Category Archives: Hope

A New Years Post, Less is More Style.

Paris Lover's Bridge Pont Des Arts | IPOM

So I love the end of the year, and subsequently the beginning of a new one. (It wasn’t always this way).

Is there anyone else out there who feels the way I do?

I know it is maybe a little cliche, and I am fully aware of the many out there who might point out that this time of year should be no different from any other time of year. A time to maybe set some goals, a time to reflect on the year that past, a time to plan your triumph, and all too familiar for many, a time to fall short on some of those well-meaning goals we set for ourselves.

To them I say, they are all 100% right.

French United Nations Paris | IPOM

I was recently reminded of how each new second is a completely clean & brand new one, one that has never happened before. A simple thought for sure. There really is no time like right now to look around, count our blessings, and think critically about what is working for us and what is not. Why wait for a certain time of year?

As I get older, I realize that the start of each new year does represent certain things to me, and that the power that a clean slate brings is quite wonderful to embrace. I often choose a word or two that will represent what I’d like to focus on (I already have mine for the year).

Versailles Shop Bathroon Paris, France | IPOM

Never a bad time to reflect. Each moment presents itself new.

3 years ago I was struggling with a deep dissatisfaction that I couldn’t put a finger on, I had a compulsion that was out of control and desires that could never be filled (I wrote about it here and here). It was insane and unreasonable, but all too true. Things needed to change.

Two years ago I knew changes were coming, and I was excited. The search had begun, and I had no idea how or when I would find my next project. I owe huge gratitude to those who helped bring it on!

One year ago I had started on the journey. It was exhilarating and completely terrifying all at the same time.

This year, more than ever before, I feel so thankful and hopeful for both this past year AND the coming year.

This year brought this blog, sharing good food with those who have less & a re-ignited connection to the food that fuels us. It also brought a super warm and satisfying connection with ALL OF YOU. Truly, it has been so much fun, so thank you to each and every one of you for making this year truly special! πŸ™‚

Cassis, France | IPOM

Whether you have commented, emailed, called, texted, spoken to me, (perhaps the best) passed me a sly comment at the dinner table about a recipe you’ve tried, or made a generous donation or volunteered your time, you’ve all made it a year to remember!

  • What are your thoughts on creating goals for a New Year? Do you do it?
  • Is there anything you accomplished in the past year that you are especially proud of?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts, and best wishes to all for a safe & happy start to 2013! I owe you guys a cookie recipe I promised, but I am thinking that might have to wait until next Christmas….what do you think? Something more to look forward to is always a good thing!

Yours in Less,

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Filed under Aspirations, Going Without, Happiness, Health, Hope, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Success, Sweet Treats

In Pursuit of (Daily) Happiness. What’s on Your List?

Cassis, France | IPOM

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.

I was at the gym this week, doing my thing on the stair master & catching up on some (mindless but wonderful) magazine reading (this is one of my happy places). In this month’s issue of Canadian FASHION, there is a page dedicated to New Year’s Resolutions (after all, ’tis the season). On this page, a few celebrity clothing designers wax about their goals for the coming year.

There was one I read that particularly struck a chord with me (I love those moments).

“I want to create a ‘happy list’ and encourage my daughters to make their own. A happy list is a list of what quickly and easily puts a smile on my face, like a bubble bath. I will make sure to do at least one of those things every day.”

~ Rachel Roy

Tofino - Photo by Niko Pavlo

Photo by Niko Pavlo

An amazing and simple concept, and one that can shockingly fall by the wayside all too easily sometimes. So in my own pursuit of more (happiness, purpose, substance), it strikes me that this all too simple idea simply must factor not just into the bigger picture of life, but into each and every day of my existence (I’ve personally been working on this for a long while).

So, if you’ll oblige, here are 12 things I would add to my daily ‘happy list’ – it amazes to think that these are actually at times hard to do. I’d LOVE to hear what would be on all of yours!

