And… We’re Back

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The thing about hiatuses is that they have to be announced; otherwise they’re just absences. So please allow me to apologize for my absence.

Things have been strange, to say the least, for the past few weeks. It’s only recently that I actually admitted it and went in to see my doctor. We’re still in the process of figuring out exactly what is going on.

However, it has taught me something incredibly important. Being in tune with your own body means recognizing when something is wrong and taking care of it. Your body is yours; it deserves your respect, your care and attention. Even healthy people get sick, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Seeing as getting this “thing” under control could take a while, I’ve decided to put even more energy into functioning, I don’t know when I will get better, so I better try to get my life back.

See you all Monday!

Cait Without Coffee

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I love being busy. I love having twelve things on the go, walking quickly, talking faster and doing this all with a 20 ounce cup of coffee in my hand.

Since I started my job as a barista two years ago, I’ve developed a serious “enthusiasm” for coffee and caffeine.  It’s only recently that I’ve ever begun to think about how much coffee and caffeine I’m consuming daily.

A quick estimate placed me at approximately 750mg of caffeine daily. Side effects of this much coffee consumption include

  • Insomnia
  • Nervousness
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Stomach upset
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Muscle tremors

When I begin to think about what I feel like on a day to day basis, most of these side effects apply to me and suddenly everything starts to make more sense.

With this new information comes the obvious question

“Well, what are you going to do about it?”

So I’ve come up with a plan. Starting at lunch today I gave up coffee for one week. No lattes, no brewed drip, not even a quick espresso shot. (My god, that was hard to write).

This goal luckily prompted a quick Teavana run. I picked out a selection of caffeinated and decaf teas all of which are super yummy!

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Have you ever tried to quit coffee or reduce your caffeine intake? What helped you?

 

Marvelous in My Thanksgiving Monday

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I’m writing this post from the Windows desktop in my family’s computer room, so my apologies if this post takes a while to show up. Who knew that a slightly different keyboard could present such a huge difficulty?

I’ve been seeing post after “Marvelous In My Monday” posts and so I decided to see what the fuss was about. Not only did it lead me to Katie, of The Healthy Diva but her weekly roundups are a shot of positivity across the internet that are greatly appreciated.

So here we go!

Marvelous is coming home Friday night after an easy bus ride with arguably the sweetest bus driver I have ever met. After catching up with mum and dad, I was finally reunited with my person, Erin when she and Mark picked me up for some much needed catch up.

We celebrated with drinks at the usual place and made full use of the new ping pong table. While there we invented “Extreme Ping Pong – Where The Bar is Your Table and The Ball is Always in Play”. This made up for the fact that Mark was skilled at the game, whereas Erin and I could best be described as “enthusiastic”

Being sick is not marvelous. However, sick days and rainy days often evoke the same feeling – how grateful I am to have a place to lie down, a place to be sick and doctors to visit. Marvelous is also snuggling with my pup, I love Wheatley to bits but this doesn’t make me miss Paddy any less!

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Marvelous is waking up Sunday feeling slightly more energetic, but taking it easy till around four when I was sure that I could make it through the evening.

Because of my illness I didn’t have time to prepare a proper centerpiece, so I improvised with an old decorative pumpkin, a gold sharpie and some fresh “not so” greenery. Crafting/arranging on the fly, and coming up with lists of things to be thankful for (we wrote them on the pumpkin) was absolutely marvelous.

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Marvelous is also an adorable dress in a bright pattern which lifted my spirits up from the cold and gloomy day outside.

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We shared Thanksgiving Dinner with family friends, which included their two boys Scott and Brian. Sadly the boys are of that age where they seem to move too quickly to take their picture, and my hands were full keeping them entertained, so pictures are minimal. Mario Kart, giggles and the sheer amount of infectious energy they put out are marvelous.

Thanksgiving Dinner is simply fantastic, especially the Torfurkey. I find we get a little better at cooking it each time, and its a “three times a year” treat that I always look forward to. I also appreciate how easy it is to make Thanksgiving vegan or vegetarian. Once turkey is out of the way, there are plenty of delicious options.

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Marvelous is being done with dishes by 8:30, sharing a cup of coffee and then heading out for a post Thanksgiving celebration with friends. I attempted to learn how to play Magic : The Gathering and am determined to actually “get it” one of these days.

