12 Things I’m Loving Lately

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Our last morning in Calgary started off on a great note.

That note was Eric’s cell phone alarm screeching at us to get to the airport.

Actually, I was already up. I’ve always been the annoying early riser, while he has always been the annoying “I hate mornings” person. We’ve reached a bitter conclusion. Neither one of us is going to change.

I was in the bathroom getting ready and I could hear the cringe-worthy alarm jingle (shudder) going off for what seemed like hours. How is he not awake yet? The sound got louder and louder until finally I heard a grumble and the alarm went off.

Finally, peace and quiet.

“Oh SHIT!!” Eric screamed from the bedroom.

“What’s wrong?” I screamed back like an 85 year old with a hearing aid.

Seconds later, Eric came into the bathroom clutching a glass of water in one hand and his cell phone in the other.

“Do you think your mom has a bag of rice I could use…?”

I knew where this was going. The disgruntled sleeper had turned off the phone alarm and then slid the phone – with his eyes closed – onto the edge of the nightstand. Only the nightstand turned out to be the EDGE OF A HUGE GLASS OF WATER.

Plop!

Being the great wife that I am, I could not stop laughing. It really made my day.

It turns out, the bag of dry rice trick worked (in the sense that his phone operates, but the screen jumbles up every now and then) and we got it through airport security without even raising an eyebrow.

This story has absolutely nothing to do with today’s post, except for the fact that it makes me happy. So do all of these things below.

1. Almond Dream “Ice Cream”

Finally, we have an almond based vegan ice cream to add to the coconut and soy based ice creams out there! While I do enjoy coconut-based ice creams, I find them incredibly rich and sometimes I just don’t want coconut! Almond Dream is lighter. It’s no where close to being as creamy as coconut ice creams – it has almost an icy and firm feel to it – but that didn’t stop me from eating half the container over the weekend. I hear they have other flavours such as chocolate and Praline Crunch. So far, I’ve only come across vanilla and chocolate in my neck of the woods.

Now all we need is an almond + coconut hybrid and we’re set.

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2. Breakfast Parfaits

When I’m not making Green Monsters, I’m enjoying vegan overnight oats and buckwheat parfaits for summer breakfasts (making them with Gena’s Banana Soft Serve is especially delicious). Parfaits are a great way to use up fresh summer fruit with minimal effort. Need one for the road? Just fill up a mason jar and bring a spoon.

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3. Wildwood Sprouted Organic Super Firm Tofu

My friend Heather told me about this Wildwood tofu a few months ago and I’ve been loving it ever since. The organic soybeans are sprouted making it easier to digest. They aren’t kidding when they say it’s super firm. Sometimes, I just rinse it and squeeze the block with a tea towel and proceed with cooking. It’s great when I don’t have time to press. Close runner up: Sol Organic’s Firm tofu.

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4. Dr. Bronner’s Magic Bar Soap in Lavender

I’m a huge lavender nut so this soap is right up my alley. It’s great in the shower with a big puff or simply used as a hand soap in the kitchen or bathroom. It’s like a mini spa treatment infusing the air with calming lavender. Mmm.

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5. Tonica Kombucha

I was never a big kombucha fan, but Ange got me hooked on this milder-tasting brand and I’ve enjoyed all of the flavours so far. It’s a refreshing treat on a hot day.

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6. Medjool Dates (2lb) from Costco

Costco carries medjool dates by the 2 pound box for about $8.99 here in Ontario. It’s about $3-4 dollars cheaper than what I’ve seen in local grocery stores.

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7. Kettle Brand Baked Salt and Vinegar Chips

I mentioned these a while back and I’ll say it again, I LOVE these chips! I will never buy the deep fried Kettle chips again now that I know how amazing the baked ones are. They are a bit thicker and much crispier than their regular chips, but I don’t mind. I’ve always been a huge salt & vinegar fan and this flavour doesn’t disappoint. Next on the list to try- BBQ. Did I mention a serving size is around 30-32 chips?

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8. Green Beaver “Apres-ski” Boreal Face Cream

Boy, do I love a great Canadian business, especially when they create quality beauty products using natural ingredients! Many of Green Beaver’s products are vegan and none of them are tested on animals. They have the largest “natural, eco-friendly and organic certified (EcoCert) product line in Canada”, according to their website. I love this Boreal Face Cream. I rub it into my face, neck, décolletage, and hands before bed and my skin is super soft in the morning.