Here goes my 12 daily bits of happiness…

  1. A long run in the cold air
  2. An entire day or evening with my family ~ with all of my technology turned off & tucked away out of sight & out of mind
  3. A long walk with a loved one (or two)
  4. Giving something away
  5. A good meal on a truly hungry stomach
  6. Cooking in the kitchen with a favorite record on
  7. A glass of wine on the couch with my husband (love that guy) with a good record on
  8. An afternoon in the garden with my bare hands in the soil
  9. A hot cup of tea, and a moment to just sit still in the quiet
  10. A hot aromatherapy bubble bath (thanks Rachel)
  11. A few deep breaths
  12. A ride though the city on my old creaky bike (usually with the hubby ~ he makes me wear a helmet when I ride alone)

Tofino - Image by Niko Pavlo

It seems so simple, but really the best things in life really always are. So that’s my list off the top of my head ~ what’s on the top of yours? πŸ™‚

As we move into the final push of the Christmas season, I am struggling to feel as though I really need anything (I really don’t). Everything I really need is already right in front of me, or within me, and I just need to make them happen, every day. To me that is an empowering thought.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic ~ and thanks for reading, as always!

Yours in Less,

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Filed under Happiness, Health, Hope, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Rejuvenation, Success

True Storytelling: A Not So Fast Going Without Story

Time for some more storytelling. This is our story, after all.

The day was April 16, 2011. That was the day I started fasting once a week and giving the value of what I didn’t consume to those who have less.

Not So Fast began just a few days after the idea came to me, and I knew it would be a long process of putting this whole beautiful thing together, but I wanted to start right away.

Since that very first day, a few (awesome) things have gone down. A blog or two, some great discussions, a few meetings, some great food, and all of you (wonderful readers and friends -xxx)!

But enough about me.

I am honored today (back to a new recipe tomorrow!) to send you over to Somer’s blog to read her story and to see how easily a simple concept can bring beautiful people together from all over this big, beautiful world.

So head on over to see Somer, she is one amazing woman with one amazing story. Storytelling like this is just too good to miss.

If you’d like to get involved, feel free to drop me a line at shira@wearenotsofast.org.

I’d love to hear from you!

A HUGE thank you to all who so generously donated to our cause this past two weeks, we are honored by your actions and look forward to sharing even more (in less). Our second cooking class kicks off this week, so stay tuned!

Tomorrow I’ll be back with a sweet new recipe! πŸ™‚

Yours in (just a little) Less,

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Filed under discipline, Fasting, Food, Going Without, Happiness, Health, Hope, Inspiration, Non-Profit Organization, Not So Fast, Success, Victory

True Stories: My Shopping Addiction & The Healing Process

A quick break for some storytelling.

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.

~ Confucius

True story: I love food.

I love creating food, serving food, eating food, and in general sharing the great wealth of variety & goodness we have at our fingertips.

But I love other things too.

For instance, I love shoes. And clothes. And jackets and handbags and designer lipstick.

For those of you who know (just a little) about IPOM, you may have read (at some point) my story here on my About page. The real reason I am here today, writing this blog, having started a charity from no more than a passing idea, is because just over 2 years ago I overcame a pretty big issue: a compulsive and destructive addiction to shopping.

And no, I don’t mean to cocoa nibs and kale πŸ™‚

You see, after reaching a certain level of accomplishment in my life (kids, marriage, work, home, renovated kitchen, two cars), I was at a point where I didn’t know what mountain was left still to climb.

I had it good, and it was time to show it, no? After all, isn’t that what you do after spending your life attaining all the things in life we are supposed to want?

I haven’t led a typical life, that’s for sure.

My story is long and varied for a woman of 35 and has many stories (not all of them good). I didn’t set out to have these things, but I consider myself beyond blessed to have been given them. I don’t plan to share too much here on this blog, but I do promise that one day I will, somewhere soon. When the time and place are right.

But back to that status thing. I had two healthy kids in school, a good job, and a kitchen worthy of magazine covers (I stole my ideas all from those covers and it turned out pretty good).

So I set about decorating my physical frame with beautiful things. In some cases (well, most cases), I did it with money I didn’t yet have, and with an openness that didn’t exist.

There was a period there where you could have asked me ‘What’s in the wings?’ – and I would have had at least one (or two or three) expensive items either on layaway in store or hiding in a closet deep in my basement somewhere, hidden from my husband, but secretly known to me, the shopkeepers, and that Visa no one else in my house knew about.

