Eat Clean – Best Recipes of 2015

CaptureBack in 2013 I posted my favourite recipes from the year! That was a big year for me in the kitchen, as I was super curious and really just getting into my groove with (mostly) dairy-free, gluten-free and vegetarian cooking.

Since then, I have fallen in love with a couple new blogs, Hot for Food and Minimalist Baker.  Of course I’l always be a loyal Oh She Glows fan too. :) #OhCanada

This past year has been rather fast and furious. We got into a good meal planning routine — and then would shift into chaos — and then back into routine. (That’s life I think!). As much as I love spending a couple hours in the kitchen cooking away, this past year the focus has been easy and breezy recipes!

I didn’t try as many recipes this year (compared to previous years), but I did find some good ones! There are so many days we looked forward to the Broccoli & Chickpea Rice Bowl (hello, comfort food!) and the Vegan Nachos were the hit of the year. Eggplant queso is absolutely unreal (and I’m not an eggplant lover either!).

I  did end up participating in two Cookbook Clubs through My Edible Advice and Social Yoga — and they were a blast. We were introduced to new cookbooks (The Vibrant Table and Peace & Parsnips), tried out new recipes, enjoyed delicious meals, and practiced our downward dog too!

So, here’s the roundup! Of all the recipes I tried, these were my favourites. All of them I would make again in a heartbeat:

Lastly, there are a number of FANTASTIC new cookbooks coming out this year. Now I haven’t actually got on my hands on them, so I don’t actually know that they’ll be fantastic, but they will be. Promise. :)

Here they are — in order of release date:

Happy (healthy) eating!

Rdio Export (to Spotify)

Rdio has been my main music machine for the past 3 years. I joined back in January 2012 and they have added so much joy to my life! Music matters, folks!

So if you haven’t heard… Rdio has been acquired (by Pandora) and it’s been shut down (insert super sad face here). (In other music streaming news… Songza will be evolving to Google Play Music in January 2016. :/ They were acquired by Google back in 2014).

So what to do if you’ve been a loyal Rdio fan?

  • Tweet them some love! Gratitude matters! Say thank you via #RdioFarewell!
  • Export your playlists out of Rdio
  • Import your playlists into Spotify

What’s the best (ie. simplest) way to export and import?

  1. Log into your Rdio account
    1. You will find a goodbye note from the Rdio team (http://www.rdio.com/farewell) explaining how to export your favourites, downloads, playlists and comments.
    2. Click “View Export Options”, then “Download Collection.”
    3. Save your Collection in your Dropbox account.
  2. Import your playlists into Spotify using Ivy (http://www.ivyishere.org)
    1. Click “Import your playlist now.”
    2. Browse for your playlist (in .csv format) in your Dropbox account
    3. Select your country and then click “Upload.”
    4. Complete Step 1A by selecting “Track Title” for the 1st column, and “Artist” for the 2nd column, then click “Confirm.”
    5. Ivy will tell you how many tracks they found, then click “Spotify this playlist” (this process will take a few minutes if you have huge playlists).
    6. Click the music note image to copy the playlist to your clipboard.
  3. Open Spotify! 
    1. Create a new playlist.
    2. Copy and paste! Ta da!

Easy peasy, eh?

May your 2016 be filled with new tunes, classics and many night of songs on repeat.

PS – If you’re into music (which I know you are!), check out this “Best of 2015” playlist by one of my favourite people. <3

PPS – If you want to export your Songza playlists (!) to Spotify, then check out this chrome extension and follow the FAQ.

 

Tips & Tricks – Get the Best Travel Deal

11114256_10205635224513378_121849236596427335_oAll the time I get asked:

  1. “How do you travel so much?”
  2. “How do you find such great deals?”

The answer to both is: I care about travel, therefore I make it a priority. BOOM.

I’ve been very lucky to travel to some amazing places over the past 10 years. My highlights have definitely included exploring the Sahara Desert in Tunisia via 4×4, running a half marathon in Sweden and surfing in Costa Rica.

Wondering how I’ve been able to make it work?

FIRST, MAKE TIME OFF A PRIORITY:

As travel is super important to me, I’ve always made sure my employer understands that. (Yes, you can tell your boss that!) Regardless of how many weeks of vacation I have per year, I make a point to scout out how my employer feels about unpaid time. For me, not being able to take unpaid time would be a deal breaker. On average, I take 6 weeks of vacation per year, and no, not all of it is paid.

Quick tip: Pretty much your only time to negotiate additional vacation time is at the time of hire. If it’s important to you, bring it up!

NEXT, FIND THAT FLIGHT DEAL:

A very long time ago, I learned about Chris Myden and his knack for finding the best flight deals on the Internet. He has helped me travel to New York, Costa Rica, Belize and Japan on incredible deals (back in 2012, I blogged about how he’s a genius).

