An Ode to Running


For some reason I know that running will never not be a part of my life. It helps that I’ve grown up around so many runners. Heck, my mom first threatened to not date my dad unless he ran a marathon with her! Some of my earliest memories are of my mom coming home from long Sunday morning runs (you know the ones) and lifting me up on her feet in “airplane” while stretching out her hamstrings. Over the years, I went from being pushed around in a running stroller as an early riser baby, to cheering on my cousins in races, and eventually crossing the finish lines of my own half marathons. Looking back, running has just been there. It has been my way of coping, celebrating, thinking through, or just plain enjoying life. 

When I started at my current job at Export Development Canada, I was so happy when I realized I was surrounded by like-minded runners who thrive on getting together to work up a sweat and pound some pavement. With running groups heading out on the coldest winter days, and coworkers making their way to Parliament Hill for yoga during the scorching summer months, I knew I found my people.

In early March, a group of 11 of us are spreading our infectious love of exercise and heading down Guatemala with Impact Marathon. The organization aims to unite runners in areas of the world that need a little love. In partnership with local organizations, we will set out to support two United Nations Global Goals – Quality Education and Reduced Inequality. 

Here’s where I need your help. 

As much as our enthusiasm and will to help is crucial, what we really need is money. Even though our 21k run up a volcano (high altitude! uneven ground! hot temps!) is going to be one of the hardest things I'll ever overcome, it doesn't even come close to the struggle that some of the locals face every day. Every single dollar will go straight to the community, so please please donate what you can right here on our team page.

I can't wait to tell you about how it goes! We are going to be sleeping on an avocado farm with views of this volcano that's currently erupting (!!) and helping families with a bunch of different projects (like this neat initiative revamping local kitchens with safer, more sustainable, and efficient stoves).


Thank you for helping my team with this xoxoxo


Gaby


My Favourite Christmas Cookies


Christmas baking season is upon us!!! I love making massive batches of cookies and freezing them around the holidays and then whipping them out in the nick of time right before a work dinner/a brunch with friends/a cocktail party. Pop them into a fancy little treat bag and your loved ones will be beyond impressed and grateful for the gesture.

My two favourite recipes are Raspberry Linzer cookies and Ginger Molasses cookies. Although I'm the first to admit that I can get carried away with my food adventures, when it comes to Christmas baking, I'm all about easy, quick recipes. Turn up the tunes or put on a movie, and invite a friend over and you'll be surprised at how fast you end up with dozens of little buttery miracles just in time for the holidays.

Raspberry Linzer Cookies 


Ingredients

1 cup salted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
½ tsp salt
1 large egg
1 egg yolk 
¾ tsp vanilla
2½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
rapsberry jam


Preparation


  1. Cream together the butter, sugar, and salt in a mixer until the mixture becomes light and fluffy.
  2. Next, add the egg yolk, mix a little and then add in the other whole egg. Mix in the vanilla.
  3. Add the sifted flour and mix until well-combined.
  4. Now the next step is really important!! Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for at least an hour. I often do it the night before and then make the cookies the next morning to break up the baking process (cause I'm an old lady and sometimes I get tired baking). Or if you're in a big rush just pop the dough in the freezer for 20 minutes.
  5. When you're ready to bake the cookies let the dough come to room temperature for at least 10 minutes, then knead it to make it smooth.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Sprinkle some flour on your rolling surface and roll out the dough to ¼ inch thickness.
  7. Use cookie cutters to cut out your desired holiday shapes! Then place the cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  8. This next step is also really important, place the cookies on the sheet in the freezer for 10 minutes. This will make sure that the cookies keep their shape.
  9. Bake for 8-10 minutes depending on the size and shape of your cookies, but keep checking to make sure they haven't started to brown around the edges.
  10. Let them cool for a while before filling the bottoms with a dollop of raspberry jam and sealing the cookie with the top!!


Ginger Molasses Cookies

Ingredients

3/4 cup shortening
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon



Preparation


  1. Mix all ingredients together and form 1" balls.
  2. Roll in a small bowl of white sugar (not included in ingredients), and press lightly with a fork in a criss-cross.
  3. Bake at 350℉ for 8 minutes or until they crack. Don't over bake!!
  4. Using oven mitts, bang the pan on a counter so that the cookies flatten. This makes them really flat and chewy.