Acquiring nice things became a game between me and my scheming mind, and once I acquired one and successfully integrated it into the mix (‘What, this old thing?’), I soon would lose the rush and set my sights on what I could focus all of my powers on to get next.

Addiction. It’s not pretty.

Knowing myself as the addictive person that I am meant I knew I had a problem.

But like most of us, when we know we want to change something, is it easy to change?

So that brings us here. To be truthful, I am here because I needed to get better (it has worked). I needed to re-focus, and look outside of myself, and not to what is hanging on my flesh, but to who and what is going on around me. So I’ve dedicated this time in my life to nurturing the part of me that wants to connect with others, those in need, and those also in need of connection.

I needed to change my ways for my girls, and for my marriage, and I needed to connect with what it was I was really after.

A purpose far greater than just myself.

It’s still a long way away, but I am on the path, and just by being here, you are with me too, and that (IMO) is pretty darned awesome (it’s not just awesome, it’s better than awesome).

I love food, and I’ll continue to share all that brings me joy in this life, in hopes that I might continue to bring some small nugget of value to you as readers of this blog.

But I’d be lying if I told you just food was enough. There’s just so much more to celebrate and talk about.

All in moderation of course πŸ™‚

Less really can be more, in all aspects of our lives, whether it is with food, television, swearing, shopping for pretty rags & (really) over consumption of all kinds.

I know many of you blog (or read blogs) for reasons of health, happiness, inspiration, and making conscious choices that can make the world a better place for all of us.

So whether that choice is veganism, food activism, human rights, or otherwise, I’d love to know how you came to that choice. And I’d also love to hear, and perhaps even share, your story.

If there was one thing you could see going without for a better and more fulfilling life, what would it be? Do you have any destructive habits you’d like to kick for good? Have you already started this journey and want to share it?

You don’t have to share it here if you aren’t comfortable, and honestly, if you’ve made it this far into this post, I’m just happy you are still here..but I’d love to hear from you, and perhaps even share your story here.

If you like, feel free to drop me a line at shira@wearenotsofast.org. I’d like to mix things up a bit here and get real. Want to share your story of healing? I’m all ears.

I’ll get back to cocoa nibs and kale in my next post, I promise, just as soon as I pull on this old jacket and these shoes from last season πŸ™‚

I’m no saint here, but I’m trying. Trying to do better, to be better, and to help others do the same. Thanks for being here with me, and for doing what you all do to make this world a better place.

Yours in Less,

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Filed under Aspirations, Discipline, Going Without, Happiness, Health, Hope, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Success, Victory

On Gratitude, Gratefulness & Always Giving Thanks

Gratitude. What does it mean to you?

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.

~ Thornton Wilder

It’s that time of year again!

The time here in the cooling (and beautiful) Northwest when we start thinking about cozy sweaters, warm scarves, pulling on our favorite boots, and about Thanksgiving.

This is the time of year when every corner grocery store stocks tiny mini pumpkins and you can’t take a step without hearing a leaf (or seven) crumble under your well-meaning fuzzy-socked feet.

Happy October everyone!

The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.

~ William James

This week I am particularly thankful for big progress here at what I like to lovingly call world IPOM headquarters (tee hee).

Not So Fast is making progress at a healthy and (mostly) manageable pace. I owe big gratitude to all who are taking part in this creative and amazing labor of love. Your energy and support are the only reason NSF is anything more than just a random passing idea.

I’ve got a giant heart here and it’s all full because of all of you. Yes, you (that is pointed squarely at you too IPOM readers).

Risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.

~ Leo Buscaglia

Not So Fast is hard at work planning a full school year of cooking classes for kids and families living in our fair city’s poorest neighborhood.

We want to not only share simple food with those who are keen to join us, but we hope to (maybe) offer (just a little) hope, confidence & much needed access to eating well into lives that are (likely) much more limited than our own.

A quick visit to our local farmers market drives our mission home for me with motivating intensity each and every time I go.

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.

~ Epictetus

This time of year showcases producers of all types offering up the very height of glory in the fruits of their (hard) labor.

