Blogging

Meeting the Maven: Toronto, Canada

This past weekend, I traveled to the Great North with Cassie to meet the Maven. Davida, Cassie and myself have been planning this trip for a while, so I was pretty darn excited to meet her! My family might have thought I was a little crazy to go to a different country and stay with someone who I met online, but whatever. It’s the 21st century, people.

So: Canada. It was my first time there, and I couldn’t have asked for a better, more welcoming experience. I have to say that Davida and her boyfriend are absolutely the most wonderful hosts. They made sure Cassie and I had everything we needed and were (not that this is a surprise, I guess) well-fed. One of the things I was anticipating most was trying out Davida’s food in-person. How could you not be pumped to try The Healthy Maven’s recipes cooked by the Maven herself? I’m going to include more about that in my Wednesday post, but for now I will preface it with she is as talented in the kitchen as her delicious pictures would lead you to believe.

Friday night, Cassie and I arrived fairly late in the evening thanks to a later start and some traffic we hadn’t anticipated. Davida cooked us up some dinner and then some of their friends came over for a bit. We hoped to go out on the town for a bit, but our plan got derailed when the place Davida wanted to go was closed. Regardless, we still had a lot of fun and went to bed pretty late!

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The next day was a whirlwind! Almost as soon as we woke up, we grabbed some coffee and headed out to St. Lawrence Market, which was a huge indoor marketplace where you could find everything from Artisan mustards (Cassie loved that – I think she tried almost every flavor. We’re both having a mustard moment) to fresh meats and fish. It reminded me of North Market in Columbus.

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After the market, we took a street car (super cool that they have street cars) to meet up with Sam for lunch! My actual lunch experience wasn’t that great, but it didn’t get in the way of enjoying talking with Sam, Cassie and Davida. Sam is so nice, and I wish she didn’t live so far away! I can’t wait to get together with her again.

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We walked around for a bit after lunch and shopped a bit. We stopped in a beautiful park for a while, and I enjoyed the Toronto people watching. The city seems really active and alive, so the park was packed.

By the time we got back to Davida’s apartment, I was hungry and tired, so we snacked a bit and relaxed before heading out to dinner and a movie. Believe me, I will gush about dinner on Wednesday. We ended up seeing Divergent, which I’d already seen, but I didn’t mind watching a second time. If you aren’t happy watching Theo James on-screen then there’s something wrong with you.

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Sunday morning, Davida made us pancakes to fuel us up for yoga. I’m pretty sure Cassie’s and my main request was to go to a yoga studio, and Davida delivered once again. I want to give YYoga a big thanks for a relaxing and powerful complimentary power class. I was impressed by the facilities – they were unlike anything I’ve seen around Pittsburgh thus far. They offered freshly brewed tea, had stunning washrooms and shower rooms, a sauna and several beautiful and modern classrooms.

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After class, Cassie and I packed up our things and headed back to the states (but not before a 40 minute detour to the Lululemon outlet – typical). Toronto is a vibrant and healthy city, so I’m sending a huge thank you (THANK YOU!) to Davida for being a great host and tour guide. Remember Davs, Pittsburgh is only a five hour drive away 😉

All the photos above are courtesy of Davida and Cassie. Thanks for helping a girl with no fancy camera out.

Question of the Day:
>> Have you ever been to Toronto? What’d ya think?
>> What do you think the healthiest city you’ve visited is?

Birthday Cake Nut Butter [Bloggy’s First Birthday]

It’s bloggy’s first birthday!

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One year ago today, I pushed publish on my very first post on Nutty for Life. I had no clue where I would take this space, but I’m so glad I stuck with it. The past few months have been some of the most rewarding for me, as I’ve made more connections and new friends. Coming here to chat with you every day is one of my favorite outlets. So thank you! You’re fab.

It wouldn’t be a birthday without presents, of course, so I whipped up something special this special day. Creamy, vanilla-y (that’s a word, right?) and nutty as ever, Birthday Cake Nut Butter is the perfect way to celebrate. Woo hoo!

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Birthday Cake Nut Butter

Makes about 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. raw cashews
  • 1 c. raw almonds
  • 1/4 c. coconut butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tsp. honey

Directions:

  1. Add nuts to a food processor or high-powered blender. Process until the mixture starts to form a ball (approx. four minutes).
  2. Break up ball and continue processing.
  3. Continue to alternate processing and scraping down sides until a smooth paste forms (in total, approx. 10 mintues).
  4. Add in remaining ingredients. Blend until completely smooth consistency is reached.
  5. Store in an airtight container.

Go ahead and lick the spatula. I totally did. Twice.

Question of the Day:
>> Have you ever had cashew butter?

My Best Year Yet [2013 in Review]

I know there are recaps going on everywhere, but I felt the need to partake in this because, honestly, 2013 was the best year of my life thus far. I’m not exaggerating when I say that; I feel extremely lucky to have experienced all that I did these past twelve months and to have made many new friends (including you!).

So raise up your green smoothies in celebration as I toast to 2013:

January
I bought my first pair of real running shoes in hopes of training for my first half-marathon.

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February
I started this blog. << first post hilariousness right there

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March
I celebrated my 21st year on the planet with the best parents ever.

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April
I completed my first half-marathon.

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And I partied it up at my cousin’s wedding with my family!

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May
I relived my childhood at Kennywood with my friend from birth.

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June
I started one of the best experiences of my life, my summer internship, with the never-ceasing support of my parents.

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July
I made a lifelong friend from my internship team who enjoys peanut butter and running and yoga and green smoothies just as much as me.

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August
I made the most of my time with two amazing new friends before they left Pittsburgh and our internship.

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One of my best babes was in tow on our family vacation.

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September
My grandparents finally got to visit my school.

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October
I visited a bucket list city – New Orleans – with a generous and hilarious friend.

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November
I ran the Pittsburgh Turkey Trot with my brother, something that I hope to do every year. Plus, I dyed my hair, which was a big risk for me!

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December
I saw an incredible show put on by none other than Justin Timberlake with my dad.

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And I spent some quality time with my bestie, continuing annual traditions.

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2013 was a year of incredible growth, and it brought me so much happiness. I made new friends, strengthened old friendships, and tried new things. I learned a lot about myself this year – what direction I want my career to take, what I am personally and professionally passionate about, and who is important to me. I realized that I love Pittsburgh and am okay with not jet-setting off to some faraway land after graduation. And finally, I learned that I am ready to move on to the next step of my life.

I don’t know what 2014 has in store for me, but I am hopeful.

See you next year. xo