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Marvelous is starting the day without my customary coffee is turn for a decaf tea, I’m trying to learn how to take things slow.IMG_1174

I’m feeling almost “good” today so I’ll be off to spend time with Erin and Kenzie before heading home to continue with classes and films.

This weekend has been filled with family – both blood and chosen, love and gratitude. I’m not sure I could ask for anything more.

How has your Thanksgiving Monday been marvelous?

Cooking with Cait : Two Super Salads

When my good friend and housemate Angie was travelling this summer, she picked me up a furoshiki cloth. These cloths are used to wrap up things in inventive and beautiful ways.

Since I’ve had this I’ve been on the search for the perfect Bento box, and I think I’ve found it.

This box is modern, has a stupidly strong seal, is microwave safe, and has moveable compartments meaning that I have great control over my portions and ratios.

Since buying my bento box, I’ve made two meals in it, and I would like to share them with you today.

 Sweet Potato and Avocado Quinoa Salad

YOU WILL NEED

  • 2 Cups Cooked Black & Golden Quinoa
  • 1 Large Sweet Potato
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1/4 Cup Minced Red Onion
  • Black Pepper, Cayenne Pepper and Salt to Taste
  • The Juice of One Lime
  • Minced Cilantro (or Parsley depending on what you like)
  • 1 Avocado
  • Shredded Daiya Cheese to Garnish

Let’s Get Cooking!

Bring four cups of water to a boil and add your quinoa. While this is happening take the opportunity to peel and cube your sweet potato and prepare the rest of your veggies.

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Take the diced sweet potato and pop it into a pot of salted, boiling water and cook for 10-15 minutes. It’s important not to cook it all the way as you’ll be toasting it later!

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In a large bowl toss together the quinoa, bell peppers, onions and avocado.  Then mix your oil, lime juice, salt, pepper and cayenne in a smaller bowl.

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Mix your dressing in with the previously tossed ingredients and allow it to sit while you toast the sweet potato in a frying pan. This step is optional, but I think it adds a nice texture to the salad.

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This is yet another optional step, but you can then choose to garnish with a cheese of your choice. Right now I’m in absolute love with Daiya cheeses. They’re delicious, vegan and it MELTS AND STRETCHES! JUST LIKE REAL CHEESE!

Can you tell I’m excited by this prospect?

Here’s my salad! I had some leftover avocado, so I whipped up a super quick guacamole and added some tortilla chips in my second compartment.

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Pickled Vegetables and Marinated Tofu Salad on Rice

This is a much lighter salad compared to the first recipe, which is great for when you’re feeling like a light lunch. It does, however, pack a great nutritional punch by incorporating a rainbow of vegetables and the use of low sodium soya sauce.

YOU WILL NEED 

  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Snowpeas, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 Small Radish, Julienned
  • Red Pepper, Julienned
  • Carrots, Julienned
  • Chopped Cilantro
  • Chopped “Superfood” Green Mix
  • Rice
  • 1 Tablespoon White Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • Scallions, sliced on an angle.
  • 3 Tablespoons Low Sodium Soya Sauce
  • Sesame Oil
  •  Toasted Sesame Seeds
  • Chinese Five Spice Powder
  • Firm Tofu

A note, this salad is definitely a “prepare the night before” sort of deal, the prep work can seem a bit much, but if you incorporate it into your dinner prep it’s not much work at all.

Mix your soy sauce and five spice powder together in a container add your tofu and allow to marinate for at least three hours.

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When the tofu is done marinating prepare your rice and throw it in the fridge to cool.

While your rice cools, take the opportunity to julienne the vegetables. If you can’t tell, it takes a bit of practice and I’m still learning.

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In your bowl, or bento box make a bed of cooled, cooked rice. This will serve as a foundation and a small midday carbs fix.

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Add the sugar and vinegar into a small pan and boil for five minutes, allow to cool and then add to the chopped veggies and leave it to sit for 30 minutes.

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Lastly toss your ingredients together and dress with a sesame oil/soya dressing and toasted sesame seeds.

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How do you make your boxed lunches special? Whats your favourite salad these days?

Quick Review, and How I Use My Lilly Pulitzer Agenda

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When I was in third grade, my school started giving us agendas in hopes to teach us lifelong organizational skills, improve parent/teacher communication and help keep us on track.

This early attempt at a life lesson instead taught me the value of faux panicked lying, mediocre forgery skills and instilled in me a belief that I was an organizational disaster.