I get goosebumps just thinking of perusing & buying fresh corn, squash, kale, sweet cherry tomatoes, heirloom variety apples, and the last of the summer fruits and berries of all kinds.

It is nothing short of pure vegetable heaven this time of year, and every bit a true food lover’s paradise, no matter what your dietary preferences. You’d have to be inhuman not to get inspired this time of year after a visit to the market.

That is, unless you can’t afford it.

I wrote a few posts back about my visit to the market where I (oh heavens me) happened to find myself with only a meager sum of cash to get me through my visit. That visit where I had to control my desires and my will.

Imagine (just for a second) that you had to do that every day?

Not because (like me) you just weren’t organized, but because you simply didn’t have the dough. I ask this question not to instill guilt, or a sense of anything other than awareness.

Awareness that no matter what your means, there is always someone who has less than you, and always someone who has more.

Those blessings are sweetest that are won with prayer and worn with thanks.

~ Thomas Goodwin

As we prepare here in Canada to celebrate our national celebration of Thanksgiving (we are 3 weeks ahead of our American friends), many of us might be busy planning menus, inviting guests, or maybe just looking forward to our next three-day weekend.

My wish for this coming weekend, and for all the weekends to follow is simple:

My wish is that each day that comes next might be just as good as the day before, and that no matter what life throws at me, I always remember the important things. Like having a healthy loving family, a cozy roof over my head, and two strong legs to walk my sorry a** to the store when I’ve run out of milk (again).

Rest and be thankful.

~ William Wadsworth

I’d love to know what you might be thankful for not just this season, but all year long. I’ve a feeling our needs are not that different from one another, really.

Food, shelter, love.Good people. Good food. A good laugh here and there.

Not too much for ask for I reckon, especially when there is just so much to go around.

I am so happy to have you all here at IPOM to continue to celebrate simple healthy food and the idea of living with (just a little) less.

Many blessings to you, your loved ones, and the communities you live in.

Because the truth is as we move forward in our collective lives is just this: we are all in this together.

I’d love to hear what you might be pondering in preparation for this coming holiday weekend (and for those of you who are looking that far ahead in the US). No matter where you are, thanks for joining us!

I’ve got some recipes coming up that I hope you’ll love πŸ™‚

  • What are you planning for Thanksgiving?
  • How do you give thanks?

Yours in Less (as always),

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Filed under Children, Cooking, Fasting, Feeding, Food, Food Insecurity, Going Without, Happiness, Health, Hope, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Non-Profit Organization, Not So Fast, Photography, Recipes, Rejuvenation, Success, Uncategorized, Victory

Market Day in Provence: A Picture Journey

If only the world could stand still a moment.

β€œLet 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 πŸ™‚

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.

~ Unknown

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,

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Filed under Aspirations, Children, Cooking, Family, Food, Happiness, Health, Hope, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Photography, Rejuvenation, Salads, Travel, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Recipe: Fresh Coconut Pulp Chocolate Torte & Thoughts on Hope

More fresh ways to get creative in the kitchen.

The greatest thoughts come from the heart.

~ Vauvenargues

It’s true! We are here!

The family made it to Paris, and after a typical long travel day, we arrived yesterday to a bustling busy city at the height of tourist season. As I write this, I’ve got a fabulous internet connection in my quaint french apartment (which will be home for the next week). French press coffee at my side (brought from home), and sleeping children in the room adjacent.

Life is good, and I hope to share it as I am inspired over the course of the 3 weeks we’ll be away here.

Of course the blog will look a little different from here, and to me this is exciting, as who knows what might inspire me? There is surely no shortage of material, as I learned from the first time I visited this beautiful city just two years ago.

Today’s post is the follow-up from the recipe for Homemade Fresh Coconut Milk, which I am quite certain a few of you will attempt, if only to get to this dessert.

Nothing is impossible for a willing heart.

~ French Proverb

Taking inspiration from this popular IPOM recipe, (remember those insanely delicious Rice Krispie Treats?), I knew there had to be a most delicious way to take advantage of the by-product from making coconut milk, and after all that work, I surely wasn’t going to waste a single morsel.

