Raw Tuscan Kale & Quinoa Salad

On weekends, I like to prepare my food for the rest of the week otherwise I feel SUPER SHAMBLES. Weekday mornings are made are less frantic when there are healthy pre-portioned meals and snacks in my fridge that can be tossed into my bag before running out the door. This shredded raw kale salad only calls for a handful ingredients that you already have in your pantry and incorporates 2 of everyones favourite buzzwords foods: KALE AND QUINOA.

Raw Tuscan Kale & Quinoa Salad

Raw Tuscan Kale & Quinoa Salad (3-4 servings):
– 10 to 12 stalks of tuscan kale
– 1 1/2 C quinoa (uncooked)
– 3 C water or chicken stock
– 1/2 of a small red onion, thinly sliced
– a few pinches of salt to season
– 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
– A little less than 1/8 C balsamic vinegar
– 1/4 C olive oil
– 1/4 C shredded parmesan or pecorino (feta is also really good in this salad)

Instructions:
Cook your quinoa (I cook mine in a rice cooker 1:2 ratio of quinoa to water). Set aside.
Chiffonade/shred/fine chop the kale leaves and place in a large bowl. Add onion, salt, red pepper flakes, vinegar, and oil. Massage the kale with your hands, massage it real good! Doing this will make the kale sweeter, tender, and incorporates all of the flavours from the dressing & red pepper flakes. Once you’re done massaging your kale, add your cooked quinoa. Mix. Add the cheese. Mix. And you’re pretty much done!

For added nutrients, I usually add a sprinkle of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, and crumble up some leftover baked salmon into it. It’s also really good with a poached egg (erhmahgerd dat oozy yolk, you guys), shredded chicken, canned tuna, or whatever protein you have in your fridge. It’s one of those “kitchen sink” salads where you can add whatever that’s in your pantry or fridge, and you’re sorted. Sometimes I add panko for a crunchy texture, or craisins (or blueberries if they’re in season) for added sweetness. Seriously really easy to adapt.

Anyways. Improve your life with dark leafy greens, meal prep some wholesome clean food, sweat at least once a day, drink as much water as possible… then watch your energy and concentration skillz soar.

XO, MC

Winter Skincare Must-Haves: Night Time

Surely you’ve heard about the famous (or infamous) Korean-derived-almost-OCD-like skincare regimen. While the deeply revered 10-step routine can be a little excessive (but comprehensive) for some, because “aintnobodygottimeforthat!!”, it’s worth nothing that Koreans subscribe to a philosophy where skin must be handled with the utmost care. Whether your routine consists of 5 steps or 15, what you put in is what you get out. BECAUSE SCIENCE. TRUST. My tips/products below might not work for you, because we’re all unique snowflakes and all of our needs are different, but winter is high time for hydration and BAD THINGS HAPPEN WHEN YOUR SKIN IS DRY. Don’t let it happen to you. WINTER SKINCARE: NIGHT TIME 1. MAKEUP REMOVER: Before using your cleanser, you need to remove your makeup. Because if you don’t, it’s like showering with your clothes on… it’s still there. Cleansing oils are gentle and perfect for dry, dehydrated skin. Right now I’m using Garnier Clean+Nourishing Cleansing Oil. I’m not crazy about the scent so it’s not my favourite (SHOUT OUT TO THESE ALL-STARS, THOUGH: MAC Cleanse Off Oil, Boscia Make-up Breakup Cool Cleansing Oil), but for a drugstore price that does the same job as Boscia and MAC I guess it’ll suffice.

2. CLEANSER: Thorough cleansing is key to minimizing the possibility of breakouts! My all-time favourite is Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple Cleanser. It’s ultra-gentle, removes whatever residue is left from your cleansing oil, and your face feels SQUEAKY CLEAN but not tight. I also use the Foreo Luna with this cleanser and I like it a lot more than the Clarisonic. I KNOW, I KNOW, everyone and their grandmothers are all about their Clarisonics, but hear me out: yes, the initial cost is more than a Clarisonic but you need to replace your Clarisonic brush head every 3-4 months depending on how often you use it, otherwise the bacteria and gunk in the bristles will render your Clarisonic useless (the Foreo Luna doesn’t need brush replacement). But listen, I did the math for you and over time you’ll end up spending more money on a Clarisonic. TRADE UP FOR A FOREO LUNA AND NEVER LOOK BACK, YOU GUYS.

