5 great snacks under 100 calories

Let's face it, dieting can be hard. While I'm not a big fan of "diets" per se, I do think changing some lifestyle habits to encourage healthy eating and portion control can be a good way to gain more energy, health and a trim waistline.  One thing I try to do is limit my snacking.  It can be hard, especially at work, to not indulge in carby, sugary, deliciousness.  Hell, you should even give in once in awhile - after all, you only life once!

Snacking itself isn't a bad thing, in proportion, and snacking done right can be even be good to help up your nutrient intake, while holding off those hunger pangs between meals.  I'm no food expert, but here are some go-to's that I always do to stave off starvation mode and keep me away from the muffin counter:

  1. Water: believe it, or not, but sometimes ingesting a big ol' cup of H2O is enough to keep you from snacking as sometimes hunger = dehydration, not starvation
  2. Triscuit crackers: crunchy, wheaty, wholesome goodness. These come in so many flavours, but my current favourite is the Rosemary and Olive Oil.  You can eat up to 5 crackers and because of the cross-grain structure, each cracker takes a while to munch through, tricking you into feeling like you're eating more.
  3. Apples: rich in antioxidants and vitamins, apples are good for you and have the added bonus of being a "filler food" meaning that it will make you feel fuller, longer
  4. Dried mangos: Lots of vitamin C and deliciously sweet, dried mangos have that chewy, sweet taste that candy lovers will enjoy, without all the useless sugars.  Be warned though, the sugar often added to these can add up, so limit yourself to 6 slices per serving
  5. Cereal and almond milk: Take 1/2 cup of cereal (I recommend banana cheerios) and 1/2 cup of almond milk and you've got a satisfying, healthy snack.  Both items here are fortified with lots of vitamins, and the sweetness of the banana paired with the creaminess of almond milk will have you hooked.
Want more snack ideas? Check out my pinterest and tell me your snacking tips in the comments!

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Cutness overload: sheepdogs frolicking in a field

If I were a dog living it up in the Netherlands in spring, what would I do?

Sniff the flowers of course! Maybe if I look cute enough, someone will give me a biscuit.

Edumacating myself by reading "How to get humans to give you biscuits"


Yeah, these are the things I think about when trolling random blogs for cuteness pick-me-ups.  
Photos via My Modern Met

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Buy: Dermalogica Precleanse review

The Product
Fighting dirt and oil, with oil? It's an interesting premise that seems to be a slap in the face to all convention as we know it, but in recent years, oil has been gaining a better rep.  Apparently, not all oils are bad; in fact, some oils can help if you have sensitive, or even oily skin!

I've been curious to learn if the hype about cleansing oils was true, so when I received this sample of Dermalogica's Precleanse oil, I was eager to put it to the test.

Designed for all skin types (especially oily!), the Precleanse is designed to act like a super makeup remover, prepping your skin for your actual cleanser by getting off the surface gunk.

The Guts
When using cleansing oils, it's important to distinguish the good from the bad.  Mineral oil for example, is often considered bad and in the case of the Precleanse, we have olive, apricot and kukui nut acting on the side of good.  Containing no fragrances, or artificial colors, this oil seems like it might be OK for slightly sensitive skins.

Price & Packaging
150 mL will set you back around $50, which is a little pricey considering you don't need this product.  I would pay this price for a good eye cream, but for makeup remover I question its validity.

As much as I dislike the price though, I LOVE the product.  Usually for a full face of makeup (foundation, eyeliner, mascara, shadow, blush), I will have to use a couple of cotton balls to get all the makeup off my face - before cleansing.  After cleansing, I may still have enough residue on my face to need a thorough post-cleanse with my toner.

With the Precleanse, I apply the oil with dry hands, then massage into a lather with slightly damp hands and I swear, I can see the makeup melt off.  Post-cleanser, my face feels squeaky clean; in fact, I would question the need for toner at all!

All you need to cover your face is a quarter sized amount and it washes away easily and quickly.  It's even gentle enough to use for your eye makeup as it doesn't sting one bit.  I was thoroughly satisfied with this product and was quite sad to be honest when it ran out after a couple of days.

In 140 characters or less
Worth every penny. A fabulous cleansing oil that removes all traces of makeup better than any regular remover.

