How to Save the World (when you don’t know how to/aren’t good at it)

Ask any Tom, Dick or Harry down the street if he’s a kind person, chances are, he’ll nod frantically or forlornly. A lot of us would like to save the world, help people, spark that shine in someone, inspire someone, the clichés are never-ending… but alas, we lack the philanthropic chops to do so. Or we lack the bee-stung lips, bodacious bum and booming bank balance to do so (Yeah I’m looking at you, Ange).

Some of us aren’t born naturally caring and sympathetic and empathetic – so we usually cope in 2 ways. We either stomp about proudly showing this shell (shield?) off, or we marry people who imbibe those qualities.

The stealthy churner of iffy maturity and subsequent realisation of moral relativism has embedded in me a vital ideology: If one can’t make something better, don’t make it worse. It goes without saying that there are obviously times I falter and falter hard. Like the time I got into a screaming match with my sister and attempted to rip her eyelashes out & roast them in order to protect my ever-so-important ego. Or like the time I tried to bake muffins. Point is though, 78.574% of philanthropy is committed not by making the angels come out and work their magic, but by making the Satans stay home and preventing them from breeding.

Here are some strategies (I feel like such a Dr. Phil) for the halo-in-heart-but-horns-on-head specimens of us:

Tip ‘em all: The Conservatives reading this probably want to pull my eyelashes out now but hey, Robin Hood was awesome! Take from the rich, give to the poor. Work the trickle-down effect. Also, it gets rid of loose change, makes the wallet lighter, makes one feel better (cause of the lighter wallet jeez), thus putting a spring in one’s step (also cause of the lighter wallet), and GET THIS: you don’t even have to talk! OR smile!! It’s a win-win situation really.

3 Magic Words: If you don’t mind taking the next step i.e. talking, this step will do wonders. I learnt these 3 Magic Words in school – Please, Sorry, Thank You – and they’ve still stuck for the most part. Living up to the stereotype of my fellow Canadians, thank you.

Leave the car at home: Go for a walk, use public transportation, fly! Walking clears the mind and makes one see things s/he might not have otherwise. Who knows? One might even have a change of heart horns. Also, think of all that you’ll be reducing: smog, road rage, depletion of the ozone layer, global warming, your expenses, accidents. Sometimes, I like to put my music in and walk down the street pretending to be Simba/Scar, depending upon my PMS cycle.

Stay at home: If you feel like you got off the wrong side of the bed and just cannot seem to shift to the rightish side because of that one sordid, sore, sullen bone then just stay in bed. It’ll save you grumpiness and the rest, their peace of mind.

Put a sock in it: if you can’t say something nice – and who can? – don’t say anything at all. If people of a non-messianic disposition would simply zip it and stop making snide comments about Al Gore and Sting and Bono, bona fide do-gooders could just get on with their peace-keeping mission to save the world and we’d all be living in Paradise. That’s right: No more sarcastic, snide comments from this quarter. Enough. Shush. Word.

This post was inspired by this absolutely endearing movie I saw recently – Amelie. This gem of a movie downed me in a whirlwind of quirky plots and subplots; the minute I started to fathom the ride, the next abrupt turn would come along. A lot of movies have this trait of connecting tiny dots to make a simple but poignant picture – but the additional topping with Amelie is that the picture isn’t only poignant, it has sprinkles of glitter on it, and the frame is neon orange and not brown or grey. And it sings to you when you aren’t looking.

P.S. This is my new fav smiley – ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ it has such a Hakuna Matataey feel to it I love it! 
I shall be using this aplenty, you have been warned.

Stay Sparkling!


Mallika ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
(told you so teehee)

Seeing the Big Picture…and Tea Reviews

Before I get into the topic of the day (ahem…week, month? Yes, it’s been a while again), here comes my little tidbit about tea! David’s Tea has their new summer flavours out – WOOHOO! As I’m sure you’ve already guessed, I am powering my way through the new flavours like it’s my job and so far, they’re all a hit! I don’t think I would like any of them hot but I’m guessing it’s primarily meant to be iced (duh right?).

The first flavour I tried was Strawberry Shortcake and it was tasty, but my least favourite of the three I tried. The strawberry flavour was nice and sweet and there was a hint of hazelnut that complimented it really nicely. The second flavour I tried was Luscious Watermelon which was so refreshing; part of what I loved so much about it was that I could taste other types of melon and fruit. Even my boyfriend who doesn’t like watermelon loved this tea, which I found very impressive. The last tea I tried (and my personal favourite from this collection) was the Tropicalia. This tea was absolutely delicious and reminded me of a pina colada. Picture yourself on a beautiful beach with a gentle breeze and the sun is shining – yep, that is where this tea will take you.