I have naturally dry skin (even in the humid summer heat) and this moisturizer really does the trick. Now be warned – it’s THICK and heavy! At first, I was put off by this, but when I saw how good it worked – and reminded myself of the ingredient list – I figured I could live with it. Plus, I only use it before bed so the heavy feel doesn’t bother me when I’m asleep. I probably wouldn’t use this as a day cream unless my skin happened to be super dry during the winter. For now, nighttime use seems to be hydrating my skin more than enough.

I also use the SPF 15 daytime face cream. It’s decent for an all-natural cream, although it leaves a bit of a greasy feel after absorbing. All in all though, I love that I’m not rubbing harsh chemicals on my face. My advice is to test out the creams on your own skin prior to purchasing. For a list of Canadian retailers, see this list.

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9. Learn Food Photography Website

I’ve been doing a ton of reading about food photography lately. I just can’t get enough! This website called Learn Food Photography is a great resource for all things food photography and blogging. The first time I found it, I read articles for about 3 hours straight. Now only if it would rub off on me…

10. V. K. Rees Photography

Vanessa Rees is an incredibly talented and inspiring photographer. She shares her food, event, wedding, and portrait photography on her blog, V.K. Rees Photography. Be ready to drool in awe and find some yummy recipes at the same time. Plus, her adorable kitty Marshall is featured throughout the blog. Sketchie’s crushing big time.

11. Shark 2-in-1 Steam Vac

We bought this 2-in-1 steam vac due to all the wood floors in our new place. I wasn’t sure whether to buy it because I read some negative reviews, but I’m so glad I did. It works as a vacuum and floor steamer. The vacuum isn’t anything spectacular and it’s incredibly noisy, but it’s nice for quickly vacuuming the floor prior to steaming. The steamer uses filtered water (I like to add a few drops of essential oils too) and it makes the floor super shiny. The only thing I find it doesn’t do well is removing dried on dirt. A little bit of elbow grease before steaming will help it lift off easier though. I bought it on sale at Canadian Tire several months ago – these things are always on sale so keep your eyes peeled!

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12. Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Ok, I’m only halfway through this book, but I’m really enjoying it so far. It’s a memoir about Cheryl’s quest to hike part of the Pacific Crest Trail, as a single 26 year old, after experiencing a series of devastating events in her life. I’m dripping tears on one page, laughing like a crazy person on another, and in complete awe throughout her journey. I cannot wait to see how the story unfolds.

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Whew, I guess that about does it for now.

PS- How the heck is it July 18th already? This is the point each summer when a little panic sets in…

By the way, these products were purchased by me and are not sponsored in any way. Just giving my honest opinion about products I enjoy.

For my other round-up posts, see:

- 14 Foods I’m Loving Lately

and

- 7 Foods I’m Loving Lately

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{ 122 comments… read them below or add one }

Nayeon Kim July 18, 2012

YAY I’m the first commenter!!!

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Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) July 18, 2012

I have the summer off (teacher), and it always flies by soooooo quickly. I am sad that it is already July 18th. That is INSANE!

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table July 18, 2012

The rice thing really works?! I thought that was an old wives tale sort of thing… will keep that in mind!

I wish you could try this tofu we have in Atlanta. It’s made locally in ATL and it is the most delicious I’ve ever had. But I do enjoy the Wildwood too. :)

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Tracy July 18, 2012

I live in Atlanta, and I would love to know what this local tofu is?

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table July 18, 2012

It’s called The Soy shop. It’s only about $1.50 at Dekalb Farmer’s Market.

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Julie July 19, 2012

I can also vouch for the rice trick! Unfortunately I’ve had to use it on my daughter’s cell phone more than once! Grrr… >(

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Janae @ Bring-Joy July 18, 2012

My husband & I want to do the Pacific Crest Trail (well part of it) this summer in Washington state. It’s breathtaking, rigorous, just the kind of thing I’ve been itching to do for some time.

I also am a fan of Dr. Bronnor’s soaps. I do the liquid form. I tried the tea tree oil, too strong for me. Lavender is definitely my fave.

Thanks for all the great suggestions. (& sorry about Eric’s phone. that is a bummer!)

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Angela July 18, 2012

Amazing, I can imagine what an experience that would be!
I was just in this huge hiking superstore the other day and I was dreaming about going on a long distance hike someday. How long are you thinking of hiking for?

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Janae @ Bring-Joy July 18, 2012

Probably just 2 or 3 days, since it will be a part of a week long tour of Washington state. We have 4 kids, so getting babysitters for more than a week (plus I don’t think I could be away from them for more than a week!) would be a stretch. A few days of backpacking would be plenty for me, especially since I’ve never done it before!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) July 18, 2012

That sounds like the perfect amount of time actually! Good for you for giving it a shot. I’m sure it will be a trip to remember.