And it is so delicious, that would have been absolutely criminal.

When the world says, “Give up,” Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.”

~ Author Unknown

As it happens, last week was also fun as I was nominated in a blog relay about hope by a fellow favorite blogging chum Cara at Fork and Beans (love this girl).

This ‘relay’ asks bloggers to touch on the topic of hope, an interesting word if there ever was one. I could write a whole essay on this topic (as I am sure some of us could), and hope is a funny thing, as surely we all hope, and in turn also have hopes.

To me, I think hope is the feeling we have when we simply want something to go our way. Hope is also the deep belief & longing that helps us get through the toughest of times.

Simply put, the notion of hoping always reminds me that certain things are in our control, and others simply are not. The things we can control are often the hardest to do.

Things like how we feel & think, how & what we eat, how we behave with others. Hoping is the first step in simply doing. By doing, I believe we can get closer to actually realizing our hopes and dreams.

As a hope without action is simply just that, nothing more than a thought, or a desire. By doing, we become.

And as for the things that are beyond our control? The quote below pretty much sums it up for me.

Where hope would otherwise become hopelessness, it becomes faith.

~ Robert Brault

Here are the next few bloggers tagged in this relay – I’d love to hear what these lovely ladies have to share with us as I always enjoy their unique perspectives on food, life, art, travel, and all those hopeful dreams of ours πŸ™‚

Spree at Cooking Spree, Marina at Marina Chetner, Syders from This Sydney Life, Sharyn at the Kale Chronicles, Ishita at Ishita Unblogged. Have fun with it ladies!

The Less:

Fewer ingredients makes for simple, easy working. Less heated dessert foods means more intact enzymes and less baking in the heat of summer. Less heavy, flour-based baked goods, means less allergens and less gluten, so these treats can really be enjoyed by all, no matter where you go, or who you go with.

The More:

More uses for by-products means less waste and more value. More healthy chocolate treats means more feeling good about eating them. More easy simple recipes means more incentive to get the job done, so killing two birds with one stone just got easier. Not to mention delicious, healthy, and fun too.

Fresh Coconut Pulp Chocolate Torte:

  • leftover pulp from (1) recipe Fresh Homemade Coconut Milk you should have about 2.5-3 cups (the pulp of one coconut, or feel free to sub shredded coconut for the pulp, though I suspect the result will be much drier)
  • (2) cups chocolate chips, for melting
  • (1/3) cup almond butter, raw or roasted
  • (4) cups rice krispie cereal
  • (1) tsp vanilla

Optional Topping:

  • (1) cup chocolate chips
  • (1/4 1/3) cup shredded coconut

Begin by melting the (2) cups of chocolate chips using a double boiler, or by putting the chocolate chips in a stainless bowl (use a bowl big enough to mix the whole recipe if you can) over a pot of boiling water. Once the chocolate has melted completely, remove the bowl from the heat.

Add the almond butter and vanilla and stir. The heat from the chocolate will help the almond butter to soften without heating the almond butter over heat itself (particularly good if you are concerned about this and are using raw almond butter).

Add the coconut pulp to the chocolate-almond butter mixture and mix well. The coconut will cool the hot chocolate and bring the temperature down a little. Next, add the rice krispie cereal to the mixture, and mix well with your hands, ensuring it is even.

Line an 8 inch round or square pan with wax or parchment paper and press the mixture into the pan, using your hands to get it as even on the top as possible. Put the pan into the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours.

The mixture will harden and become very firm to the touch. Remove the firm torte and with your hands take out the parchment paper, holding it in your hands carefully. Place the hardened torte back in to the pan.

From here, you can enjoy as is, or if you want to get creative or fancy (like I did), simply melt an additional cup of chocolate chips and spread over the entire cooled torte, topping with shredded dried coconut as garnish. Place the pan back in the fridge to harden the chocolate.

Serve in slices with optional fruit (raspberries are delicious!), and perhaps some ice cream or whip. You can also cut and enjoy through the week as a snack.

Hope is putting faith to work when doubting would be easier.

~Author Unknown

This dessert made a fabulous treat for a group this week as I said good-bye to my co-workers before my holiday. One good-bye was a little harder than the others.