Now into the main topic of the post – seeing the big picture. The ‘big picture’ is so important, because there are so many interrelated parts of our life and seeing the ‘big picture’ will allow you to live your life to the fullest. I find when it comes to exercising and healthy eating this can be a big problem for me, and I know other people have trouble with this as well. It can be really difficult to remember to look at the big picture when you’re goals include eating healthy and working on fitness because for most of us, our goals are pretty specific. There are some key things that I think are important to work on in order to see the big picture.

Firstly, always remember that being healthy and fit is not a black and white scenario. A lot of us tend to think in terms of our specific goals and whether or not we have reached them, which can be limiting. It is equally as important to acknowledge the journey as it is to acknowledge the destination; perhaps even more so. While you may have specific goals in mind, whether it be related to weight, fitness level, distances etc. there will always be things you can improve on but also, things you are doing well. This is not to say that you shouldn’t set goals for yourself because I believe that goals are super important; I’m just saying it is even better to have goals AND acknowledge smaller triumphs regardless of the fact that they may not be the ultimate achievement you’re working towards. For this reason I think it’s very important to acknowledge that everything is not black and white – you are not unfit or fit, healthy or unhealthy, ‘perfect’ weight or ‘non-perfect’ weight. There are many ‘in-betweens’ that are also important to celebrate.

Secondly, allow yourself to indulge from time to time. Remember not to be too hard on yourself. As a person who is interested in nutrition and fitness and therefore likely knows a lot about it, it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that it isn’t acceptable to allow yourself to indulge. In terms of food, treats every once in a while are okay. There is nothing wrong with allowing yourself to go ahead and have that cookie or cake or whatever it may be that floats your boat in that moment. Am I saying to do this every single day or push yourself into an all out binge? No, of course not, but, having a treat every once in a while will not hinder your performance or stop you from reaching your goals. Heck, it may even get you there faster by allowing you to feel satisfied and avoid those all out binges.

The same goes for fitness, but with a twist. For this I’d say listen to your body. Having a set routine and planned workouts are great, and trust me, I know that they can help you stay on track, but, if you’re finding that for whatever reason, one day you’re in the workout and it just isn’t feeling right then change it up. If your plan was to run but it’s not feeling right maybe hit the pool or the elliptical that day. If you’re truly exhausted and the weights are just killing you, maybe take it down a notch for that day. Your body will tell you everything you need to know. I’m definitely not saying that every time you feel a little tired or a little sore to throw in the towel and call it a day, but just keep in mind what feels normal and what feels off.

Thirdly, remember to put your nutrition and fitness goals into context with the rest of your life. Your health goals need to fit with the rest of your life, and you need to see that they are only a part of the picture. You also need to realise that day to day slip-ups and pitfalls are not going to hurt you in the long run. This one for me is the hardest, and that is why I put it last. It can be really difficult to hit a snag in training, or nutrition, and realise that in the end, it will still be okay. That particular day maybe you aren’t going to reach your goal, or maybe it will take you slightly longer to reach your goal, but that minor snag must never define your self image, because honestly, down the line you may not even remember it.

By putting your nutrition and fitness goals into context of the rest of your life you can start to use the pitfalls and slip-ups as motivators. When you hit one of those pitfalls ask yourself “in ten years will my life be altered by this?”, if the answer is “no” then just move on, if the answer if “yes” then find a way to get yourself back on track; it may not be exactly what you wanted but it will still be rewarding.

As you can probably imagine, these steps are interrelated. Improving in any one of these areas will help you with the others and will help you see the big picture.

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That’s all for now lovelies!

-Sam

Be Bright. Be Bold. Be You

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Tell us:

Do you ever have trouble seeing the big picture?

What strategies do you use to put your nutrition and fitness goals into context?

Have you tried David’s Tea Summer Collection yet? If you have, which is your favourite summer tea?

Tea Rant!

Hello all!

I hope you are all having as wonderful of a Wednesday as I am! Today was all around an awesome day, I spent it with one of my favourite people, at one of my favourite places (my lovely roomie and I went to David’s Tea)! This was her first time going to David’s Tea and I am thrilled to report – she loved it!

I have not yet shared with you my slight obsession with tea (I thought I would ease you in with the other posts and now let you see the crazy side…just kidding). Anyways, in light of our little trip to David’s Tea it seemed like a good day to do a rant on tea. Tea has so many benefits and is, of course, yummy!

Benefits of Tea:

(Source: http://www.dietitians.ca/Nutrition-Resources-A-Z/Factsheets/Anti-oxidants/Pleasures-of-Healthy-Eating–Chocolate,-Green-Tea,.aspx)

Benefit #1: Antioxidants –

Well to give you the low-down, teas like green tea are chock full of these goodies! Antioxidants are great for your health and can help reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases.

