After two months of consistent weekly posts I expect you are now sitting in front of your computers waiting in wild anticipation for the next instalment in the wonderful adventures of the life of Erica… ONLY KIDDING! Rather, I hope that whilst I write this you are having a day that is magical in someway or another. And hopefully you have also realised that everyday is in fact magical and that everything around is magical, you just have to choose to open your eyes and see it. See? Magic. Everywhere.
WILW ED #8
This week I am…
Reading: Mind Body Green
If you don’t already follow Mind Body Green on Facebook then I suggest you change that right now… Off you go! I have been reading MBG articles since I first discovered way back when I had only just stumbled into the ‘health and wellness’ world; needless to say I loved it. MBG is one of the biggest online platforms around today that brings together articles from experts all over the world covering everything regarding health, wellness, mindfulness, exercise, relationships, lifestyle and many other awesome topics. I personally rarely scroll past an article without reading it, they are lovely bite-sized pieces, easy to read and often very powerful. I couldn’t even begin to convey to you how many times I have been struggling with something and the perfect MBG article has simply popped up on my newsfeed – it’s like they know exactly what I need to read. Put simply, MBG is an endless wealth of information that is great if you are feeling like an educational or inspiring read.
Listening to: Hounds Home Bound
For the second week in a row I went to a gig on Friday night, this time another local band by the name of Hounds Home Bound. Once again the pure talent and groovy tunes of such a young band blew me away; I seriously enjoyed it. They have a lovely folk/rock music feel that is both soothing and joyful, and they have just launched their newest EP. Plus they did a killer Fleetwood Mac cover, which I loved!
Watching: The Power of Vulnerability
In case you hadn’t already picked up on it, I really like Ted Talks. There is something so awesome about every single one that seems to give me a whole new perspective on the topic being discussed and I always feel just a little bit smarter or wiser for having watched them. Last week my housemate, who is studying to be a counsellor, shared with us her reflections on vulnerability and that lead me to watching this Ted Talk by Brené Browne on the Power of Vulnerability. Her book is one I have been wanting to read for some time (hopefully it will feature on here soon), but her Ted Talk alone was inspirational and incredible. I particularly loved how she took what could be considered the soft science of sociology and managed to extract real, conclusive data from her research. Her talk is funny, introspective, informative and powerful, because she allows herself to be vulnerable whilst talking about vulnerability – AMAZING.
This one is another I’ve had on my wall for several years, and as a recovering introvert (kidding – read this) it really resonates with me. I’ve spent so much time over the past four years looking inwards, trying to work myself out and in doing so I’ve spent a lot of time alone. This quote really summarises why I like my alone time, but also why it is so crucial even for highly social people. If you consider the fact that we are the sum total of the five people we spend the most time with, then you can appreciate the impact that the people around us can have on our personalities and habits. So why not make one of those five people you? I know plenty of people who actually very much dislike being alone, so I can understand that it is not as natural for them as it is for me. If you are one of those people, then I challenge you to spend some time alone, but really alone. Don’t distract yourself with TV, music or social media. Try just sitting and being, alone. What comes up? What do you think about? How comfortable do you feel? Are you suffering FOMO (fear of missing out) by being alone? This practice is a healthy and natural way to get to know yourself better and in my opinion, knowing yourself is a key step to evolving into the best version of you.
Eating: Lime Coconut Cheesecake
This cheesecake was one hell of a creation that I whipped up for a dinner party a few weeks ago. Despite the fact that I measured nothing and completely made it up on the spot (following only a few key raw cheesecake rules), it was delicious and everyone definitely enjoyed it, even my housemate who normally doesn’t like my ‘healthy’ foods. I can’t think of a better endorsement I can give you for this little beauty! Now, since I made it up, this recipe is more of a general guide… Try to cook intuitively and adjust quantities as required.
Lime Coconut Cheesecake (raw, vegan)
- 1 cup hazelnut meal
- 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil
- Zest of 1 lime
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 12 dates, soaked
- 2 cups cashews, soaked at least 6 hours
- 200mL (half a can) of coconut cream
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup rice malt syrup
- 1/2–1 tsp green stevia leaf powder (gives the cake colour and sweetness, but is super potent so go easy!)
- Shredded coconut, lime zest spirals & goji berries to decorate
- Soak dates in boiling water for about 10 minutes, until soft and hydrated. Drain, but keep water aside for later if needed.
- In a blender or food processor combine all the base ingredients until a sticky breadcrumb consistency is reached. If it is too dry try adding more coconut oil, or add some of the date water.