It is rich while still being light on the tummy. A true feel good dessert!

Hope never abandons you, you abandon it.

~ George Weinberg

Hope is the only bee that makes honey without flowers.

~ Robert Ingersoll

It is my sincere desire that anyone reading this post today can feel hope in knowing that deliciousness is never far away, and that in all of our hands is carried infinite possibilities for action of all kinds.

Whether it is cooking, writing, or any form of art, it is the hands that carry out the work of the heart and the mind.

Here’s hoping we can all enjoy some of that. I’ll be seeking in the coming weeks here from France what has begun as a fabulous time in a most beautiful place. Here’s to infinite possibilities!

  • What are you hopeful for today?
  • Got a favorite no bake dessert to share with us?

More to come readers, stay tuned! Off to see the sights as I’ve officially had enough coffee…

Yours in Less,

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Filed under Cooking, Food, Gluten Free, Hope, Photography, Raw, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Sweet Treats, Travel, Vegan, Vegetarian

The Less & More of Running (more or less)

A little change of pace is always welcome here.

If I’m free, it’s because I’m always running.

~ Jimi Hendrix

Ready to talk a little moving IPOM style?

When it comes to exercise, the preferred approach (in this girl’s humble corner of the world) is just this:

Moderately everyday instead of obsessively now and then

With all the pressure we face in life to be constantly awesome (mostly put on our own selves by our own selves) – it can be easy for some of us to fall into traps.

Traps of thinking if we aren’t 100% clean eating, we fail, or traps of thinking if we aren’t the best at something we shouldn’t do it.

Obsessing over perfection is just silly, and it’s always better to do something good than to not.

Since physical results are always cumulative (resulting from regular habits), I can’t stress enough how key adopting this philosophy has been for me personally in as many areas of my life as possible (and trust me it does not come naturally).

Let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement.

~ Nelson Mandela

This is not me (But it could be). Well, sort of.

With all the wonderful fitness choices available out there, I settled long ago on my one true fitness love.

Yes, it’s running!

And no, I am not hardcore like the crazy guys pictured here (really, not at all).

I don’t race (not to say I am against it). I don’t run with headphones, or even with a clock or a watch. It’s just me, my thoughts, the road ahead, and whatever time I have to get out there. So I try to make the most of it. The important thing is to do it as often as I can.

But enough about me.

All men should strive to learn before they die, what they are running from, and to, and why.

~ James Thurber

You could just stumble upon this...

Regardless of the time you have, or the day you’ve had, it’s really just about starting.

If you regularly have a tough time just getting out, try my girlfriends brilliant ‘5 minute rule’: tell yourself you’ll do it for just 5 minutes – once you are out there all warmed up and breathing that fresh air – see where you go, it’s never back home πŸ™‚

So if you are a seasoned runner, someone who’s never run, or someone who’s even just thinking about it, here is the less and more of running IPOM style – I’d love to see what you have to add to this!

The Less:

Less Time: Despite what anyone says (“I don’t have time!”)….you absolutely can get a good cardio workout in just 20 minutes. Seriously folks! 20 minutes! Where else do you get that kind of a return on your time? Factor in 3 minutes to change, 20 seconds to tie your shoes, and you are in business as soon as you cross your doorstep.

Less Money: A pair of decent running shoes costs about $60 and up. Add a pair of shorts, a sports bra (for us ladies), and an old rock t-shirt (I don’t run in one but I have always wanted to) and out the door you go! No membership fees, no classes. No driving, no gas. Less cost for more benefit. Less is oh so much more here.

Less Constraints: Go anytime. Anywhere. Go when you are traveling (a fabulous way to see a foreign city). You choose. No late starts, no classmates. No worries. Less dependence. Less pressure. Just lace up and go! It’s free to try, and best of all, if you like it, it’s free to keep going too!

Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later.

~ Og Mandino

The More:

More Cardio: Moving at your own pace means you set the tone. Climbing a hill while running is a real achievement, so work into it. Power walker? You are half way there already. It’s all good, so go slow, and don’t stop – just find your pace (even if you do feel like a turtle at first) and settle in.

