21 days of self-love

The 2nd of September, three weeks ago, feels like a long time and that trepidation, how are we going to manage 21 days of detoxing, a distant memory. Well first of all, when you have someone in it with you for the long run, like Ahmed, half the battle is already won.

The funniest moment had to be when I thought that I had eaten ice cream mindlessly and was so distressed about telling him and was so annoyed that all my hard work had gone down the drain. I was relieved to discover, that it was just a dream.

Coming off the Clean Program today, I feel like I accomplished something. I didn’t lose a dress size or anything (that DEFINITELY was NOT the goal) and yet, somehow this is even better, feeling healthy gives you a buzz like no other. I have a hold of myself.

I thought that the second we came off it, I would reach for my favourite food cravings, pizza (yum), a cupcake (yummy) or fries (the yummiest), but no. What I was looking forward to most was having breakfast, an omelette and gluten-free oats for breakfast and the prospect of adding tomatoes to my lentils tonight.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not about to turn away cupcakes or pizza for the rest of my life, if anything it’s the exact opposite, I am looking forward a lovely chocolate one this weekend at my friends birthday! Just that something must have happened in these past three weeks, rather than craving the stuff I love, I now hope to simply enjoy it as a treat every now and again.

Overall the experience was really fulfilling, in terms of food and emotions. Having an awareness and hold of my true hunger, is really empowering and I hope to keep building on it.

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Springing to restore

It’s been a quiet few weeks on the blog, but a busy few weeks for me, with lots of internal healing going on, as I finally addressed an injury to the spine. I have discovered that while the season of spring is one for blooming, it often comes from much needed restoration. For me personally it came from deep meditational stretches at The Yoga Sanctuary and lovely walks to Bloor and Church in Toronto’s shying warmth, to strengthen oneself at the hands of Rosedale Wellness Centre. More to come on this later.

As summer hangs in the midst, one often looks for light fresh dinners that promise as much hearty satisfaction as those warming winter meals. Inspired by the vegetable and fruit on show during yesterday’s walk through Little Italy following an Iranian brunch at Takht-e Tavoos (I dare you to try the their Guisavah: two sunny side up eggs topped with buttery dates and walnuts) we have decided to do a thirty day salad challenge for dinner. Though you might think that means pitiful suppers, if there is one thing I have come enjoy over the years, it is a decadent summer salad.

To inspire your own endeavour, I leave you with the first salad. This one is no less impressive than coming home to an ocean pie from the cold. After a day outside in the timid sun, a nest of bean sprouts, snow peas and spinach housing a sweet fragrant salmon fishcake, dressed with a creamy, spicy sesame dressing goes down well. All the indulgence without a compromise on summery health resolutions.

Will serve two sufficiently.

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For the cakes:

200g of cooked wild salmon, flaked
1 medium sized sweet potato, cooked and mashed
2 spring onions, chopped
1 bunch coriander, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2″ piece of garlic, grated
Juice and zest of a lemon
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Quarter cup of coconut milk
1 egg beaten
2 tbsp Sunflower oil

Pre-heat oven to 300F and line a baking sheet with baking paper.

Add all the ingredients to a bowl and mix well. Form into cakes with hands, you should be able to make about ten. Cook two per serving and keep the rest in a freezer for another time!

Heat sunflower oil in a frying pan.

Cook the cakes, about two to three minutes on each side. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes.

For the salad:

Cup of bean sprouts
Cup of snow peas
Handful of spinach
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sesame seeds

Arrange the spinach on a plate.

Toss the bean sprouts and snow peas in a wok with a tsp of olive oil and sesame seeds for for five minutes and topple onto spinach.

For the dressing:

2 inch piece of ginger
1 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp water
Quarter lemon peeled

Blend all the ingredients together in a chopper.

Arrange fish cakes on plate and finish with dressing. Serve with a wedge of lemon.

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The Oscar glow

I will never be too cool to shun the Oscars like some of my film buddies, not only are the Academy Awards are a celebration of film, it is also a night that celebrates the glorious faces of those movies.

A bit of a twist then on the old ‘Oscar predictions post,’ Confessions of a Quirky Princess touts its’ favourites to win and looks into getting that Oscar glow.

ACTRESS in a leading role: Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine

There is a scene in Blue Jasmine where Cate Blanchett doesn’t wear any make-up, in an interview with Glamour, Blanchett said she felt comfortable with that decision because her skin is ‘resilient and pretty even in tone.’ No kidding, she is always glowing.

As the global ambassador for SK-II, you can bet your hobbits that Blanchett has been using SK-II Facial Treatment Mask and SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, as well as covering up with DayLong sunscreen throughout Oscar buzz.

For her lovely locks, Blanchett sticks to Moroccan Oil shampoo and conditioner. In an interview with Harper’s BAZAAR, the Australian beauty confesses to resenting diet and exercise, that she does try to keep in shape and though she has no real diet plan, drinks hot water and lemon in the morning and tries to avoid wheat, but loves bread as much as the next person.