- Line a small round cake tin/spring-form tin with baking paper. Turn out the base mixture into the tray and press down firmly, ensuring that the surface is flat and smooth. Place in the fridge to set.
- In the blender/food processor add all of the filling ingredients. Start with just a pinch of stevia, as you can add more later. Blend until very smooth and creamy. It should be fairly thick; if it is too runny it won’t set properly. If this is the case, add some more coconut oil (this will help it set).
- Test some of the filling mixture and if you want it sweeter gradually add small (pinches) of stevia leaf powder until desired sweetness is reached. As I keep emphasising, you really don’t need a lot.
- Once you are happy with the flavour and sweetness, pour the filling mixture over the base and smooth out the top. Place in the fridge to set for at least eight hours (or chuck it in the freezer if you are in a hurry).
- Lastly, decorate with your desired toppings before serving. If you do freeze it, pull the cake out and put in the fridge about 2 hours prior to serving, so it isn’t rock solid!
Pondering: future adventures
Last Thursday I received some amazing news – my exchange application was accepted by McGill University in Montréal, Canada! So that means that now I can officially start planning my semester-long exchange program, plus my adventures after I finish the semester in December. I am SO incredibly excited, and grateful for that matter, and I have no doubt that I will keep you all in the loop throughout the whole process. I am even thinking of adding a travel section to Berry, Berry Happy – thoughts?
So far I haven’t done a whole lot, except booked my flights there (which is pretty exciting in itself). I am very much looking forward to immersing myself in the Quebecois culture, practicing my French and hopefully finding all the trendiest health food hangouts in the city!
I’ve done a little bit of Pilates in my time, as it often seems to be integrated into yoga classes, but over the past two weeks I have been trying going to pure Pilates classes. So far I have really been enjoying them, although there was one Reformer Pilates class that I swear almost killed me (riding home was a big ask after that one!). Pilates is an incredible whole body exercise that is particularly good for building core strength, which is crucial for protecting your lower back and thus preventing lower back pain. Aside from the core, your arms, glutes and legs also get a good workout too, which I can guarantee you will feel just a little bit the next day. If you don’t have access to a Pilates class, then I would recommend hitting up the YouTube channel Blogilates, which has heaps of great (and very short) Pilates workouts to get you toned and healthy in no time.
Aiming to: celebrate all the milestones (big and small)
The past week has been pretty incredible to say the least. So many things have happened to me and I’ve reached so many milestones, one of which was my exchange acceptance. I also finished off the last of my mid-semester tests on Thursday and received great results for another. However, as a chronic goal-post mover, come Friday night I was curled up in my room studying again without taking a moment to acknowledge all that I had achieved and truly celebrating some exciting achievements. Thankfully, my housemates know the kind of person I am and so they managed to pry me away from the books and get me downstairs to socialise (that sounds worse than it is, I swear I am a sociable person!). In that moment, I realised the importance of celebrating our small milestones just as much as our larger milestones. And so celebrate we did, and I ended up having a wonderful night; I got to see a great live gig, dance, let my hair down and met some pretty cool people. So worth it!
If, like me, you have a tendency to always focus on the next goal, I would encourage you to make time to celebrate all of your milestones – big and small. Maybe you just finished a uni assignment or a project at work, or you got complimented on a personal trait or skill. Perhaps you performed a random act of kindness or overcame a fear. In fact, I really don’t think there is anything that is too insignificant to celebrate and taking time to acknowledge these small wins is so important for keeping up your motivation and drive to achieve your bigger goals.
Grateful for: new experiences
Whilst I am an absolute believer in the importance and power of daily routines, I also know that it can be very easy to fall into a habitual routine in which you never challenge yourself, or go beyond your comfort zone and perhaps even end up falling into a rut. Like all things in life, I think it comes down to a balance of routine and new experiences. New experiences can be fun, exciting and adventurous, but often they are also nerve-wracking, scary and uncomfortable. Especially as adults I think we tend to develop an aversion to trying new things that might be a little bit scary or make us look silly. It is up to us to challenge ourselves and overcome those fears by realising that through new experiences we learn and grow. Perhaps you try something new and you don’t like it? That’s okay, what you learnt is that it is not for you. Perhaps you tried something new and you failed (or didn’t do it perfectly first go)? That’s okay too, it just means you need a little more practice. So go try something new, do something that scares you just a bit. Be grateful that no matter where you are in life there will always be new experiences (and challenges) to be explored, because life would be pretty darn boring if that weren’t the case.
On that note, my new experiences that I am grateful for this week include trying new gym classes, spontaneous outdoors adventures and eating the hottest curry of my life (that one was definitely scary).
Love Erica x