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#365outfit Challenge Week 46

Blouse: The Limited | Denim: Jessica Simpson | toque: gifted | Scarf: H&M | Coat: Zara 

Silk blouse: Club monaco | Cardigan: Front & Co | Leggings: Costco | Bracelet: Pandora 

Cardigan: Mr. Artist's | Pants: Aritzia 

Sweater: club Monaco | Pants: William Rast | Booties: Forever 21 

Blouse, cardigan: Urban Outfitters | Skirt: vintage

Sweater: Club Monaco | Pants: TopShop | Scarf, cuff: vintage

Omgat the first #365outfit recap of 2013!!  Hard to believe that I'm zeroing in on the end of this journey.  I feel like after such a monumental effort, I'll need to commemorate this somehow and digest it all on here with you guys.  For starters, I'm thinking that I'll do a retrospective and post up some of favourite outfits, and what were the most versatile items in my closet.  Through this challenge, I've learned that I have an obsession with cardigans, so I think that will deserve a post of its own.  Is there anything you'd like to know about this project?

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What's for dinner: Stefano Faita's poached salmon pasta salad

Growing up, we didn't eat a lot of salads.  My mother just didn't really like salads much, so we didn't eat them, but now I appreciate them for their nutrition, crunch and colorfulness.  Besides regular leafy salads, which I now love, I've also grown to enjoy a good pasta salad.  Previous to my 20s, my experiences with pasta salad were minimal and limited to gross, dubiously edible versions from cafeterias and grocery store delis.  For whatever reason, I've associated pasta salad with good odds for food poisoning for most of my life until I noticed that my friends would often enjoy, even crave them.  So, like most of adult culinary life discoveries, I decided to make a change.  I decided to try pasta salad again. And it was great.

It's also surprisingly easy to make.  I discovered this recipe after watching Canadian chef Stefano Faita's cooking show.  If you haven't seen it, you've got to watch it as Faita is like an adorable French Vin Diesel.  His recipes are also always mouth-watering and simple to boot!  I had to try his poached salmon pasta salad.  Of course, it was delicious!

This recipe serves 4-6 people and took about 45 minutes to make.

For the salmon, you'll need:

  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10-12 peppercorns (I didn't have any so I just used a ton of regular pepper)
  • 2 large salmon fillets
For the sauce you'll need:
  • 1/2 cup mayo (I used japanese mayo for a sweeter twist)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp dijon (I used 2!)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
Some extras you'll need:
  • 1lb short pasta (I used penne and prob less than 1lb)
  • 3 cups green beans (I used 1.75 cups of peas instead)
  • 2 tbsp capers (I used 3 just for extra saltiness)
  • 2-3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • zest of 1/2 lemon to garnish (optional, you could use lemon juice instead if you'd like)
Poached Salmon
Add wine, water, lemon slices, bay leaves and peppercorns to saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Let simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Bring to a bare simmer. Add fish and let poach until just cooked through, about 9 to 12 minutes, depending on thickness of fish. Remove fish from poaching liquid. Let cool. Pat dry.
Add mayonnaise, yogurt, Dijon mustard, olive oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper to a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
Bring large pot of water to a boil. Generously salt. Cook pasta until al dente, adding green beans to pasta water half way during the cooking time. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
In a large bowl, add pasta, green beans, capers, green onions and dill. Toss salad with dressing. Break up pieces of salmon into large pieces and gently toss into salad. Garnish salad with lemon zest and small dill sprigs. Serve.


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Pinspiration lately

Realized that I haven't done an inspirations post in forever!  I was getting a little tired of Pinterest to be honest, but when I got my Nexus 7 tablet for my birthday and installed the mobile app, my addiction became renewed!  It's even easier to pin on mobile than on web!

Here's a few items inspiring me lately...

This gold box clutch is just so simple and glam.  I've been obsessed with box clutches lately, although I do still feel they are utterly impractical.  Girls are impractical beings I suppose.

EMERALD. Got it, want it.  How does Pantone pick these so accurately?  I swear, they're a bunch of magical genies over there who are reading our minds to know just what we want, before we want it!

Argh why are a perfect pair of smoking loafers so difficult to find?!  These are just so perfectly cognac and look absolutely comfortable.

Am very much into the full on lip and muted eyes lately.  I've even been skipping eyeliner and just going with a soft smoky eye for daytime!  I wish I could do the full brows as well, but I kinda suspect they'd look a bit caterpillar-y on my face.

Finally, I cannot wait till Spring to bust out a neon pink lip.  Still have yet to find the right shade though for light olive skin tones - any recos out there?

What's been inspiring your look lately?

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Buy: H20+ Softening Mint Foot Rub lotion review

The Product
Unfortunately for me, I inherited my mother's dry feet.  Growing up, I'd see her constantly work to bring moisture to her parched toes and heels and I vowed to be proactive with mine; thus I'm always on the hunt for awesome foot creams.  Awhile back, I was gifted some H20+ products to review and have been trying out this foot cream for the past month.

H20+ is an international beauty company who takes advantage of the healing essence of the sea, by incorporating the oceans' rich botanicals and minerals into their products.