Happy baking! 

New York City Running Routes



Over Labour Day weekend I went on the most perfect trip to New York City. The thing is when I arrive in a new city, I only have one rule: No bad food shall be eaten. So over the years I have compiled lists and lists of restaurants, and coffee shops, and little hole in the wall ice cream places in cities all over the world.

At this point you may be fearing that I needed to roll home from said vacation but not to fear. The second reason I love travelling so much is the abundance of new running routes to indulge in. So while my eyes get to feast on new neighbourhoods, parks, and riverside trails, my body also gets a break from all the eating. Win win.

I've compiled a list of my must run routes I ran in New York along with a few photos I took en route if you would like to see...


1. Brooklyn Bridge & Dumbo

Take in the beauty of the Manhattan skyline by hitting up the network of breezy riverside paths along the Brooklyn side of the Hudson. Pass by Jane's Carousel and then head straight over the Brooklyn bridge into the city. You won't know whether it's your fast pace or the view that's taking your breath away!


2. Central Park

Arguably my favourite park in the world, Central Park has endless treelined paths winding past ponds, fountains, and monuments. Don't worry about taking a less travelled path and getting lost, there are maps everywhere. Hot tip: go early in the morning to avoid the hoards of tourists and ensure you see the park in all of its beauty.


3. West Village

West village is the neighbourhood of my dreams. You'll feel like you're going to run into Rachel and Ross as you sail by some of the city's most beautiful ivy clad brownstones and walk up apartments. The streets are narrow and criss cross throughout this area so don't expect to be going very fast, but well worth it for those hoping to get lost in day dreams of bumping into Carrie Bradshaw.


4. High Line and Hudson River Boardwalk

This is where you'll find the majority of runners in New York City and with reason! These paths are wide and breezy with a ton to look at, making them optimal for those long thought provoking sunrise jogs.

And a photo of me and my favourite travel buddy :) Thanks for eating an abnormal amount of avocado toast with me Sander. xox

Ice Cream Bucket List


It was my friend Pascale's birthday a little while ago and for her special day I gave her a little card with a sweet surprise on the inside. It's no secret that we both love ice cream so I dreamed up a map of the ultimate Ottawa ice cream bucket list! I figured I could turn her birthday into a lifestyle for all of summer 17 and treat her to 10 of the city's best ice cream spots.

I thought I would share the list if you would like to have a peak...

1. Pascale's Ice CreamStroll through Lansdowne Farmer's Market on a sunshiny day and enjoy some of Pascale's homemade ice cream. She has a stall set up with the loveliest flavours like Honey Ginger Rhubarb, Malted Milk Chocolate, and my favourite, Lavender.

2. Carp Custom CreameryTake a mini road trip to the nearby town of Carp to this classic ice cream counter. They have huge cones at a good price and tons of flavours. Plus they have a cute patio with picnic tables (also, did I mention the ICE CREAM TACOS!?!).

3. Merry DairyTweet the ice truck for a totally 21st century frozen custard experience, if you're lucky they'll come right to your door in the summertime! I also just found out they're opening a permanent location in Hintonburg.

4. McDonald'sPascale and I can attest that the best combo for a summer night is dancing at Babylon's 90s night and then post clubbing ice cream at McDonald's... for this one I'll have to put all my #shoplocal values aside! (side note: the new skor mcflurry is everything)

5. La CigaleTake a summer hike in Gatineau Park or go for an afternoon swim in Wakefield. On the way back to the Capital be sure to pop by La Cigale in Chelsea for mouthwatering homemade ice cream and waffle cones.

6. Strawberry BlondeGot a vegan in your life? Love animals? You're in luck! Strawberry Blonde has the smoothest vegan soft serve ice cream and all the baked goods you could ever dream of.

7. MooshuStop by this super sweet shop for a taste of Asian inspired ice cream with flavours like Hong Kong Milk Tea and Black Sesame. Mooshu has been named one of the trendiest/hipest/most instagrammable little eateries in town with its cute logo and ice cream wallpaper. They're homemade cones are also vegan + gluten free.