Benefit #2: Water –

Tea is a great source of your daily intake of water! If you’re like me, it can be really tough to get your daily intake of water. I used to have such a hard time guzzling down those eight glasses everyday, but once I learned that tea could help me in that department it’s been a breeze! (Just remember to try and choose decaffeinated teas when you can if you’re hoping to include it as water intake)

Benefit #4: Low in Calories –

Tea is a great way to spice up your water (like I said above) but, it’s a great way to keep your calorie consumption in check. It has a nice flavour but most teas are only a few calories (or none at all) so unlike pop and juices you don’t have to put up with all of the extra calories and sugar.

Benefit #5: Taste and Variety –

There are so many different flavours of tea that you will never get bored of it! There’s fruity tea, strong tea, vanilla tea, tea for chocolate lovers – I think you get the picture! While I was at David’s Tea I saw Birthday Cake flavoured tea – yes, I am serious! Hallelujah, case closed, how could you ask for more than that?!

I think it’s probably pretty clear at this point how much I love tea, so you can expect some tea reviews in the future. You were warned.

Oh, but we’re not done yet – I have a new recipe for you!

 

I am following through on my promise to experiment with Overnight Oats and Chia seeds! The result – PB and Jelly Overnight Oats!

You will need:

  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup oats
  • 1/3 cup milk ( I used almond milk, but any kind will do)
  • 1 tbsp Chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter (all natural)
  • 2 tbsp jam (no sugar added)
  • 1 tsp unsweetened coconut flakes

Make your plain Overnight Oats the same way as always (with the basic ingredients) – see this post for instructions ( https://avantaudrey.wordpress.com/2012/04/13/jumping-on-the-overnight-oats-bandwagon/ )

  • In the morning add your jam and stir.
  • Melt the peanut butter for about 10 seconds in the microwave and drizzle it over the Overnight Oats.
  • Garnish with coconut!

This recipe was really yummy and I loved the peanut butter addition!

Okay, now we’re done so go on and enjoy the rest of your day!

Ciao,

Sam  xo

Be Bright, Be Bold, Be You!

Top 6 Feminist Characters in Mainstream TV/Movies

We’re going to get a tad down and dirty now. We’re talking F-word dirty.

From the 20s First Wave Movement that gave us the right to vote (yay we’re considered human!) to the 60s Second Wave Movement that brought about the coveted contraceptives and the recognition of domestic violence as a crime, and finally the current flavor of the F-world – Third Wave Feminism, focusing on unifying women of diverse cultures, religions and sexualities, to sum it up, women have come a long way.

What IS the F-world?

Here’s a short test you can take to decide if you are part of the F-world:

  • Do you/have to/would like to go to school?
  • Do you work in a top firm or a loving home?
  • Would you like to drive a car? Or maybe a bike? Or a bus? A boat? Maybe all?
  • Would you like to dye your hair blonde? Maybe blue after that?
  • Would you want to get a boob job?
  • Would you never want to get a boob job?
  • Would you cuss/punch a guy who hits your sister?
  • Does your wife/girlfriend buy you a present and you love her for it?
  • Would you like the option of wearing a bikini? Or a burqa?
  • Do you like to be in stable relationships? Or do you like to play the field?
  • Or keep a baby? Or not keep it?
  • Do you like to choose?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are a feminist.

Feminism has this off-putting quality of being considered a cuss word or an anti-men word. It means nothing like that. Being a feminist doesn’t mean going braless or being lesbian and hairy. But it also does. In effect, it all boils down to choice – to make a conscious choice about what you want, not what John or Jane or Johannesburg wants.

It isn’t about hating men, in fact, Feminism BENEFITS men. See, we know women are manipulated by the media, etc. etc. To put it simply, women are inundated with media images on the quintessential beauty – look like Kate Moss and you’re gold. This pressure culminates in various adverse effects like poor self-image, depression, eating disorders, etc. But here’s the thing – this pressure isn’t limited to women. More and more men are exposed to the pressures of being the Alpha male – characterized by big muscles, high virility, deep voices, etc. (Think Johnny Bravo). Feminism makes us challenge these ideals. It also takes pressure off men to be the primary bread-winners of the family (quitting your loathed job and vacationing in the Bahamas doesn’t sound like a bad idea now eh?)

Also, the stereotypical emotions and professions targeted at men and women are being challenged. Jane wants to be an engineer? Awesome! John wants to be a nurse? That’s great! He wants to cry if he sees a patient in terrible condition? Bring on the waterworks!