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Cait's Plate July 18, 2012

Loved this post! And costco sells dates?!?! There’s nothing better than dates by the pound! :)

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tamara July 18, 2012

My husband is the exact same way. I’ll be up for hours and his alarm will go off and just keep going off. How does he not HEAR IT?? I can’t STAND the sound of the alarm so I turn my off within milliseconds of it going off.

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Angela July 18, 2012

Same here…the sound makes me toes curl!

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Erica { EricaDHouse.com } July 18, 2012

My bf makes a breakfast parfait daily but I’m not quite as into the sweets early in the day. I do love a good parfait for breakfast or after a long run in Florida’s crazy humidity!

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The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh July 18, 2012

Thank him for giving you ammo to rib him for the next few years!

Thank you for reminding me I have dates I need to make energy bars with!

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Averie @ Averie Cooks July 18, 2012

That Dr. Bronner’s is a staple for me and I used to troll the learnfoodphotography site all the time.

And love medjools – pretty much love everything in this post!

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat July 18, 2012

Wooohooo for Tonica Kombucha!! I might actually have to pick some up on my way home tonight because It’s been far too long (aka like 2 weeks) since I’ve had any! And great mention on the Learn Food Photography site. I found it a little while ago and have been loving the tips. My time lately has been split between food blog and photo blog reading!

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Kerry July 18, 2012

I love Dr. Bronner’s lavender soap! I have it in liquid form, its good for multiple purposes and lasts forever! I need to find those S&V chips asap. Also that used to be my ringtone until I got an iPhone. Now mornings are much more pleasant.

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Victoria @ Green Plate Rule July 18, 2012

What a fun list! Lots of my favorite things on there as well. I was looking for a new book. I just started trail running so this sounds like a fun and inspirational read! Thanks!

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The healthy hipster July 18, 2012

Watch out! Once you go BBQ baked kettle chips you never go back ;)

They’re my absolute favourite road trip snack!

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Shira July 18, 2012

Love the Bronner’s soap! We grew up using it and it is simply the best! Now we take it camping or traveling in liquid form – it can be shampoo, laundry soap, body & dish soap all in one. It also gets stains out of almost anything :)
Great post! Love the shot of those dates!

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Angela July 18, 2012

That is such a great idea to bring the liquid soap on camping trips. I guess it’s true what they say – “all-in-1″ :)

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Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy July 18, 2012

Breakfast parfaits are featuring in a lot of my breakfasts this summer too. They are delicious!

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Lori July 18, 2012

LOVE that story with the phone- I would laugh my face off if my partner did that too and it would also make my day! hee hee. Great post all round!

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Lauren July 18, 2012

I have it on my to do list to ask for your favorite face creams and washes. I am so happy you posted it this :) Thank you!!

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Julie July 18, 2012

Love this post! Good list of random things that make you happy :) I am on a huge kombucha kick right now too!

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Holly July 18, 2012

I’ve found Green Beaver deodorant and lots of other natural products from an online shop based in Alberta – http://www.funkybugnaturals.com/

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Angela (Oh She Glows) July 18, 2012

Thanks for the tip :)

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Andrea July 18, 2012

I have the same steam mop! Love it! My husband and I have to flip a coin to see who gets to steam the floors this week! HAHA. Great idea with the essential oils! That would smell oh so good!

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K July 18, 2012

Love Dr. Bronner’s soaps- love the liquid lavender and any kind of kombucha!!
I have to try those baked chips, they sound great!

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Marissa@ohhhsolovely July 18, 2012

i’m a US girl, but i’ve been exposed to green beaver products & i absolutely love them! i’m trying to go much more natural with all my beauty & home products and this is a great company all around. i want to try their mint shampoo. i also would love to try the shark as the majority of the floors in my house are wood!

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kari July 18, 2012

Hi Marissa, i live in the US and i was just wondering where did you find the Green Beaver products? I would like to try them.

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Suz @ avocadoandbasil July 18, 2012

Thanks for the link to the food photography website, just what I’ve been looking for! Oh yes and completely agree on the baked kettle chips :)

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Kaila @healthyhelperblog! July 18, 2012

I have started seeing almond milk based icecream on store shelves lately but I didn’t think it would be very good…like creamy ya know? But a lot of people seem to really be liking it! I might have to give it a try!

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Liz @ Tip Top Shape July 18, 2012

I lllooovvveee Medjool dates. This post makes me want some!!