8. Piccolo GrandeOttawa has countless gelato places but Piccolo Grande has a special place in my heart because we used to walk here from my high school on warm early summer/late fall days. They also load on the gelato unlike most places which means it's likely the best bang for your buck.

9. Holland Cake & ShakeAfter picking up some fresh fruit and veg from the Parkdale Market, or strolling through Hintonburg, get some of Chef Holland's famous from-scratch soft serve. Devour it in a cone, sundae, shake, or paired with their beautiful cakes.

10. Beach ShackI love me a good picnic on the beach! Head to Mooney's Bay Beach and soak in some rays while snacking on some of Beach Shack's mouthwatering ice cream cones. With toppings like caramel corn and oreo you really can't go wrong.

Pascale and I re:how much we love ice cream  ↴



Although I listed 10 fun ice cream adventures above, I'd also like to give a special shoutout to Oat & Mill vegan ice cream that can be found in some local Metros, The Beachoners microcreamery near Britannia Beach, and the new Stella Luna location in Hintonburg. You can be sure to find me at these sweet spots on this summer's hot summer nights.

I'm Moving...


Guess what? I'm moving! I'm packing up my bags and making the big 4 kilometre move to an apartment downtown. The place is perfect with high ceilings, wood floors and big windows. Did I mention my bedroom looks out onto a castle?! Well kind of. It's also a 15 minute walk from my office and a 30 second walk away from my friends Matt and Sarah, and Isabelle. Yoga studios, parks, cute cafes, bike paths, oh my. I'm really excited to move in.

I'm even more pumped that I'm going to be living with my longtime best friend Maggie. We've survived living together abroad and suffered through many awkward high school phases together so I'm pretty sure we've passed the ultimate tests of friendship.

As I take on this classic #adulting milestone and move into my first apartment in Ottawa, I'm excited to share with you my many discoveries and musings.

My Favourite Non-Fiction Books



Today I am talking a little bit more about the business side of Breakfast & Business! Get ready guys, I'm trading in dinner parties and photos of pie for some #realtalk on one of my true passions: researching/reading about the soft side of business.

The other day I caught myself recommending the same four books yet again. Although I have enjoyed hundreds of cheesy beach reads that require absolutely no intellect, my favourite books have somehow ended up being the few non-fiction gems that I have come across. I have fallen in love with these books and I'm realizing that the ideas within their pages have often transformed into many of my fundamental beliefs about how I fit into the business world.

I would like to share my top fave reads:

1. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking
by Susan Cain

I first learned about Quiet when Susan Cain came to speak at my school during my first year of university. As she spoke about what it means to be an introvert in a world where being outgoing is encouraged, my fresh and receptive first year mind was blown. I finally felt understood. Like whaaatttt, I'm not the only one who can only truly recharge and feel grounded after some alone time locked in my room with a book??

In Quiet, Cain goes on to explain what it means to be an introvert as well as what we bring to the table as wise and empathetic individuals.

Here's the deal: I read this book five years ago and still think about it in my day to day life... woah #bookgoals.

If you are looking for a quick version of the book, Cain has also given a fantastic TED talk (I'm talking 15 million views) and her twitter page is bursting with thought provoking articles.

Pets > small talk 4ever&ever




2. Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace)
by Chade-Meng Tan

I was introduced to this amazing book in my favourite class of my undergrad. As part of my Interpersonal Skills class our goal for the semester was to better understand ourselves (#selfawareness) which then lead to a better understanding of how we work with others. Our main reference for the class was Chade-Meng Tan's Search Inside Yourself. 

Tan is a Google engineer that launched a program that revolutionized how people find happiness at work. The book is a page turner with relatable, easy to read breakdowns of mindfulness and emotional intelligence, two really big words in today's world of collaboration at work.

3. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
by Angela Duckworth

I often catch myself telling people that I'm not that smart, I'm just insanely hard working. Although it's not the most self confident statement, what I'm usually getting at is that you don't need an insane IQ level to be the top of your class or to get your dream job. Angela Duckworth's Grit delves into this topic with years of gripping research on how grit - made up of passion and perseverance - is really the main characteristic that will enable you to achieve amazing things.

