andrew McMahon's set, it was pretty amazing. 

He mixed some of his older stuff from when he was with Jack's Mannequin and Something Corporate, along with all of my faves from his recent solo album "In the Wilderness". 

He ended with Cecilia and the Satellites, which he wrote for his daughter. 


He busted out one of those old-school colourful parachutes and actually came out into the crowd. 

So cool. 

That being said, there were a few strange moments. 

It happened two days after the terrible shootings in France, so I think everyone was a bit on-edge. 

Whatever the case, I guess some people in the audience were yelling inappropriate comments, but Andrew McMahon kinda freaked out. Generally, he seems like he is probs the nicest man, but the energy in the room after he essentially yelled that he would "effing punch you in the face" was a bit off. Definitely took away from the end half of the show. 

Overall, despite the ridiculousness that went down, I was still in my happy place when it was done :)

Have YOU ever seen Andrew McMahon live? What did you think??

Throwback Travel Thursday: Amritsar, Punjab, India

Hi friends! 

I decided to do a spotlight on one of the more recent places that I've been - enjoy! 

Throwback Travel Thursday: Amritsar, Punjab, India

We took a local bus from Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh. I found that bus times in India are generally pretty accurate - except for some of the crazier bus routes up north (*ahem* Dharamsala to Chamba - terrifying, but beautiful). 

Anywho, we got off the bus and made the mistake of getting into a rickshaw right away. 

Turns out the bus station is not very far from the golden temple, where there are tons of hotel options within a few blocks radius. 

Granted, it was ridiculously hot and sweaty outside, so we took the easy way out. We saw a few places and settled on one with clean sheets, a proper shower nozzle, an air conditioner for my mom and sissies, and a big, loud fan for us. 

We found the best dang restaurant ever - Brother's Dhaba

Just go. Don't think about it. You're welcome. 

The Golden Temple

We dropped our stuff and headed out to see the infamous golden temple - it's the holiest Sikh Gudwara, with approximately 100,000 visitors a year. 

Tip: bring something to cover your head and a pair of sandals that you're not afraid of losing. 

We ended up buying these hilariously bright-coloured head scarves with the Sikh scythe motif on it, and stashed our sandals amongst a pile instead of waiting to put them in the legit place - there was a huge line-up (read: mass of people - 'lining-up' isn't really a concept seen in India very often). 

We splashed through the water basin to wash our feet before entering into the mass of people walking around the golden temple. 

It is surrounded by a big pool of water, with walls all around the outside, and a walk-way to go inside the building. 

It truly is a beautiful sight - there are so many people walking around, lying in the shade, eating some of food that are provided at all of the Gudwaras I visited in India, waiting in the ridiculously long line-up to go into the temple (which we did not partake in), people bathing in the's an amazing experience. 

However, we didn't have much time - we planned a taxi to take us to see the border-closing ceremony with Pakistan. 

Border-Crossing Ceremony with Pakistan

Tip: As a foreigner, you do NOT need to go at 5pm. The taxi ride is about an hour, and we are able to go in an express line - unfortunately, people with an Indian passport need to wait in quite a long line-up. 

Tip: Bring your passport. I won't get into it here, but it will save you a headache. 

Tip: Bring a hat. Or an umbrella. And sunscreen. It's hot sitting out on those stands waiting for the sun to set. 

Overall, I thought the border-crossing ceremony was highlarious - the soldiers on both sides take turns marching at the gate to see who can kick their leg up the highest. The Indian crowd is huge and noisy, whereas it's a bit less populated on the Pakistan side. 

The entire event is a serious show of nationalism - it's crazy to think that they do it every night! 

Definitely something to check out if you have the time. 

The Golden Temple at Night  

Tip: Go to the Golden Temple at night. For serious.

It's absolutely beautiful - the temple is lit-up and reflects off of the water. 

Also, the stone floor is much less hot, and you sweat a heck of a lot less when you don't have the baking-hot sun beating down on you. 

It's a serene and moving experience - not to be missed!

  • Have YOU been to Amritsar before? Anything I missed? Is it on your "I MUST GO" list now??