The April Playlist

Terrace Gardens Pool
Spring is here. It's 20 degrees in Calgary today and feels absurdly more like summer than spring. We've been lucky. Very, very lucky. I have the windows wide open today and it's refreshing to let in some fresh (city) air. With spring comes spring cleaning, of course. There's no way around it. The last couple of months have been chaotic at school and I have admittedly let my storage situation at the apartment get a little nuts. I've been critiqued for making piles—a dreaded habit of my mothers that I seem to have adopted, much to everyone's dismay. While I'm still in the midst of exams (1 down, 5 to go), I would be lying if I said that I was constantly studying. My breaks have been filled with a little tidying up here and there and it is a relief to have things in order.

This playlist was compiled from tracks that I've 'starred' on my Galaxy over the past few months. Once compiled, I realized that it actually makes a really good playlist to do some cleaning to, and that's primarily when I've been listening to it. You've got some new, some old, and some uh, hip hop, which is strange for me. My boyfriend has somehow managed to get me into a small amount of hip hop—the unthinkable. I've frankly just never had a taste for it, but I will admit that it is the best kind of music to workout to. It's also what he'll often catch me blasting when he gets home from work while I deny, deny, deny and claim that it was "just on." Well, that was the case and one point, but now I kind of dig it.

You can stream the playlist here.

While I'm Alive / STRFKR
Don't You Love (feat. Banks) / Lil Silva
I Luv the Valley OH! / Xiu Xiu
Hey / The Pixies
3005 / Childish Gambino
Overdone / Bombay Bicycle Club
I Don't Want Love / The Antlers
King Kunta / Kendrick Lamar
Ruphmiup / Bowmont
WHALE / Yellow Ostrich
All Your Fault / Big Sean, Kanye West
Pups to Dust / Modest Mouse
The Love You're Given / Jack Garratt
Nara / alt-J
Nothing Without Love / Nate Ruess
Whitewash / Halcyon Drive

The Big Girl Job

Goodness gracious, school has been insane this semester. I am taking six challenging classes and would advice that no one ever take more than five if you can help it. Nevertheless, the semester is almost over and I can. not. wait. I somehow managed to land myself a summer job. For my program, we are to do an Internship and I somehow ended up with the position that I wanted. I don't know how, but I am so, so, so excited. This means that I will be abandoning my part time gym job in favour of a full time office job. My first big girl job!

The only issue here is that my work wardrobe is seriously lacking. Working at a gym for three years will do that to you. My collection of Lululemon has grown substantially, but I have all of one or two office appropriate outfits, shown below.
Work Clothes
Last year, I was trying to get a capsule wardrobe in place in anticipation of my big move and inevitable inability to buy new clothes. It worked out marginally, but didn't take into account (and didn't NEED to take into account) a work wardrobe. In all honesty, most days I find myself wearing workout gear (somewhat shamefully), and a quick flick through my wardrobe would show that I own one pair of grey trousers, one grey blazer and a couple of work appropriate blouses. Yikes.

I've created a Pinterest board to gather inspiration/specific pieces that I'd like to add to my newly established work wardrobe that can be found here. I have a good idea of what I want it to consist of: flowy blouses, fitted trousers, mid-length skirts, pumps and loafers. I have a month to put it together and the thought of being able to shop a bit again after three months is kind of exciting. Stay tuned for some inspiration posts in the future.

#nanaicecream

Nicecream
Joining an online fitness community is admittedly a weird thing. Weird and wonderful. I've never been one to workout with a partner—I much prefer to do the suffering alone. Working out is a release for me, and I like to do it in peace and quiet (or jamming to my favourite tunes rather). The online community is there for support, and although they are spread across this earth of ours, they do a rather good job of motivating. It bodes well for me. I have people cheering me on (while I do the same for them, of course) and I can do the thing just how I like it. I've made more progress on the BBG in 5 weeks than I have in years of working out on my own, so there's that. It's good. It's real good.

