Friday, February 12, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day!


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Ontario Parks Yurts.

Have you ever been winter camping? Winter isn't really my thing, but I'm working on *embracing* the season (at least until I can afford to relocate to balmier climes more permanently).

To this end, Dane and I are heading into the woods over New Year's Eve to do some yurting! Thus far, we've had a snow-free December, which may put a wrench in our plans for snowshoeing and skating. However, the provincial park that we're heading to has a shoreline hike that will do in a pinch.

For the uninitiated, yurts are Central Asian traditional dwellings. The collapsible structures, covered with wool and furs, are movable, making them ideal for nomadic communities (thanks, National Geographic). Ontario Parks has adapted this idea by creating easily-constructed year-round accommodations for campers in need of a roof over their heads (and heating in the winter).

Most Ontario Parks yurts sleep up to six people on futons and bunk beds. The yurts also contain a table and chairs, lighting, and electric heat. Outside, there is a firepit, kitchen shelter, picnic tables, and propane barbeque (no cooking inside the yurt is allowed).

There are a limited amount of yurts available, and winter bookings go super fast. You can book up to 5 months in advance, so mark your calendars. When I booked in August, there were only two yurts in all of Ontario left for New Year's Eve!

I'm packing my base layers, Uggs-turned-slippers, and my Kobo loaded up with a new read. If the weather is really cold, I'll volunteer to guard the yurt...

How will you celebrate New Year's?

(Images via Whisk and Whittle and Ontario Parks 1 and 2)

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you are surrounded by your nearest and dearest today, whether you're celebrating this particular holiday or not.

We're in the middle of a family visit streak, so it's about that time to bust out the bubbly. In honour of the laughs (and drinks) to be shared this season, here's one of my old favourites: Drunk History Christmas.


(Image via @willitbeard on Instagram)

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Merry Merry.

It's Christmas Eve! Dane and I are visiting family, so we'll have our own belated Christmas Eve tomorrow...

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Healthiest Fast Food.

I used to eat a ton of fast food. Big Macs were my boyfriend (and it didn't help that I live within easy walking distance of a McDonald's). I wasn't the kind of person who ate fast food and then felt sluggish or bad about it. I felt awesome.

However, after I turned 30, my body really put the kibosh on my fast food fixes. Heartburn, bloating, and general feeling-like-crap ensued, so I've really had to minimize my dalliances with deep-fried deliciousness. If I go for a meal, I have to really want it (and be prepared to deal with the consequences.).

Thanks to Dane and his healthy food habits, I've upped my fast food game from greasy burgers to spicy chicken tacos from Holy Guacamole - so delicious and satisfying and not poison.

Real talk: I will splurge on some McDonald's fries or an A&W Buddy Burger with cheese, if I'm really jonesing for some grease, but I've cut way back.

Are you a fast food lover? If yes, check out this round-up of the healthy(ier) fast food choices you can make when you need a meal on-the-go.

Happy eating!

P.S. In case you work better with scare tactics, here are 20 reasons you should quit (or cut back) on your fast food love affair.

(Image via Poorly Drawn Lines)

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Conscious Christmas.

As I've mentioned in the past, Christmas shopping makes me a bit nuts, so I shop early, I shop quickly, and - where possible - I shop online. The downside of this, however, is that I struggle for over a month to keep the gifts a secret... 

Lately, I've read several articles about strategies for celebrating Christmas in a more conscious way - everything from eco-friendly decorations to less wasteful gift-giving. Personally, I find it difficult to follow all of the the conscious living rules all of the time. However, here are a few pieces that got me thinking - maybe something will ring true for you:

I am very guilty of buying and hoarding wrapping paper, but I will try to keep these wrapping paper alternatives in mind. This year, I'm trying my hand at making gift bags out of vintage fabric and re-purposed curtains, sweaters, etc. I'll let you know how that goes.

I love the idea of giving and receiving useful and usable gifts - fits into my (often unsuccessful) attempts to live with less. You can also try to think about where you get your gifts from (e.g., independent retailers and fair-trade shops) and what they're made of (e.g., bamboo versus polyester pajamas, fair-trade chocolate versus the alternative, cruelty-free products, etc.)

I get it: this is obviously adorable. But be careful when adopting pets for Christmas gifts. If the receiver is not fully prepared to commit to caring for an animal, the poor little critter could end right back up at the shelter shortly after the holiday season.

While we're on the topic of animals, here's some food for thought around alternatives to animal gifting programs (take with a grain of salt, considering that the writer is promoting her own organization in this piece. But still worth a gander!)

I know a lot of individuals and businesses support food banks over the holiday season. Instead of unearthing your ancient can of garbanzo beans (are those just chickpeas or what?), think about contributing these items that foodbanks would like, but don't ask for.

These Christmas tree alternatives for small spaces have the added benefit of saving a live tree. Although, this is another area where I fail - I love a real tree. We chop our tree down at a tree farm, so it's more sustainable than going wild in the woods. Some cities also have a separate tree pick-up so that retired trees are chipped and reused as mulch instead of being thrown in a landfill. If you're feeling really ambitious/drunk, just go ahead and construct your tree out of recycled bottles...

To continue the Christmas tree theme, try re-using decorations or making homemade ones. My mum still puts up the mushed and mangled Plasticine nativity scene that I made as a kid - that's dedication.

21 shopping days left!

P.S. 30 more tips from a great green living resource (they emphasize "baby steps" - sustainable, realistic changes that we can all implement)

(Image via)

Monday, October 05, 2015

Giller Longlist 2015.

One of the many things I love about Fall is that it's Giller season - the perfect time to refresh my reading pile with great Canadian fiction.

I rarely get all the way through the longlist, but I try to tackle as much of the shortlist as I can in the month between the shortlist announcement and the Giller gala...