There are things that bring us all happiness in our lives. It could be a quiet moment, or a few hours with a really good book. For some it could be a run in the woods, or a call from a good friend. For me, I can always use a good laugh, and luckily there is no lack of that in my life. Continue reading
Tag Archives: inspiration
“Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair…”
~ Susan Polis Schutz
Alas it does seem a while since I posted, bonjour everyone!
Truth be told, it’s been somewhat challenging to blog from the road here, as time inside is limited and my mind is flooded with new sensations, views, ideas, and inspiration, none of which have solidified enough to properly put to words.
It is also (put more simply) that I am (and for the first time in a long time and maybe actually ever) in pure honest vacation mode, and my mind has turned off (mostly) everything.
All to make room for the new.
Here, in Provence (where we arrived Friday after a few glorious days in Burgundy), I was treated Sunday to my very first Provencal market experience, and what a treat that was!
The adorable and ancient village where we are based, called L’isle Sur La Sorgue, is somewhat popular for its markets, most notably antiques.
There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
~ William Shakespeare, Hamlet
Provence itself as a much larger area, (I just read in my French history book) has been celebrated since the Roman times for its particularly good fresh produce.
With the area being somewhat continually drenched in hot sun (it has been between 35 and 40 degrees steady since we arrived), one would think it obvious that this food would be good, and I had heard that indeed, it was.
But I was not prepared for this.
There are simply no words that could adequately describe the taste of the food that grows here, for this is (for any fruit and vegetable lover) a total mecca.
So in the absence of new recipes, I do hope you’ll enjoy a little tour of the town and the market with me here – as I’ve tried to do it justice, but I’ll let you be the judge
Life isn’t as serious as the mind makes it out to be.
~ Eckhart Tolle
Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose.
~ Eckhart Tolle
I am quite sure I read there were over 300 stalls at this market on Sunday, and judging by the fact that we couldn’t even see it all, I believe it.
This little village, with its narrow ancient streets, transformed into a bustling shopping zone with sellers & producers offering everything from soap, to clothing, records, antiques, jewellery, shoes, bags, scarves, spices, and of course food.
Oh, the glorious food.
Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.
Forget every stereotype you’ve ever heard about the French being anything less than polite. Here, they are warm, and excited to see visitors delight in their hard work. In fact, here in the south, the people are downright wonderful.
There are so many characters in a small village like this. And their food, their food.
It is truly sublime, not to mention very cheap (I’ll share more in my next post on just how inexpensive it really is).
Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.
~ William Shakespeare, Shakespeare’s Sonnets
In my next post I’ll tell you the top foods we’ve been enjoying here, especially since arriving here in Provence where we’ve got a full functioning kitchen, a barbeque, and an outdoor eating area to enjoy the food and the company under the open skies.
After Paris, and then a few days in hotel in Beaune, we are happy to be enjoying a lovely amount of space here, and are taking advantage of the fresh food & views available right around the corner.
L’espoir fait vivre.
~ French Proverb, “Where there’s life, there’s hope.”
We’ve got just a few more days here, so the likelihood that I’ll get another post out before the end of this trip is quite small, but you never know – I’ll have months of inspiration to share and enjoy from the perspective of life at home.
But not just yet!
From here, we head south for a night to enjoy the ocean before returning to Paris for the last two nights – we head home Monday. I hope you all are enjoying the final weeks of summer, and I’ll look forward to catching up soon!
- If you traveled to Provence, what would be on your list to eat?
Let us know, and thanks for joining me!
Yours in Less,
Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.
~ Mahatma Gandhi
I went, I saw, I ate, I reveled. I went home.
Freshly back from a visit to the country, my senses are still reeling from the sights and sounds of water, birds, soft grass, good clean food, laughter and plenty of pure unadulterated stillness.
A typical weekend visit to the family home means (weather permitting) farmer’s market visits, long runs in the quiet breezy air, and plenty of ocean-side time to the sounds of lapping water and the odd speed boat off in the far salty distance.
There, my phone doesn’t work, and neither do I.
This time of year, there is bounty in the gardens. Meals come from the yard and ingredients are picked not days, and not hours, but just minutes before preparing (and eating of course!).
Back home during the growing season, planning meals is as much about what is ready as it is about what your appetite tells you (actually quite a bit more).