I have a sweet tooth. I've been really good since starting this program and I think the only things I've really cheated with are half a chocolate chip cookie on Oscar night and a couple of macarons. I've traded the bad stuff for the good, opting for raw desserts with nut bases, dates, a banana with nut butter, or a bowl of this good stuff. #Nanaicecream, as they call it on Instagram. It has a strange cult following of some individuals who I swear eat the stuff for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Their creations are a lot more stunning than my own (take a look through the hashtag feed), but all in all, I think it's quite a humble dessert. I'm certainly not reinventing the wheel by sharing this one, but I find that it does the trick when a dessert-craving hits, or even as a snack. I've decided to finally increase my calorie intake to support working out 6 days a week, as well as pay closer attention to my macros, and this is a good option to fill in the gaps. A scoop of protein powder and a drizzle of nut butter accounts for your protein and fat content, and of course, the banana takes care of your carbs. Good and done.
Nicecream
Nanaicecream | Serves 1

1 banana, frozen (~150 grams)
1 scoop protein powder (I use MusclePharm)
10 grams (a splash, essentially) non-fat milk

Top with natural nut butter, coconut chips, etc.

Mix all ingredients in a high speed blender. If it's a little too runny, stick it into the freezer for a few minutes to firm it up.

GETTING BACK INTO A FITNESS GROOVE - 5 WEEKS STRONG

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Unless you've been living under an Instagram rock, you've likely heard of Kayla Itsines and her Bikini Body Training Guide. I purchased it last summer in the hopes of getting my ass back to the gym (considering I work at one, you'd think this would be easy), but only managed to get to Week 2, 3 times over. I guess that's what happens when you take two long vacations over the summer... Nevertheless, I started the BBTG again 5 weeks ago and am proud to say that I am still going strong and am already seeing results.

As great as it is to be getting fit, obviously it limits the amount of yummy recipes I'm cooking up and how many delicious restaurant meals I get to try. So, y'know, less content. I've been following a pretty gosh darn strict diet with one cheat meal per week. I'm not a vegetarian anymore either, and my meat consumption has gone up substantially since moving in January. It's been a big lifestyle change, but I'm enjoying it so far. It feels good to be getting back into the fitness game.
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I've got some major goals associated with food and fitness: Complete BBTG 1 and 2 (up to 24 weeks!), buy and be very comfortable in a Triangl swimsuit, and learn how to make raw desserts. I realize that raw desserts are still desserts, but the fact that they're made from slightly better ingredients makes me feel a bit better about indulging. Plus, it's a new challenge in the kitchen!

DELANCEY, AND OTHER MEMOIRS

Delancey
One of my goals this year is to read more non-academic books. Admittedly, this is one of my goals each year, and each year I seem to fall short. As much fun as reading about Alberta's Constitutional Framework is, sometimes a girl just wants to read about pizza. I'm having a moment with food related memoirs. While in Seattle last summer, I had the opportunity to dine at Delancey, and later found out about the book, which of course I had to read. I finished it rather quickly, and enjoyed every story in the book. Author Molly Wizenberg has this way of writing that makes you feel like you're the best of friends. Her stories are told in an raw, intimate manner, and you can't help but get drawn in. I think that having dined at Delancey helped me get into the book, as I could recall what the restaurant itself was like, as well as the dining experience itself. Overall, it was a wonderful read that I could not recommend enough.

I was having a chat with Gabi today while we were browsing the cooking section at Chapters about cooking memoirs. She mentioned a few that are now on my list, and I recalled one that I had read last year and fell madly in love with. I tend to be a read once and forget kind of gal... There are very few books that have had a lasting impact on me, but this is one of those ones that did. Another food memoir called The Art of Eating In by Cathy Erway. It documents her journey of swearing off eating out. A novel concept perhaps, but again, the stories that she has to tell about her experiences with home cooking are really inspiring.

ON MY LIST TO READ
1. A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg
2. Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton
3. 52 Loaves: One Man's Relentless Pursuit of Truth, Meaning, and a Perfect Crust by William Alexander
4. Bon Appetempt: A Coming-of-Age Story (with Recipes!) by Amelia Morris

I'm sure there are more, but they are mostly related to food politics as opposed to being memoirs. Are there any others that I should add to my list?
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