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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Whole30 - Week 2

I've just finished Week 2 of Whole30. It's been pretty tough -- I still crave junk food and carbs and sugary food ALL the time. But at the same time I don't mind eating healthy that much anymore. I try to change things up a little occasionally so what I eat doesn't get extremely boring. There's only so many ways you can eat a salad without cheese or dressing (well except olive oil and lime juice).

Excuse the photograph qualities, my iPhone 4S is really starting to fail me...

Some sautéed minced chicken with sweet potato, red peppers, and a side of avocado and salsa (tomatoes, onions, salt, pepper, chives, lime juice).

Sautéing some sweet potato, onions, and red peppers for dinner and for an omelette the next day.

Sautéed vegetables in the making.

I marinated some turkey, cooked it on a skillet, and had it with some spinach salad.

I had some fish sticks (check ingredients to make sure there are no carbs or sugar in the casing!), sweet potato mash (added some almond milk to that for added flavour), and boiled bok choy with some Chinese spicy sauce.

Probably my favourite breakfast I've made in the last 2 weeks. An omelette with spinach, red peppers, and onions.

This was so yummy. I found this paleo recipe online and just had to make it. I grilled some salmon and made a side of guac to go along with it. It was absolutely delicious!

Hope you guys are having a lovely week so far!

Lots of love,

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Whole30 - Week 1

So last week I decided to start The Whole30 cleanse. It's a pretty big thing now and in case you guys haven't heard of it yet, you should go check it out. Basically, it's a way for you to detoxify your body of all unhealthy toxins (they emphasize the fact that this is not a diet although losing weight will probably be one of the side effects). It's supposed to "change your life" in terms of your health, fitness, and cravings. The main rules include no grains (any kind of carb etc.), dairy, sugar, or bean products. You can eat any type of meat, eggs, veggies, fruit, nuts, and avocado (because it's the best!). To be honest, I'm not really following its rules 100% because I don't really believe in some of the things they're advocating for. Relying too heavily on meat and eggs for protein neglects the protein that comes from plants such as soy and bean products. That's why I've been eating tofu and drinking soy milk as usual.

I decided to try it out since although recently I've been eating somewhat healthily, I still feel like I wanted to cleanse myself of all the unhealthy things I've had in the past few months. I know it'll be pretty hard for me because I can't stick to anything and I have a major sweet tooth (you probably don't know this but my favourite food are donuts and they're all I dream about). Plus, it doesn't help that I love all carbs, especially bread.

I just finished the first week of it. It helped that I kept a list of all the things I've been eating every day. I've accidentally (haha) had some sugar when my coworkers offered me some Chinese food but that was the only time I broke a rule I think.

Some groceries that I bought:

In the mornings I just have an egg or two with some fruit and unsweetened soy milk. It does feel like it's not completely filling without a thin bagel or an English muffin or something but the eggs fill you up. Try to have a banana or something because it's pretty solid too.

I love sausage but I usually try to stay away from red meat so when i saw these pesto chicken sausages at Whole Foods I just had to get them. They're super yummy!

If you guys haven't had frozen grapes yet, you're missing out.

For lunch I usually have a salad with either spinach or kale plus some tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, avocado, and some sort of protein like chicken or salmon. Since sugar isn't allowed, I usually use olive oil and lime juice as my dressing topped with some pepper if I'm in the mood. You can't really see the avocado or the protein here but it's super important to have both!

On the weekend I decided to make these pancakes since I usually don't have time during the week. The website says not to imitate any type of junk food craving you may have with other "healthier" ingredients but I've never been a huge pancake person and I just needed some variety in my breakfast options. All I did was mix 2 eggs with 1 banana that I mushed up with a fork (I don't have a blender or nutribullet with me) and poured the mixture on the skillet. Afterwards, I just topped it off with some strawberries.  They actually taste really good for being carb-free and sugar-free so definitely try them at home some time! I got the recipe from blogilates.

Something like this is usually what I have for dinner. It's a tofu, chicken and broccoli stir fry. It's pretty easy to make. Just marinate the chicken in whatever sauces and spices you want, sauté it on the skillet, and then add the veggies!

For dinner on the weekends I try to make something nicer. Here I made some tilapia, which was made on a skillet in a mixture of olive oil, tomatoes, peas, and garlic. Make sure you marinate the fish in something first to make it even more tasty. I might have slightly overcooked it here but that's how I like it. Fish is really high in protein and healthy fats so be sure to at least eat it once or twice a week!

I indulged in some spicy garlic shrimp here with a side of some zucchini and asparagus. Delicious!

Hope you guys found this interesting/helpful if you're looking for new cleanses to try.

Lots of love,

Friday, June 27, 2014

Missing Puerto Rico

So around a month ago I went to Puerto Rico for my summer vacation. Now, because of my tedious work schedule (don't get me wrong -- lab work is very fulfilling!) and the extremely hot weather, I'm feeling nostalgic for the cool, beach-y vibes of the Caribbean.

Coastline (view from on top of Castillo de San Cristobal):

Luquillo Beach was absolutely beautiful...although there were way too many tourists, which was the only downside.

bathing suit: Michael kors
sunglasses: American Eagle

Also, I hadn't had a real coconut in so so long.

Old San Juan is such a quaint part of town. It's a beautiful mix of Western culture and its own Puerto Rican flavour.

tank top: Asos
shorts: Levi's

From on top of the Castillos:

The forts tainted with the shades of sunset were stunning. It reminded me of Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland where I grew up.