So, Ydeals.com is his gig! If you’re in Canada and love to travel, you have to stay plugged into his feeds. He has separate groups (Blog/FB/Twitter)  for each of the following cities: Abbotsford, Calgary, Charlottetown, Comox, Deer Lake, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Grand Prairie, Halifax, Hamilton, Kamloops, Kelowna, London, Moncton, Montreal, Ottawa, Prince George, Quebec City, Regina, St. John’s, Saskatoon, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria and Winnipeg.

For Vancouver-based folks, you must follow:

A few years back, it felt like the only “deals” were for last-minute trips, but over the past year-ish, I’d say that’s changed quite a lot! Chris highlights travel deals for last-minute flights from time to time, but more often than not, they are 3-6 months out!

SEARCH FOR AN ACCOMMODATION DEAL:  

I book 99.9% of my hotel accommodations through Booking.com. I know what you’re thinking… Booking.com, Priceline, Expedia – it’s all the same shit, just another travel site…

Booking.com actually has a Genius Rewards Program and that program has saved me a ton of $$$ on accommodation costs. Their Genius Program offers an additional 10% off the majority of their accommodations, PLUS tons of freebies and perks (like early check-in, late check-out and free shuttle service).

Here’s why I love Booking.com:

  • Low room rates (and a best price guarantee)
  • Free cancellation (on most rooms, usually up until 48 hours before check-in)
  • Pay later (no $$$ down!)
  • Genius deals (and they have incredibly priced Secret Deals from time to time too!)

Their free cancellation & pay later commitment gives me the flexibility to plan out trips in advance and the freedom to change my mind if life gets in the way. (Seriously, it’s wicked).

I have found that you can score quite the deal on accommodations 6-12 months out. Last summer we stayed at Nita Lake Lodge in Whistler for $145/night during a prime time weekend (Ironman Canada), when most people would have paid $250+/night. We had booked 12 months out.

So hotels aren’t for everyone… we love to stay at cabins, shacks and everything in-between too. When I’m not using Booking.com, I typically use Airbnb (if you get referred to the service, you get $27 off your first booking!).

Airbnb is seriously amazing – but it can be tricky to find exactly what you’re looking for, and it being available. My recommendation is: 1) book in advance (3+ months out), 2) read the reviews (know what you’re getting yourself into!), 3) review the host’s cancellation policy, and 4) when you find “the one,” book it.

LASTLY, ACT FAST: 

So you have the time off, you find a flight deal, and you luck out with the perfect hotel or Airbnb — what’s next? The secret sauce to travelling on the cheap is acting fast.

The #1 mistake I see if people losing out on a deal is not jumping on the opportunity.

When Chris sends out a travel deal, I make a decision on whether I’m going to hop on the deal within a couple of hours. Often the deals are gone within a day.

You don’t have an opportunity to hesitate.

My rule is if you want to go <insert amazing place> and you can afford the trip, then book it.

WONDERING WHERE TO GO?

Dreaming of where you should go on your next trip? Here are a few of my faves:

And… these gems are on my travel bucket list:

May your 2016 be filled with cheap flights, sweet cabins and soul recovery.

Happy travelling!

(And no, no one told me to write this post, or paid me, etc etc. I just wrote it, all on my own, for YOU.)

Talent Lab – Candidate Experience Matters

Last month I went to a “Talent Lab” event (my first HR/recruiting event in an eternity) and was beyond impressed by the commentary and the crowd. The group was honest, refreshing and most of all, REAL.

Last week, the founders of Talent Lab, Tess Sloane and Alisha Adams asked me to write a post (#flattered!) and today it’s live!

Give it a read: Candidate Experience Matters

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Finding your Dream Apartment

At some point this fall we decided that we weScreenshot 2014-12-13 15.49.11re ready to {and were excited to!} move in together. Yay! We both didn’t want to move during the holiday season, so we decided on February 1st.

What we didn’t realize at the time, was that if we wanted to move in February, we likely had to find a place in December. If you didn’t already know… December is THE holiday season. ;) It’s a tremendously hard time of year to accomplish pretty much anything. It’s also a hard time of year to find an apartment and/or rent an apartment…

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Next Stop: Pacific Northwest

MountainsI’m currently sitting on my floor staring at 2 bags. The first bag for a weekend away in Whistler, the second for a 14 day roadtrip through the Pacific Northwest. Washington, Oregon & California… we’re coming for you! Packing. It’s a pain in the ass. It’s tough to find that balance between not packing enough and overpacking. The last time we went camping, I ended up with just a little bit extra. I had a few layers that I didn’t need and realized that I was totally ok with just wearing a few of my wool pieces over and over again. :)

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Flu-Fightin’ Vegetable Soup

A few days ago I was hit smack in the face with the flu. Yes, that can’t sleep, don’t want to eat, reach for the Kleenex box kind of flu. Before you knew it, I was down and out aka in the fetal position thinking life was over. Once I moved past that stage {thankfully, eh!}, I was keen to kill this flu and move forward with my life.

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