As for the red carpet in Blanchett’s own words:

“If you’re going to the Oscars, by the time you’ve waited in that traffic jam and actually got out of the car it’s been ages and your make-up can slip. I always wear waterproof mascara so it doesn’t run and I try to avoid fiddling with my face. I’ll take the lipstick with me to reapply: the Tom Ford range is the best.”

– [Natalie Evans Harding] [In Conversation with Cate Blanchett] [Harper’s BAZAAR]

ACTRESS in a supporting role: Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years A Slave

Breakout actress Lupita Nyong’o, is the envy of her peers from Yale having a bagged a nomination fresh off her graduation. To Vanity Fair, she confessed her only “way of unwinding from Patsey… was the occasional massage, meditation, listening to music and eating good food.”

Miu Miu have snapped up Nyong’o for a fashion campaign and that is no surprise, everyone is falling in love with this Oscar nominee’s beauty, flair and style. In an interview with Glamour, Nyong’o says she believes that “if a girl wants to wear makeup to boost confidence, why not? [But] I’ve worked hard to feel beautiful in my natural skin. Personally, I don’t ever want to depend on makeup to feel beautiful.”

When it comes to beauty, she is fresh and inspiring. For her face she turns to avocado oil and Hawaiian kukui oil and circulation socks on planes (for practical reasons, she doesn’t enjoy trying to shove swollen feet into heels) that might have something to do with her new film, Non-Stop.

As for the red carpet in N’yong’o’s own words:

“I love color. I’m enjoying trying all different shades. Makeup isn’t something I’ve worn a lot of in my life. So it’s good to work with someone like [makeup artist] Nick Barose, who is inspired by my complexion and knows how to work with it.”

– [Bee Shapiro] [Lupita Nyong’o Shares Beauty Secrets and Shows Off Spring’s It Lip Colors] [Glamour]

ACTOR in a leading role: Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club

Favourite to win, it took a lot more than Matthew McConaughey’s excessive weightloss for the role of Ron Woodroof to get him this Oscar nomination. It’s hard not to notice McConaughey on screen or off, Camilla Alves McConaughey once said that her other half had more beauty products than her, so you can be sure the face of Dolce&Gabbana’s Street of Dreams campaign will be rocking the red carpet with or without his infamous abs (word on the street is that Tracy Anderson has something to do with those).

For the New York premiere of The Wolf of Wall Street, McConaughey was seen sporting a hairstyle from the Patrick Melville Salon. The hairdresser used Rough Rubber by Schwarzkopf Osis+, “a defining paste used for texture and separation”. The Globes was a velvet jacket so it’s anyone’s guess what to expect at the Oscars.

As for the red carpet in McConaughey’s own words:

“For the next two months, I’m playing the character of Matthew McConaughey, an actor proud of the films he’s been in, and if any of those films or performances are in awards shows, [I’m] going to go, heart high and head up, and look them all in the eye and say, ‘Damn right this is a great time in my career.’ That’s the role I’m in now. I’ve got a lot to be thankful for.”

– [Jenelle Riley] [Cover story: Actor segues next to Christopher Nolan’s ‘Interstellar’] [Variety]

ACTOR in a supporting role: Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club

Jared Leto has been missing in action these last few years, everyone loves a comeback and who doesn’t love the fiesty and fliratious Rayon? As well as returning to our screens, Leto has been gracing the red carpet with some serious style and glossy hair, his hair evolution is getting a lot of attention in particular his “Man Bun.”

According to Hollywood Reporter, at the Globes, Leto achieved his look with the help of Chase Kusero. “Kusero boiled salt water, bottled it and let it sit for a day and a half before spraying it on Leto’s hair for hold and texture.” Then the hairdresser got busy with some Oribe Shine Spray on the his locks.

As for the red carpet in Leto’s own words:

“Award shows last for hours and hours sometimes, actors and directors do red carpet in the afternoon and you end up leaving late in the evening. I like to eat really healthy, so I bring little snacks.”

[Associated Press] [Oscar nominee Jared Leto shares key tip for surviving the awards shows: Bring your own snacks] [The Vancouver Sun]

Animated Feature Film: Frozen

Kristen Bell plays the part of gutsy Anna in the Disney film that has taken the box office by storm. In past years Bell has wowed everyone with a beautiful baby glow and bump at the Globes. More recently she hosted the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ Scientific and Technical Awards and looked stunning in a Reem Acra Spring/Summer 2014 one shoulder silk gown.

Peek inside her make-up bag and you’ll find things like La Mer The Oil Absorbing Lotion and Kérastase Resistance Conditioner.

Directing: Alfonso Cuarón – Gravity

There wasn’t an element to Gravity that suggested it didn’t have a great leader in the form of an incredible director, it has to be Alfonso Cuarón’s year. Experiencing Ryan Stone’s journey in space was hair-raising and haunting, actress Sandra Bullock has been nominated for an Oscar in her amazing role as Stone, while it might not be Bullock’s year, one can’t ignore how beautiful she looked while lost in space.

Bullock puts her gravity-defying beauty down to an Artistry cream, face cloth, SPF and La Prairie Anti-Aging Emulsion (oh and a lot of pilates and kickboxing).