3. THE TONER: I alternate between Mario Badescu’s Glycolic Acid Toner and the Special Cleansing Lotion “C”. The former is a GAME-CHANGER. Contrary to popular belief, problematic skin isn’t only reserved for those afflicted with the throes of puberty… I THOUGHT I WAS DONE WITH THAT SH&T. But alas, I’ve had so much trouble with my skin over the past few years; regular use of MB’s GAT helped clear my skin and remove all of the hyper-pigmentation from past breakouts. Further, Special Cleansing Lotion “C” has significantly improved the oiliness in my t-zone, and I like using it when I feel like my pores need a deep clean. Mario Badescu makes really good sh&t. Trust.

4. THE TREATMENTS: (Whatever your treatments are, the rule of thumb is to layer from thinnest to thickest in consistency). I’m a long time fan of Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate. Put it on before you go to sleep and then you WAKE UP IN THE MORNING FEELING LIKE P.DIDDY!! Kidding. I digress, this makes your skin noticeably radiant, rested, hydrated, and smooth the next morning. It’s the MVP of my night time skincare regime and I give you permission to ignore all of the products I suggest in this post EXCEPT for this one. You need it in your life. It’s insane. Like, witchcraft insane. You can thank me later. Additionally, I recently started using Ole Henriksen’s Invigorating Night Treatment Gel; it’s super lightweight and encourages cell turnover, which improves skin texture and “brightness” i.e., your skin won’t be dull from BEING SO DRY ALL THE TIME, THANKS WINTER.

MASKS & SCRUBS & SPOT-TREATMENTS (when needed):
Skin Food Black Sugar Wash Off Mask – I use this once a week as an exfoliator. Exfoliating goes a long way because sloughs off dead skin cells (preventing clogged pores), which is important for skin turnover. If your skin looks dull, try exfoliating once a week but avoid micro-beads. Those are nay good for your face.
Sheet Masks – These are excellent for when you’re turning down for the evening. Look for masks with hyaluronic acid, and you’re sorted. They can really pick up the slack when you’re trying to save money on serums or if you need a little extra radiance (e.g. I like to mask on extremely cold days or if I went drinking the night before)
Mario Badescu Drying Lotion – Super potent spot treatment when you’ve got a massive zit on your face. 

5. THE EYE CREAM: I’m not super picky about what I need my eye cream to do; all I ask is that it’s lightweight, moisturizing, has no scent, and absorbs quickly. Currently, I’m using Sibu Sea Buckthorn age defying eye cream. I don’t have any lines that need to be eliminated (#foreveryoung, y’all) so I can’t speak to any of its “age defying” properties.

6. THE MOISTURIZER & NIGHT CREAM: After applying all of the above, you need one more layer to LOCK IN all of the hydration and treatments that you just applied onto your skin. I’m a huge fan of the Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream but during my recent trip to Korea, I discovered the Laneige Water Sleeping Pack. Sleeping Pack’s are essential to Korean skincare regimes, yet they haven’t caught on in North America. At all. Except that sleeping packs are like the grand finale to achieving smooth, glowy skin in the morning. Both products are super lightweight and absorb quickly (so don’t worry about having all this stuff rub off on your pillow) but will keep your face hydrated all night long. This seems like a lengthy process, but it really only takes 4-5 minutes (yes I timed it for the purposes of this post). A solid skincare regime is only half the battle as diet and hormones have a lot to do with how your skin looks. However, prevention and nurturing early on will help you reap the #flawless rewards when you’re 40.

XO, MC

Oz Adventures: Fraser Island

Another super delayed Australia post, but better late than never? It seemed pretty questionable if I’d ever get around to writing moar about my Oz trip.

Before I begin, I must say that planning the logistics for this trip were a little puzzling. We had a general idea of where we wanted to go but the internet wouldn’t tell us the best ways to get there, specifically Fraser Island. I believe the two popular towns to stay in (if you’re going to Fraser Island) are Noosa and Rainbow Beach. We looked at hostels in both towns, and Rainbow Beach hostels were a little dodgy (bed bugs) so we decided on Noosa, which is the cutest little beach town! It was raining the entire time we were there and apparently it hadn’t rained in 3 months, but I imagine that it would be AMAZING sans rain. I also found a little fruit stand next to the bus depot:

MAREEBA GOLD

The only thing I regret about Australia is not eating enough pineapple. Might I add that Mareeba Gold pineapple (above) is low in acidity, READ: you can eat an entire Mareeba Gold pineapple without the inside of your mouth feeling raw. WIN. 2 for $5 pineapple? DON’T MIND IF I DO.

PINEAPPLES

Fraser Island was stunning. Majestic rain forests, fresh water lakes, and clear sandy beaches for dayz! It’s an island that’s composed entirely of sand, which makes it a reallyreallyreally cool nature thing; it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, very serious about how cool it is. My favourite part was being able to sit at the front of the vehicle with our guide and pick his brain, even though I couldn’t understand much of what he was saying because Aussie accents, amirite???? But a front row seat was absolutely necessary for marveling at this beauty of an island.