Feminism is about breaking barriers and being who you want to be – defining yourself – be it as a man, woman, lesbian, gay, transgender, transsexual, queer or a cheetah. YEAH YOU GO BE A CHEETAH IF YOU WANT TO.

Now that I’ve given you a short albeit hopefully helpful intro into The F-word; let’s move onto the F-list.

Top 6 Feminist Characters in TV/Movies:

1. Grey’s AnatomyPretty much all the characters

Right from the women – Bailey juggling being an excellent mother and an excellent surgeon and Christina choosing her career over a baby, to the men – Derek supporting Meredith through the hurdles of their marriage (albeit with some compromises on part of each); Grey’s is the epitome of Third Wave Feminism, comprising of women of color in strong positions, homosexual couples (Calzona make the best couple of the show, IMHO) and men who support their wives/girlfriends, are strong men, and form an equal relationship for the most part with their female counterparts.

2. Peggy Olson – Mad Men

Set in the 60s, Peggy could’ve pretty much set the ball rolling for the Pay and Employment Equity Act. Hired as a female typist, she rose to the position of a female writer, and demanded to be seen a writer, wanting the symbolic eradication of the ‘female’ bit; in other words, she wanted equal pay for the quality and quantity of work she invested.

3. Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet) – Titanic

A 17 year old girl rebelling against the gender and class boundaries set for her by society. Sounds inspiring. Back in the 20s, even more inspiring and perhaps unheard of. She followed her heart supported by a strong mind, an independent outlook and a fiery passion – qualities I admire in any person.

4. Miranda Hobbes – Sex and The City

Although Sex and The City proclaimed itself as a ‘modern feminist’ show, I do have a couple of bones I could pick with a few characters. However, Miranda was an open feminist – she is ambitious, independent and won’t settle for less-than-best. Although many shows have ‘feminist’ characters with the aforementioned qualities, they often end up showing these ambitious women to be cold, calculating, ruthless, perhaps even shown to be misandrists (Read: Meryl Streep in Devil Wears Prada). Miranda has this realism to her – she falls in love, gets cheated on, forgives him because she wants to, has kids, and is a successful career woman. She may not be the best mother but that’s fine – she defies the primary label that often gets crowned upon a woman when she gives birth – ‘mother’.

5. The Women of  The L-Word

This might be a controversial one; so here’s a disclaimer: I find the characters of L-word pretty feminist (Read: Bette Porter, Dana Fairbanks, Tina Kennard), however, the show itself (albeit a pioneer for their portrayal of the LGBTcommunity in mainstream American TV), plays into the same stereotype it attempts to defy – portraying these multidimensional characters in a unidimensional, titillative manner.  The characters themselves portray a wide range of sexualities, professions, relationships and emotions, but the show seems to put these at the background, making the show’s USP (in the words of a male friend) one abundant with ‘wicked hot lesbian sex’.

6. Rick Santorum, Rick Santorum

Although Rick may not be considered a feminist at first glance, upon further insight into his views on various issues, HA I’m just messing with ya – happy late April Fool’s Day!

 

6. Monica, Phoebe and Chandler FRIENDS

My favourite show EVER!

Monica follows her passion of being a chef and rising to the top, wants kids, won’t settle for a guy who will have them for the sake of being with her. Supported by the ever-charming Chandler, who in his own right, is very feminist – supporting his wife’s decision to follow a career over living with him in Tulsa and being supported by his wife through his trails, tribulations and Janice.

Phoebe has her own weird beliefs that she follows to a T, coupled with a pretty rough childhood and having made it on her own through it. She goes through life from one relationship to the other, being open about her demands, and doesn’t settle.

–     –     –

What do you guys think? Let the F-word out!

Stay Bold, Your way.

–  Mallika

Jumping on the Overnight Oats Bandwagon…

Happy Friday!

I hope everyone is enjoying this beautiful weather! I have been having a great day and I must say it had a great start – with Overnight Oats!

I cannot believe it has taken me this long to jump on the overnight oats band wagon (or to try Chia seeds for that matter)! I have been a little bit slow on this foodie trend, but I finally decided to see what all the fuss is about! So, in this post I will tell you all about the awesome Overnight Oats I had for breakfast this morning and about my experience with Chia seeds! The Overnight Oats were super easy to make – and I must say it reminded me a lot of ice cream (can you believe it?)!

I decided to start out on a fairly tame note with this dish since I had never tried overnight oats or Chia seeds (yes, I am a bit of a wimp), so I made a simple strawberry flavoured breakfast – because just about anything strawberry works for me.

Just a warning – this makes a BIG serving!