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Hunter July 18, 2012

Pardon me if you’ve mentioned it before and I’m being redundant, but have you ever tasted coconut water? I first dismissed it as part of the new gimmicky water trend, lumping it in with Vitamin Water and other power-waters that were somehow supposed to be more amazing than good old honest H20.
But then my pal had a Crohn’s attack and the accompanying electrolyte loss that comes without for various TMI reasons. But as a registered nutritionist she swears by the stuff and it was all she could keep down, and I sampled some of her stash and was instantly converted by the flavour. The healthy benefits are just a tasty bonus. And what with all your harsh weather (ie Ontario) running and doing stuff outside and whatnot, maybe you’d appreciate the hydrating effects of this stuff? Sorry if I sound like one of those spam messages. But it’s so good. Blue Monkey with pulp, dude. Your convenience store has it! Or other fancier brands. Just sayin, cause I am loving it now. (Also loving: falafels, kale, LIMA BEANS.)

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Lisa @ the raw serenity July 18, 2012

Great post!
That book is def going on my huge “to read” list. Still on the fifty shades books that everyone forced me to read because apparently I’m the only one that hasn’t.
I have never heard of the rice trick before! Will keep that in mind :)
X

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Dani July 18, 2012

Dr. Bronners is indeed the best. I use a couple drops of the liquid peppermint soap added to the bucket when mopping the floors. The peppermint scent keeps mice away and it smells yum! Also it is great in the shower post hot summer run….refreshing!

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Willow July 18, 2012

Great round-up! I already love so many of the things on your list. Great tip about the food photography blog, by the way – I’m heading over there now! :)

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Rose! July 18, 2012

do you read cheryl strayed’s advice column?! it’s INCREDIBLE. and life-changing.
http://therumpus.net/sections/dear-sugar/

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Angela (Oh She Glows) July 18, 2012

Hey Rose, NO I haven’t see it, but I will certainly check it out. Thanks!

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Andrea July 18, 2012

Yes!!! And a collection of Dear Sugar columns, called Tiny Beautiful Things, was just published last week. I just finished the book today. It is, indeed, life-changing.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) July 19, 2012

Oh good to know. I’ll be checking it out!

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The Blissful Baker July 18, 2012

That ice cream looks delicious! I need to find some of it and give it a whirl! :) Thanks for sharing

Be sure to check out my latest recipe, review and giveaway @ bakingblissful.blogspot.com

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laura July 18, 2012

I finished Wild a few days ago. I really loved it! So glad you are enjoying it too!

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morgan July 18, 2012

i’ve been dying to try the almond ice cream for a while now!
definitely given me the push!
and that book looks amazing

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Ashley July 18, 2012

Hands down my favorite tofu. – Love that soap! – We used to buy those dates but our Costco is 45min away and we canceled our membership. Such a great deal! – Give me those chips…now! – I’ve been looking for new face lotion, so I’ll have to check that out. – Someone recommended that book to me, and I think I might just read it next! – VK Rees is AMAZING. I’ve been obsessed for awhile now!!! – Thanks for the food photography link! I haven’t seen that!!

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Anna July 18, 2012

I love the lavender Dr. Bronner’s! It’s the best soup I think I’ve used in my memory.
Boyfriend and I also have the early riser/ late riser problem — with me being the former and he the latter. I like the think its one of my better qualities, though — I mean, I like to get up and make breakfast! Who can argue with that!

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Lauren @ La Dolce Pita July 18, 2012

I’m dying to read Wild – just waiting for someone to return it at my library and then it’s mine, all mine!

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Lisa July 18, 2012

I’m a morning person too; don’t even use an alarm, automatically wake up 5-6:00. I finished “Wild” last night & loved it. I’ve hiked part of the AppalachIan Trail; since I live in Georgia. Can’t even imagine hiking non-stop for months!

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Lisa July 18, 2012

Also can’t believe the date; my bday tomorrow! Ah!

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jo @ includingcake July 18, 2012

I’m always so jealous of the vegan varieties of foods you get over there…there is so little of that kind of thing in the UK :-( thanks for the ‘learn food photography’ link as i hadn’t come across that. That book sounds great too- I love hearing about inspriring people. Thank you.

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Elise July 18, 2012

You should definitely try the Barbeque flavored Kettle Baked Chips! I’m a huge fan of Barbeque chips (vegetarian living in Texas, I have to get my barbeque somehow!) and they are probably my favorite (even including regular fried chips)!

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Danielle July 18, 2012

I just finished “Wild” about a week ago! Let’s just say I’m already reading it for a second time. Definitely the best book I’ve read in awhile!

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