Peas come and go for three weeks only, the strawberries show their bright faces only long enough to remember their soft red cheeks, and (thankfully) the kale grows for many prosperous and green months on end.
It’s a different (and refreshing) way to look at food.
I hope you’ll humor me as we walk through the garden and take (just a few) extra moments of island time.
Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.
~ Chinese Proverb
I always start by removing my shoes. The grass feels better that way, and somehow, everything seems just that much more beautiful. And real. Something about dirt in my toes.
This simple example (to me) embodies the ‘less is more’ lifestyle with crystal clarity – enjoying what there is when it is and making it last.
I won’t try to deny these strawberries were most thoroughly enjoyed. Yes, all 5 of them.
Whenever you are sincerely pleased, you are nourished.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
A quick (slightly disappointing) visit to the local grocery store offers a stark contrast to the bounty that is seen on display at the Farmer’s Market.
There at the market you can meet the guys who make your white chocolate scones and work through the night to make your loaf of daily bread.
Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
~ Michael Pollan
It brings a new appreciation for where your food comes from – to see the hands that create the food for your nourishment and to lay eyes on the mouths that smile from a life of honest work.
For those of us who are blessed to live where produce grows in abundance, it seems an easy choice to buy (and eat) local.
Here in the city if I miss the Farmer’s Market, I’ve got a great grocery store in just about every neighborhood I can hit up as I need.
In many smaller communities this often isn’t the case. So more and more communities are relying on themselves, and on each other.
There are many communities across the globe who don’t have this…..yet.
After a visit like this, I return feeling more resolved than ever to work towards ways to bring food security to everyday people. Like me, (maybe) you, and (maybe) our neighbors.
There is just too much capability for abundance not to.
It is not always the same thing to be a good man and a good citizen.
It seems so easy.
1. Grow food.
You need soil. You need seeds. Add a little sunshine and diligent watering and watch it grow.
I didn’t get my veggie garden in this year, as I mentioned there is just so much abundance all around me, there is no urgent reason not to support those who are working hard to produce amazing food for the region right now. It’s on the list, but for now I am happy to support those who are already in the game.
2. Cook it.
Prepare your meals with love. Plan around what there is. Use what you have, and what you can reasonably afford.
Maybe even tuck (just a little) away for someone else. Who knows? It’s all up to you, and to us as a whole, if we decide.
3. Eat it.
Eat with mindfulness if you can. Chew with gratitude. Swallow with awareness, and look your meal-mates in the eye. Talk with one another. Fully be. Wherever it is you may be.
4. Be nourished.
Being nourished is about so much more than just good food. Start with a helping of healthy, homemade vegetables & proteins, add a generous sprinkle of gratitude & and a moderate side of humility, and enjoy the fruits of your (or someone else’s) labor. After all, it is surely delicious. Isn’t it?
These are the simple things we can do.
From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.
~ Arthur Ashe
I want to take a moment to thank all of the supporters of this blog. Having such a supportive group of readers has made this whole project take on a completely new life. This isn’t just my project anymore – I really feel that it’s ours.
I have been touched to receive notes from a few of you looking to connect about health topics ranging from the importance of fitness to a holistic lifestyle (so true – link to Susan’s site here) – to the importance of maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle for those living with terminal illnesses such as cancer (link to Jillian’s blog here).
All of you have such amazing stories to tell and I am happy to do what I can to bring awareness to wellness initiatives everywhere.
But for now, let’s eat, and take off our shoes.
We all have things we do to escape and break what can seem like difficult patterns or routines we are stuck in – or simply just to get away. I’d love to hear what you do to step away.
- Are you a garden lover?
- Where do you take your shoes off and really relax?
For now, let’s eat well, and enjoy!
Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.
~ Muhammad Ali
Next up I’ve got a super delicious chickpea salad in the wings – you’ll want to catch this one it is that delicious! Wishing you all a super fabulous week!
Yours in Less,
Life is a journey, not a destination.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Holla friends and bloggers! It’s so great to be baaaack!
I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful few days over the weekend! As for us, we took a few extra days to enjoy the Canadian holiday that just passed and celebrated with the first road trip of the summer season.
We love to road trip!
Ah, open space, open roads, and open minds.
Road trips are not for everyone, and I know a few people who simply don’t enjoy time cooped up in a car for hours on end. With that, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite ‘more’ ways to make road travel (just a little) ‘less’ stressful, and maybe (just a little) more enjoyable.