For this recipe you will need:

½ cup of rolled oats

½ cup plain Greek yogurt

2/3 cup of milk (I used almond milk)

1 tbsp of chia seeds

Strawberries (about ½ cup or to taste)

2 tbsp no sugar added strawberry jam

½ scoop vanilla protein powder

Mix the rolled oats, Greek yogurt, milk and Chia seeds in a bowl then cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge until morning.

In the morning, mix in your toppings (strawberry jam, protein powder and strawberries) then eat your way to glory with this scrumptious breakfast!

From Google Images

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I told you it was easy!

I was pleasantly surprised with the chia seeds; I wasn’t sure what to expect but the texture was perfect for the recipe. Considering all of the health benefits of Chia seeds (fibre and omega-3s to name a few) I am so excited at how easily they can be incorporated into recipes!

I can’t wait to try more variations of this recipe and experiment with my Chia seeds

Until next time – Stay Bright, Stay Bold, Stay Beautiful!

– Sam xo

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We’d love to hear from you!

Tell us:

Have you ever tried chia seeds?

What are your favourite recipes to include chia seeds in?

How To: Zooey Deschanel/New Girl Bangs

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Hellooo you lovely minions!

As Sam noted, sorry about the sabbatical. Life and times at university, ironically, take the former completely out of the equation. Anyway, enough of the reasons AKA excuses and back to work fun – as a bonus – I have not one but TWO articles for you! YAY where’s my diamond-encrusted medallion?

First off, I recently got a haircut! By ‘haircut’, I mean ‘my bangs’, and by ‘I recently got’, I mean ‘I recently cut’. I’d first cut my own bangs in the 1st year of uni – alcohol and a pair of scissors don’t really go hand-in-hand . . . pun intended. Fortunately and surprisingly, that episode didn’t culminate in horror stories around a campfire for the future generations of my family and friends. However, it did culminate in a bowl-esque vibe to my head slightly reminiscent of a hybrid of Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber and Barbara Streisand (any proof of which has been burnt to ashes). This time round, the lack of alcohol and presence of a couple of mirrors did the trick J

P.S – Oval, Square, Diamond and Heart-shaped faces: These bangs will suit you guys to a T. You needn’t read any further.

P.P.S – Round faces: I have a round face, and had heard from numerous sources that straight-curved (AKA Zooey’s) bangs wouldn’t suit me. I have to say that although straight bangs probably wouldn’t suit us lucky ladies/gentlemen; straight-curved ones (ones that start just above the cheekbones and get shorter at the forehead) make our less conspicuous cheekbones REALLY stand out if done right. Also, the way I see it, it isn’t an arm or a nose, it’s hair, it’ll grow back – so do it!

What you’ll need:

  • Scissors, ideally ones with thin blades Thin Scissors
  • Mirror(s)
  • Water (optional)
  • Hair (not optional)

How to:

  1. Tie all your hair back into a tight pony tail. Take the front-parting out (the part you want to cut your bangs off) and backcomb it to lie in front of your face.
  2. In layman’s terms, the bangs would be of 3 layers – chin-length, cheekbones and eyebrow-skimming.
  3. Hold the scissors with the pointed side up – always hold it this way when cutting hair – it makes the hair less blunt and less prone to split-ends later.
  4. Optional Step: You may spray the parted hair with water to dampen it. Many find this easier to work with and also find the hair to be less prone to split-ends. However, I have never used water to cut my own bangs; I find that I tend to cut too much when I use water (since it makes hair seem longer than when dry). So use water if you like, but at your own risk (this is all at your own risk Ha).
  5. First, measure 1/4th – ½ inch thick strands on either side. Stretch these along the side of your face to your jaw line, and cut at a slant.
  6. Find your cheekbones on either side – your bangs should begin slightly above your cheekbones. This will highlight your bone structure, making us round faced girls look slightly more angular and the others, well, more angular too.
  7. Right above your cheekbones, take about 1/4th – ½ an inch – depending upon how thick your hair is, and cut at a slant.
  8. Next, start cutting the hair at shorter lengths – ALWAYS cut them only VERY slightly shorter (only half-1 cm). Remember; it takes longer to grow back than cut.
  9. Keep doing so until you achieve the desired length – which, in Zooey’s case, would be just about skimming the eyebrows.
  10. Trim until you find the desired length and shape – this would be based on individual preferences and likes – for the most part, I’d recommend to cautiously wing it 😉

Hope this goes well! If not, try and try until you succeed (not at one go, I wouldn’t recommend)

My finished product (pardon the beautiful background of a toilet):

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Stay Bright, Shiny and Adorkable!

Until next time, toodles!

– Mallika