The Guts
The Softening Mint Foot Rub contains several ingredients designed to heal, soothe and protect your feet:
  • Balm mint extract is an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory agent that soothes your skin
  • Menthol produces a cooling sensation to relax away itchy and achy feet
  • a proprietary blend of powerful oceanic ingredients like wakame (type of seaweed), sea lettuce and sea fennel provide moisture, antioxidants, and protection against aging free radicals

Price & Packaging
Each 120g tube costs around $15, which isn't a bad price at all for quality ingredients.  The tube is large enough to last you quite awhile, while still being small enough to fit into a large purse, or over-night bag.

My feet do get very dry, very quickly if I don't moisturize regularly.  I tend to get slight calluses on the tips of my toes and the ball of my feet and these were the areas I concentrated application upon.  I used this product right out of the shower when the skin is still moist enough to absorb creams easily.

A dollop just slightly bigger than a nickel was sufficient to cover both of my feet, concentrating on the heels, balls of the feet and toes.  The rest of the feet I covered with regular moisturizer.  The scent of this lotion is very light and pleasantly minty.  Upon application, my feet felt softer and the lotion absorbed quickly.

I wouldn't call this a miracle cream by far, but it does do the trick as a daily treatment.  My feet do feel slightly softer than before, which is a lot better than how it felt just using regular creams.

In 140 characters or less
Satisfactory, everyday foot cream with a lovely minty scent.

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Narcissistic recap of 2012 and resolutions for 2013

Sorry readers. You are about to be sucked into reading yet another resolutions post.  Whenever I see these in my reader, I usually skip over them unless I know the writer is going to be entertaining.  I will try to be slightly better than mind-numbing.  I wasn't going to write a year recap/resolutions post all actually, but since my blog began with one a year ago, it only seems fitting.

2012 was a year of change and up and downs for me.  When it started, I was in the midst of one of the most stressful times of my life, juggling an intense load of work and school.  I was working my ass off trying to juggle it all and when summer began, abruptly that load was taken away.  I took it rather hard in the moment, but something I've discovered about myself is that I'm rather resilient (see, I told you this post would be narcissistic).  When shit happens, I get upset and angry like anyone else - but then I move on.  Life is too short for moping and only you can make your life better. 

As cheesy as it sounds, one of the best things that anyone can do is to realize this.  It took me awhile to, for sure.  Too many of us spend too much time moping over someone, or something.  The past is over.  You cannot change it.  The only thing you can do is learn your lesson, figure out that life is shit rather frequently, and keep moving.  Also, a healthy dose of perspective that no matter how crappy you may feel luck has been to you, it's 100% true that you're just being a #firstworldproblem and someone else has REAL problems.  In fact, I have a theory that if everyone could have the chance to go up in orbit and see how insignificant they are and how fantastic it is that they're alive and healthy and have loved ones etc, then they'd actually feel a lot better!   Change the things you can control people, because some things you can't.  Like an asteroid.

Anyways, enough with the existentialism.  Summer of 2012 was spent enjoying myself in the best and biggest break I've had since I was 14 and I ended it recharged.  Since then, life has been getting better and better, leaving me positive for 2013, which is good b/c I fared rather poorly on almost all of my 2012 resolutions.

Back in January, I'd posted that I would:
  • do less, better - somewhat successful with that actually! Although I am still doing the same amount of things, I have put less pressure on myself to keep up on blogging, which ironically makes me want to blog more.
  •  become a better cook - utter FAIL.   Have not cracked open any of my cookbooks still.
  • exercise at least 3 times a week - minor successes as I went through periods of working out and slacking off (ie. entire MONTH of December)
  • 365 challenge - success!! Am in the home stretches.
For 2013 I will
  • try to do all of the above

I'd love to hear what your resolutions are for the new year and how you plan to stick to them, so please tell me in the comments!

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#365outfit Challenge Week 45

Chambray shirt: American Eagle | Sweater: Smart Set | Skirt: Zara 

Shirt: Zara | Leggings: Costco | Sweater cardigan: vintage 

Dress: Starfish & Rose boutique | Pin: gifted | Eel-skin clutch: c/o Jalda Handbags 

Cashmere top: gifted | Silk kimono: Aritzia | Pants: H&M | Necklace: Forever 21?

Here's the last week of #365outfit for 2012.  I'm getting so close to finishing this challenge I can almost taste it!  Since I've been living out of a suitcase at my parent's after this week of outfits, I've put #365outfit on hiatus for a bit until I'm back into my daily routine.

In other news, does anyone else want to put hidden cameras on their clothes?  I swear that various items in my closet like to go on little journeys!  Case in point, I've recently been hunting around for my favourite faux leather skirt and have consistently come up empty.  It's not in my laundry basket, or suitcases, or the drawers where I usually put it.  Perhaps it's enjoying itself in Hawaii, but I do hope it decides to come back soon!

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