Maheno Shipwrek{ The Maheno Shipwreck }

Wanggoolba Creek{ Wanggoolba Creek }

it's proper pissin' down now{ “It’s proper pissin’ down now!” }

seventy-five mile beach{ Seventy-Five Mile Beach }

lake mckenzie{ Lake McKenzie }

It rained at the end of our tour, but it RARELY rains on this island so I like to think that we got to see a rare glimpse of rainy Fraser Island, and that’s pretty special.

XO, MC

On 2015.

2015

Isn’t it weird how day by day, nothing changes but looking back everything is different? 2015, I’m super excited to welcome you with an open mind and an open heart. MOAR ADVENTURES, PLEASE.

While you’re all making and breaking and keeping your resolutions, remember (I read this somewhere): “to consider the unexpected. Never be so faithful to your plan that you are unwilling to entertain the improbable opportunity that comes looking for you. And never be so faithful to your plan that when you hit a bump in the road – or when the bump hits you – you don’t have the fortitude, grace, and resiliency to rethink and regroup… plans or no plans, keep a little space in your heart for the improbable. You won’t regret it.” With that, I will leave you with words from one of my really good friends: let the goal crushing begin, but first let me have another piece of cake.

XO, MC

PS – I resolve to blog more in 2015.

Simple pleasures: The blank pages of a new day planner

Yes, it’s almost 2015 and I’m the weirdo that enjoys the tactile experience of writing sh&t down.

When I have to transfer birthdays and anniversaries into a new planner at the end of the year, I enjoy seeing the recorded memories of ideas, concerts, half marathon training schedules, lists, parties, dates, recipes, songs to listen to, movies to watch, hikes, events, travel itineraries, and more.

The blank pages of a new day planner hold so much possibility and I can’t wait to scribble down the cool sh&t that awaits me in 2015.Moleskine Day Planner

XO, MC

Black Friday Haul

HELLO! I’m here! I’m alive! Some things:

1. I’m back from Seoul, pictures coming soon!

2. Winter is… coming here

3. Black Friday Sephora Haul…. oops.

Sephora Haul

Philosophy Purity Made Simple Cleanser – After using a cleansing oil (currently using Boscia Makeup-Breakup Cool Cleansing Oil, it’s REALLY good), Purity gently cleanses and leaves your face feeling squeaky clean.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream & Face Cleanser – Heard great reviews about this brand and was interested in trying it out!

Formula X “Chaotic” & “Hypnotize” – This nail polish seems to get nothing but rave reviews, obviously needed to see what the hype was about. For science!

NEST Fragrances roller ball trio in “Indigo”, “Dahlia & Vines”, and “Midnight Fleur” – I own Indigo & Midnight Fleur, they’re 2 of my current favourite fragrances and now I have them in a travel-size roller ball so that I can touch up during the day. What if you’ve got dinner and/or drinks after work? Freshening up your scent is a nice little pick me up after an exhausting day. Makes you feel a little bit more “put together” when you actually feel tired and shambles.

That’s all. Later gators. As mentioned above, Seoul pictures coming soon + maybe the rest of my Australia pictures, right?

XO, MC

Zaru Soba

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetRewind to a couple of weeks ago when it was still summer and amazing and I was living off of these cold soba noodles because the nights were warm and who wants to be hovering over a stove in that kind of heat? Not me. During the summer, cold soba noodles (commonly called “zaru soba”) are a “thing” in Japan! This dish is healthy, light, and easy to make. Here’s my take on it:

Cold Soba Noodles (Serves 1):
– Soba noodles, however much you plan to eat. Usually they’re in bundles and I use 1/2 to 3/4ths of a bundle.
– 2 to 3 tbsp of soy or tamari sauce, depends how salty you want it to be
– 1-2 tsp rice wine vinegar
– 1 tsp agave nectar or honey
– 1-2 tsp sesame oil
– 1 green onion, I used chives because that’s what was in my fridge
– 1/4th of a carrot, cut into matchsticks
– 1/4 C edamame beans, OR whatever protein you want to eat
– toasted sesame seeds to sprinkle on top

Instructions:
Bring a pot of water to boil with some salt. Cook the soba noodles for ~6 minutes or until they’re tender but not mushy. Once they’re cooked, dump them into a bowl of ice water OR run them under cold water until they’re no longer warm.

In a larger bowl, mix the soy sauce, vinegar, agave nectar, and sesame oil. Add the drained noodles and mix. Add your carrots, onion, and protein, mix. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, mix.

Leave the dish in the fridge for 20-30 mins to let the flavours deepen (or eat it right away, whatever. If you’re hungry, you’re hungry).

See you next year, summer :(

XO, MC