Of course, if you are a lover of the open road like we are, I’d love to hear your tips!
Here are a few of our faves…
Eat breakfast. Eat it before you go, or pack it and take it with you.
Just as you wouldn’t set off for the highway without a full tank of gas, its important to start the trip with a good full tummy!
So whether it’s a bowl of oatmeal, a piece of toast, or a yummy green smoothie (my next post), enjoy it before you head off.
Or, simply throw your smoothie into a clean mason jar and you are good to go for whenever you do get hungry!
The only journey is the one within.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
Easy to eat and clean up healthy snacks are best – and are always appreciated as well!
Our faves are lots of raw veggies, PB&J sandwiches, bagels, jujubes, and easy fruits like apples and oranges.
Nothing feels as good as being prepared, and I love pulling the good stuff out of the bag and smiling while they chow down
Take lots of fresh water. Staying well hydrated anytime is key, and especially on the road (even if it does mean more annoying pee breaks).
Keeping hydrated ensures you arrive at your destination fresh and ready, instead of dry and wilted.
Water helps with alertness too (for the driver). So pack lots of the cold stuff just to be safe, and pee breaks are always a nice excuse to hit another view-point!
When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.
~ Benjamin Franklin
Cover your bases. Before leaving for the road, make sure you’ve got enough supplies to keep everyone happy….toilet paper, paper towel, tea towels for extra spills, plastic bags, hand sanitizer, gravol, and pillows & blankets for those who might sleep in the back…..or the front….always me on the way home!
Remember to love the driver. I made a rule years ago to honor the driver that got me somewhere. It’s super corny, but I know my driving hubby likes a little of that love, and I like to give it.
The open road can be harsh, and driving is stressful. I try to remember the driver, to thank them, and to take care of them. So whether it’s a little neck massage, an arm scratch, a well-timed Altoid, or even just a genuine ‘thank you’ – a little goes a long way, even if it is just a little gesture.
Take the opportunity to breathe (or not). Anyone tried mindful breathing on the road? It’s a great time to focus on breath and calm the self for the long road ahead. Just a few deep breaths to start the trip and you might relax (just a little) more.
Now wouldn’t that be swell?
Smile, breathe and go slowly.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Get ready to be inspired. My favorite part of the open road is the possibility ahead, especially at the start of a trip!
With all the promise of a few days away, comes an unknown that brings us joy and maybe (just a little) hope. Hope that we’ll see and do things that will bring us joy.
Hope in the memories we’ll make and the sights that we’ll see. Notebooks, cameras, books and music. Anything to inspire and delight!
The world is ours to see.
Strong and content I travel the open road.
~ Walt Whitman
With this view, I am sure you can imagine we didn’t leave much, and arriving there was pretty sweet indeed.
We had a great time with old friends, and it was surely worth the drive.
The meals weren’t half bad either, as you can see from these shots of the wonderfully bustling farmer’s market
Are you a fan of travel or road trips?
- What are your favorite travel snacks?
In my next post I’ll be sharing with you my latest green smoothie (pictured here today), and I am so thrilled to have heard from those of you who had success with some of the recent IPOM recipes!
Thank you for your wonderful comments, support, and feedback – I always love to hear from you
Wishing you all a super wonderful week!
Yours in Less,
Travel is always an adventure, right?
While it may have been work travel, it’s still pretty sweet to get out and enjoy a new city when the opportunity presents itself, especially when it’s a gem like Toronto.
I grew up visiting family in this city (I have always been a West Coast girl) and have many fond memories of it.
Toronto is where I got my ears pierced (behind my parents backs), where I first rode public transit on my own, and where the many colorful stories of my immediate family history originated (of which there are so, so many).
Turns out it’s still a pretty cool place. It may not have the hills, the ocean, and the ozonated air like home does (how many great cities actually do?), but it’s got its charms.
Having visited a lot of coffee shops in my life (what can I say – it’s my job!), Toronto has a little something special going on as far as the local coffee scene.
Add to that the bustling, gritty charm of Kensington Market, the gorgeous grounds of the University of Toronto, and the many great restaurants that pop up out of no where, and downtown is not a bad place to traipse around.
Progress always involves risks. You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.
~Frederick B. Wilcox
IPOM is certainly not a travel blog, but it is a place to celebrate the little things, and traveling is a bit of treat (IMO), whether work related or not (unless it isn’t).