And of course, we can't forget the food:

(best fish tacos I've ever tasted).

All in all, I enjoyed my trip so much and I'm having withdrawal from just relaxing and reading a book somewhere I can hear the sound of the ocean.


Friday, June 13, 2014

Governor's Ball

            So this past weekend a couple of friends and I went to the Governor's Ball Music Festival in Randall's Island, an island in New York City. This is my second ever music festival (I went to Firefly last year) and I have to say the experience was really different. But nevertheless, pretty damn awesome.

Since it was held in New York, I correctly assumed that the people would be more pushy and aggressive. The stereotype of New Yorkers is most of the time somewhat accurate. Getting to front row at a stage used to be such an easy task but this time it was almost impossible, even if you got there 8 hours before the artist even came on. There some crazy fans out there.

But other than the fanatics, there were also the calm music goers that attended more for the experience and the atmosphere that the music festival exudes. They brought blankets and sheets of all colours and patterns, laying them out haphazardly on the slightly damp grass. They'd sip on cider and enjoy the music from afar.

I wish I could've been a part of that. Since some of my favourite bands were playing, I couldn't help but try to squeeze and push my way to the front. For some artists, the struggle was worth it. But for others, seeing them up close was not worth being trampled over and having no personal space whatsoever.

The lineup this year included Vampire Weekend (!!), Foster the People, Phoenix, The Strokes, Outkast (since I didn't grow up in the U.S., they were completely foreign to my childhood), Bastille, Disclosure, Empire of the Sun, The Head and the Heart, The Naked and Famous, J. Cole, The 1975, Axwell & Ingrosso, Childish Gambino and much more.

The first day kicked off to an amazing start with Bastille and its quirky but so so cute lead singer Dan Smith. His dance moves were kind of awkward but you loved him anyway not only because of his voice but also because of his adorable charm.

I apologize ahead of time for my lack of quality in my pictures. I only brought my iPhone and since I still have the 4S, the pictures taken were quite poor. Just bear with me here.

Also, gotta love the keyboardist. Yes, he hung the bra someone threw at them on his microphone.

After Bastille, we headed to the main stage to see Phoenix and Outkast. Phoenix is from Versailles, France, which is surprising why they've never released an album in French.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, I got to touch Thomas Mars' butt (lead singer of Phoenix) when he crowd surfed.

Marvel at his sweaty, French complexion. He's also married to Sofia Coppola, one of my favourite directors who made The Virgin Suicides, Marie Antoinette, and The Bling Ring.

For me, Outkast was not particularly outstanding as they're the epitome of old school rap and if you didn't grow up with their music, there's no appreciation of it either. But don't get me wrong, they were still pretty good.

The second day we saw a couple random bands here and there as well as Disclosure, Childish Gambino, and Skrillex.

Cute British brothers alert. AlunaGeorge also made an appearance to sing for "White Noise".

Also, I'd like to mention that apparently MADONNA was watching Disclosure too from the side, literally 20 feet away from us and we didn't see her...biggest regret of the year.

I guess touching Childish Gambino doesn't seem like a big deal anymore...

Chance the Rapper came on and performed with him for a bit.

I have to say, Donald Glover (Gambino) is one of the best performers I've ever seen. He has so much energy and passion on stage that it transcends to everyone in the audience. Plus, his stage effects are pretty cool too:

It was sunset, and we headed to the back of the crowd for Skrillex, who's whole persona and music style still creeps me out a little. I mean, he has all these jumping viral particles and bugs on his screen while performing. But the strobe lights were pretty awesome:

I tried to take a panorama but it kind of failed...

The third day started off pretty well. Since my favourite band Vampire Weekend is headlining and closing off the entire music festival, we decided to stay at one stage the entire day in hopes of being front row for them. My good friend is in love with Foster the People, whom I also adore, and they were scheduled to perform right before Vampire Weekend so it all worked out.

Before Foster though, I got to see The Head and the Heart perform. I only knew a couple songs by them and since I loved those songs (exactly my type of music), I expected to really enjoy them live. And I did. Their harmonizing was so on point and beautiful.

Then, it was time for Foster the People! Wow, Mark Foster.

He gets so into his music and honestly is just a super talented and perfect individual.

Typical Mark Foster being Jesus.

Vampire Weekend was next and I could not contain myself. But when they eventually came on, the crowd went so crazy I couldn't even focus on the music anymore. There was so much shoving -- you were literally pushed up against every single person around you with no space to breathe. It was terrible. But watching Ezra Koenig (lead singer) and Chris Baio (bassist) perform was such an immense enjoyment.

There's Ezra being Ezra. But seriously, as much as I love him, what the heck was he wearing...

Baio dancing on the right -- my guilty pleasure.

We ended up heading to Axwell & Ingrosso for the end of the festival. As we were leaving, we ended up seeing more fireworks from the stage they were performing. Perfect end to a perfect weekend.

Day 1 outfit:

top: h&m
denim shorts: aeropostale
shoes: h&m
sunglasses: h&m
watch: Michael Kors

Day 2 outfit:

halter top: aeropostale 
skirt: asos
  shoes: h&m

Day 3 outfit:

dress: asos 
bag: macy's 
sunglasses: h&m

All in all, it was an absolutely wonderful experience.