The ideas in Grit are easily digestible with interviews from Will Smith and Woody Allen but at the same time are backed up with pages and pages of scientific evidence. If anything Grit is empowering!! It challenges conventional beliefs about the path to success and ultimately drives home the point that anything is possible if you work your ass off and remain passionate about your goals.

Duckworth also has a TED talk and brilliant twitter page if you want a quick snapshot of the essence of the book.

4. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
by Sheryl Sandberg

During my first ever job that exposed me to the world of human resources, I had the greatest mentor. Among all the incredible advice and guidance she gave me, she told me to read this book.

Lean In is written by Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook and overall badass business woman. Some of her insight about being a woman in the business world is so spot. I felt like she was sitting right there with me, coaching and empowering me to own my career. As I became aware of how I blamed external factors for my success (e.g. good teachers, easy test, luck...), over apologized in emails, or avoided conflict to ensure I was still well liked, I was shocked at the little things she pointed out that I could easily change to reach personal fulfillment at work.

In my senior year at university I somehow landed an interview at one of the top consulting firms in the world. As I dried my clammy palms and tried not to throw up from nervousness, all I could do was channel Sandberg's voice compelling me to lean in to my career. Even though I didn't get the job, I made it through the interview with mega confidence.

Halloween Costume Ideas


I'm not going to lie, I love Halloween. My inner soccer-mom-with-a-crafting-room comes to life as soon as mid October rolls around. If you're not convinced, just flashback to last year when I was drowning in midterms, essays, assignments, and planning a conference, I managed to hand sew on gold ribbons and buttons for my royal couple costume. #dedication

Below I've rounded up my top five costumes in case you need a little costume inspo this Halloween season.

1. Frat Boys

Arguably the easiest Halloween costume to throw together and excellent in groups, the frat boy ensemble made it acceptable to chug beer and call myself [Mack] for the night. You better believe there was a lot of dabbing on the dance floor.

What you need:
Shorts, button down shirt, baseball cap, red solo cup in hand, loud voice for yelling out fraternity cheers. Optional: large cardboard greek letters for holding and small printed out greek letters for sticking on your shirt.


2. Whoopee Cushion

(the letters aren't backwards IRL, this was a self timer....... no comment)
Definitely not your sexy kitten seeing as I first wore this in grade 7, this costume is pretty awesome. In all honesty, I'm still bitter that I came second to the kid dressed up as a clown in the costume contest. A clown? How original! The whoopee cushion costume is so comfortable and warm if you're going to be outside. Probably not the best if you're going to be inside in a packed house party.

What you need:
Large quantities of pink felt, a black sharpie, and a mother with sick sewing skills. Yes, my wonderful mother just threw this costume together sans pattern. 


3. Royal Couple

A note to all DIY costume makers: it's seven million times easier to make your costume look realistic if you have a picture to base it off of. My friend Elizabeth and I had a blast in these costumes (not pictured are our friends dressed up as lady Di, Prince Philip, Queen E, Pippa Middleton, and even baby Charlotte). Did I say I was committed to Halloween or did I say it??

What you need:
A picture of the royal family, a trip to dollarama to buy ALL the ribbons and gold buttons, a mini sewing kit, and some random clothing that looks somewhat suit ish/something a royal would wear.

4. Tooth Fairy and Toothpaste

I can't even count the amount of times my friend Maggie and I have gone out wearing couples costumes. Who said you need a significant other to pull off great paired costumes??

What you need:
For the fairy - white tutu and a toothbrush and/or wand. Optional wings and crown.
For the toothpaste - a large white sheet sewn in a tube shape and a steady hand for painting on the logo.

5. Martha Stewart

My girl Martha has been an inspiration of mine for years and what better way to pay tribute to your idols than to dress up as them for Halloween! This was kind of a low key costume but it gave me the opportunity to walk around all day in khakis with a plate of brownies.

What you need:
Preferably a blonde bob, khakis, a pastel button down, an apron, and handcuffs (too soon, Martha?). Optional: Baked goods to hand out.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN KIDS!!!!!!! 

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