We’ve established that I was a bit of a black and white thinker as a child, right?

It’s taken eleven years, but I now feel that I have excellent organization and time management skills. So this summer, I rewarded myself with a Lilly Pulitzer Agenda.

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Today I’m going to give a quick review of the agenda, show how I use mine and hopefully pass on some tips!

I have the “Large Sized” Agenda, and although it is pretty well sized (6 3/4″ x 8 7/8″.) I can tell you already that I’ll be investing in the Jumbo size next school year. The longer I have this planner the more I use it, and I’m starting to fill up the boxes on the daily.

Probably my favourite thing about this agenda is how it starts the year in August and runs into December of the next year. It’s perfect for students!

The agendas themselves are beautiful, filled with trademark Lilly patterns and bright colours. The paper is of a great quality and all the tabs are laminated to keep them in good condition.

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I use my agenda for a number of things, keeping track of school work, barista work, blogging things, social activities and general things like grocery lists.

I like to keep my agenda extra pretty with a set of colourful gel pens and a pack of Lilly Pulitzer stickers which also serve as great reminders for things like papers being due, or even just to call back home.

At the beginning of each month, I sit down with my monthly calendar page and plan out everything I can. From birthdays, to film screenings and of course – blog posts, I set up as much of my month as possible.

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Other than that I update the book at the end of every class, or whenever something new comes up on my schedule. The trick to good agenda keeping is to update and check constantly. There’s little point in writing all these things down if you don’t bother to check up!

Well, I’m off to a long lecture, an appointment with an academic advisor, and a run to the kitchen supply store so I’ll talk with you soon!

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Do you use a day planner? What are your best organizational tips?

This Weekend!

So I absolutely meant to post last Friday, as I was having a bakeathon for my upcoming weekend.

However, that upcoming weekend – which included; a bakeathon that lasted into the wee hours of the morning, two long barista shifts, and most importantly being on the crew for my first film of the year!

Expatriation is a film written and directed by my good friend Alex Laird. I’ll be editing the picture, and I already know it’s going to be fantastic! Because I’m editing the picture, I served as set caterer/photographer/general help/person who got in the way this weekend.

Here are some pictures from set this weekend!

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This weekend I learned a lot about filmmaking, in that way you only can understand from actually getting out and doing something.

More than that, I was reminded of the importance of “good sleep, good food, good thoughts”. This reminder that my parents like to throw at the end of conversations is a mantra for healthy living. Despite the stress of the weekend, I made a point of cooking as much of my own food as possible, sleeping well, taking the time to “recharge” myself and generally promoting self care.

I do know that there was a time in my life when this weekend would have been entirely unmanageable, and I’m proud that I can now enjoy hectic weekend like these.

With midterms and holidays on the horizons how are you managing the stress?

 

Let’s Talk About Trich

As you may already know the Trichotillomania Learning Center declared October 1-7 a week of awareness for Trichotillomania, Dermatillomania and related disorders.

Here on Cait and The Real World I am trying to do my part to raise awareness and hopefully let people know they are not alone. So without further ado…

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These are my shins, and this is how I cover them up.

I’m a blogger, a filmmaker, a bunny owner, a sister and a friend. I’m also a person who has been living with Trichotillomania and Dermatillomania for the past five years.

I know that these are not very well known disorders, so I’m going to try and give a crash course right now. It is Awareness Week!

Trichotillomania and Dermatillomania (henceforth referred to as Trich and Derma) are dual classified disorders on the Obsessive Compulsive and Impulse Control Spectrum.

What this means is that these conditions can be the facets of multiple disorders, they can exist on their own or be part of a larger condition like OCD.

Trich and Derma, usually manifest around the ages of 9-13 though it can appear at just about any age. Picking or pulling is usually “focused” on one major area, with smaller areas throughout the body. Most people with Trich or Derma will literally spend hours working on their patches, though they might not even realize it most of the time.

These conditions are difficult to treat, and there is still no “cure”. However treatments such as Habit Reversal Training, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and medication have proven to be effective.

If you’re struggling with either of these disorders, the first thing I want to stress is that you are not alone. There are so many people all over the world, some of us live in shame, others silently fight, and some speak out. But, no matter what the circumstances; most importantly we are out there.

If you’re looking for help, information or support the Trichotillomania Learning Center offers a wealth of resources. Please check them out here.

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