Writing: Adapted Screenplay – Philomena

It may not win, but it should. Steeve Coogan and Jeff Pope’s adaptation of this heartbreaking story is really good. In Philomena, Judi Dench says naughty words with an Irish accent, eats Tunes and challenges stuffy London journalist Martin Sixsmith as they search for her long lost son. Dench is also nominated for an Oscar in her role as Philomena and one can’t ignore her timeless beauty on the red carpet and how gracefully she has aged. What you can look forward to most is how she will wear her hair!

Writing: Original Screenplay – Her

In Her, Spike Jonze cuts straight to the places within your heart that have loved and lost with soon to be divorced Theodore played by Oscar nominee Joaquin Phonenix and embodies all the optimism of a new love through the omnipresent voice of artificial intelligence Samantha, played by Scarlett Johansson. When hitting up the red carpet Johansson likes to look to the golden age of Hollywood, which is why it is always exciting to her on an award night. She keeps her sensitive skin dewy and in check with Cetaphil face wash and a Clarins moisturiser and puckers up with Dolce&Gabbana Gloss Fusion Lipstick.

Best Picture: 12 Years A Slave

Who does the Oscar go to? Roll on March 2nd!

The Greenhouse Effect

Just off Yonge Street, at 5 Macpherson Avenue, dusted with Toronto’s winter snow, somewhere between pleasure and wellness, is an adorable cottage like building brimming with raw, 100% certified organic elixirs, that will bring your taste buds back to life.

(Courtesy: Greenhouse Juice Co.)

(Courtesy: Greenhouse Juice Co.)

At Greenhouse Juice Co. you aren’t just walking into any juice shop. There are friendly faces waiting to welcome you, excited to tell you about some truly incredible products and willing to give you as much knowledge as possible, so with every sip of juice you take, you truly appreciate what goes into the depth of the flavor you experience.

I found Greenhouse when a friend posted their Almond Milk on Instagram, and described it with the words ‘liquid gold.’ Having finally tasted it myself, I still can’t get over how delicious it is.

Greenhouse opened their doors in January. Its’ inception was last spring, when the seven founding partners, most of whom have grown up in Toronto and known each other since childhood wanted to bring cold-pressed goodness to their hometown.

Cold-pressing; unlike blending, is the best way of ensuring one gets the purist nutrient dense nectar out of any fruit or vegetable without compromising minerals and enzymes. Blending fruits and vegetables exposes them to heat, light and oxygen, three things that start to break down nutrients. It doesn’t happen immediately, so while blending at home is fine as juices are consumed quite instantly, shops selling blended products that have been sitting on the shelves might be giving you a lesser juice.

So,  Greenhouse’s nutrient rich juice, which will stay live for 72 hours, is coaxed by their cold-pressing experts with the help of three hydraulic presses and once extracted is stored in glass bottles, better for the environment and the precious liquid, as even the safest of chemicals in plastic bottles may leak toxins.

Greenhouse juices and nut milks are not compromised with pasteurization (an artificial way to extend shelf life) or high pressure processing (HPP – a method of retaining food’s natural quality and freshness whilst enhancing its microbiological shelf life). Although HPP is considered less destructive than pasteurization, Greenhouse opts out of this method as it still tampers with the natural life of the juice.

Alkaline water plays an important role in their waters and milks, made possible through an in-house alkalizing system, something that not every juice shop can offer. All of their juicing (and even their art work) is done in-house and if something isn’t available organically, they take it off the menu all together.

(Courtesy Greenhouse Juice Co.)

(Courtesy Greenhouse Juice Co.)

There are some alluring names, ‘East of Eden’ (Romaine, Kale, Celery, Apple & Lemon) – is inspired by the apples of paradise, another fun name is, ‘Rabbit, Run’ (Carrot, Apple & Ginger), which are but an echo of the creative process and collaborative effort that goes into each juice and milk. There are some really yummy surprises on the menu – one of my favourites, ‘Pink Milk’ is made with almond milk, cold-pressed beets and maple syrup. If you are feeling more adventurous, try their ginger booster, not for the faint-hearted, it adds a real kick to any juice or can be taken as a shot and leaves a lovely warm trail in its wake. Their cold-pressed apple juice is divine and the organic liquid cayenne used in one of their drinks, makes for some compelling ‘Clean-Zing’ (Alkaline Water, Lemon, Maple Syrup & Liquid Cayenne).

With each bottle of goodness that Greenhouse makes, they hope to convey that being healthy doesn’t have to be an all or nothing choice. Rather it is about integrating healthy choices into one’s lifestyle and balancing pleasure with wellness. A message that really shines through, because one thing they certainly don’t compromise on is taste, each delicious recipe on their menu is a testimony to that.

As I walked away with my bag of authentic goodies, I knew I didn’t have a gimmick from yet another company trying to cash in on juice. The Greenhouse Juice Co. team is a group of dedicated individuals; that came together to give others a chance to experience what they enjoy most; pleasure and wellness that tastes and feels amazing.