Here are just a few of the moments I snuck in between more serious tasks.
Thanks for joining me, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
As always, I am a total nerd for market style food shots. Lettuce and live herbs outside the convenience store on College Street? Why not?
If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.
The same goes for these apples, proving there is always a healthy alternative within reach in big cities.
It’s not Whole Foods, but it might just be as good (or maybe better).
A stroll through Kensington yielded a visit to a very inspiring and beautiful store called Good Egg.
I could have spent a week in there looking at food, cooking, and agriculture (the list goes on) books, drooling over their refined selection of kitchen stuff, and generally trying to memorize everything about it so I could open my own here at home. I am always dreaming.
Listen to the color of your dreams.
~ The Beatles
Seriously. I was so, totally in love.
I’ve said before that grocery stores are my happy place.
Well, I’d like to take that a step further and say that outdoor vegetable markets are my ultra happy place!
Baskets of gorgeous, bright fruits and vegetables are always a feast for the eyes and this stall at Kensington Market was no exception.
My husband thinks I am downright nuts on account of this (always has).
I maintain that’s just a part of my charm.
It was gorgeous, and a breath of fresh air in the middle of town.
Artisans are everywhere in this city, from behind the espresso machine, to behind the roaster, to behind the glass windows of the local flower shop.
I am a sucker for roses, especially this antique pink. This lovely arrangement stopped my breath at a little shop called Jaiden’s Petals on Ossington, I loved the sparse interior and the taste of the flower selection and merchandising in there.
Are you a sucker for flowers like me?
Catching a spot of sunshine was easy on the patio at Mercury Espresso bar in Leslieville.
Just looking at the seats made me happy. Imagine once I sat down
We also visited Te Aro, a new roaster from New Zealand doing superb things with coffee here in Canada.
I was so inspired there I bought myself a Chemex coffee maker and risked the trip home in my luggage (not that I couldn’t have picked one up here at home).
It totally made it unscathed – and I am now on the hunt for the right filter (thinking of the Coava cone) and a new grinder (considering a hand grinder for this).
Visiting the Junction, we headed to Crema Coffee, and a stop at a little shop getting a tremendous amount of buzz from locals and folks here at home – Mjolk - I’ll let you discover them here – is a pretty amazing store.
Honestly, I wasn’t feeling rich enough to afford anything in there (and if I could have would not have risked trying to get it home unbroken), but it’s worth checking out if you are at all interested. These guys have a totally cool blog too, that is super styley and worth a look at if you are inclined!
The street art is pretty prevalent, and I love the bright vibes and loose feel to this. Kinda makes you want to dance in the streets a little!
Dance is the hidden language of the soul.
- Martha Graham
Me and my buddy dressed identically.
Imagine us looking each other up and down at 8 in the morning. Ridiculous.
There were a lot of super fun highlights. Great dinners with great company at Delux and Gusto, and proof that I am not the only vegetable nerd around that loves a good raw kale salad and shaved brussels sprouts with vinaigrette.
My fave moment of all?
Training for Paris, of course!
Returning home has been fabulous, and the weekend was spent enjoying the pleasures and comforts of home, complete with plenty of time in the kitchen
On that note – I’m going to leave you with an invitation to a little party coming up!
Annie over at an unrefined vegan has completely blown me away by arranging a blogging feast for this coming Saturday, May 12th.
Many of you are attending, but for those who wish to join us for the feast, there will be 60 bloggers taking part with 60 vegan dishes prepared just for the party – not all of the bloggers are strict vegans (including yours truly) but the deal is the dish for this little shindig has to be.
So watch for it! I am looking forward to it and am super excited to see what everyone has in store (and I am pretty excited to share mine!).
Why not go out on a limb? Isn’t that where the fruit is?
~ Frank Scully
So thanks to Annie for her amazing effort in putting this all together, and to all the blogging buds far and wide taking part!
Here’s wishing you all a super fab Monday!
Welcome to all the new IPOM readers this week, I am so happy to have you here, and I hope you’ll join us in the conversation too!
- Are you a potluck fan?
- What’s your favorite potluck dish?
- Anyone out there from Toronto (I know a few of you are!)
- Anyone make the kale salad over the weekend?
Let us know how you all are doing!
Your comments are always welcome here with open arms.
Yours in Less,