More Meditation: Every runner’s got their reasons why they are hooked. Mine is in the meditation. Every step in the cold air is a sun salutation. Every thought processed, every step forward, I can work it all out. The ‘zone’ is the best zen feeling I’ve ever found, and it’s one that lasts throughout the rest of the day, and seeps into all areas of life. Namaste!

More Leanness: All good cardio promotes lean muscle development and the cardio burns lots of fuel.

Fresh air in your cells means more oxygen flowing so they can do more dirty work. Strong muscles means better efficiency.

More Strength: More strength means more power and more power means, well, more power to do the things you really love!

More Freedom: You can go wherever you feel moved. Wherever, whenever. Like walking (also a fave), all you need is you, a few minutes, and a will to go. Let your feet do the rest! No special gear, no vehicle. No company necessary (unless you want it).

More Scenery: See the world on foot! Anywhere you go, the world awaits.

More Confidence: This is the real deal. When you set your mind to running, there is no feeling like the finish. Knowing that you can, and you will, is (IMO) just about the best feeling in the world. It’s a gift you can give yourself every single day!

More fresh Air. More time just for you.

Gear is important, but not THAT important. I recently cleared out my ‘gear box’ and got rid of about 80% of what I had in there (part of my spring clean). But there are one or two very important essentials, starting with a good supportive sports bra (unless you are a dude in which case you are all good).

The greatest step is out the door

~ German Proverb

A good athletic top or two is nice. You want something light, that you can really sweat in.

Cotton is okay, but there is some great technical stuff out there, and really, one is all you need.

It’s worth it, no matter what sport you do in it.

Of course, if you want to be (just a little) bad-ass, wear a cool rock t-shirt. I’ve always wanted to do that πŸ˜‰

There is no one giant step that does it. It’s a lot of little steps.

~ Peter A. Cohen

Then there are the shoes. Yes – the shoes! There are lots of different philosophies on shoes. I am not an expert, so make sure to buy comfy ones from a decent brand.

There are even folks doing this completely barefoot these days..

What do you prefer?

Call me simple, but running is the reason I don’t get on skis (never mind I am not a fan of the cold snow)…give me a snowy trail, a good fleece jacket, and an hour and I am happy as a clam!

There are folks who have trouble running, whether it is hard on the knees or just not your thing. Thankfully, there is no end to the ways we can care for our bodies.

It just matters that we do.

  • Are you a runner?
  • Got any tips you’d like to share?
  • What is your favorite way to stay fit?

Whatever gets you there..

Begin to be now what you will be hereafter.

~ William James

I’d love to hear your thoughts on fitness and how you get outdoors. The best things in life really are free, and I can’t think of anything better than fresh, cool air. (Just a little) everyday is all takes!

Let us know your thoughts friends, and as always, much gratitude and thanks for reading!

I hope you all are having a fabulous day – our next post – a fabulous potato salad!

Yours in Less,

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Filed under Aspirations, Cheap, discipline, Fitness, Happiness, Health, Hope, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Success, Vegan, Victory

On Sharing, Life, and the Little Things

Remember when it was your turn for Show & Tell?

β€œWear the old coat and buy the new book.”

~ Austin Phelps

Happy Easter everyone!

Ever stopped to think about all you can do and why that makes you great?

I hinted a little in my last post about the grade 2 artwork that was on display (proudly I might add) in the hallway for all to see at my daughter’s school this week.

Each child was assigned a few questions, and their answers were posted with a photo of themselves and their proud, handwritten answers to (what I gathered) were questions like this:

  • What are you good at?
  • What do you like about yourself?
  • What hobby or sport do you do well?

I bet you all can relate to this one with me (just a little) – (or a lot).

Do you get tired when you run? I think everyone does. I wonder if this girl lets getting tired stop her from running.

With self-discipline most anything is possible.

~ Theodore Roosevelt

It seems all so simple and refreshing doesn’t it? Celebrating the simple things.

The gifts we are given, and the skills we learn. Elementary stuff really.

I loved this one especially.

β€œAnyone can cook”

~ Chef Gusteau, from the movie ‘Ratatouille’

With all we do, and all we see, do we celebrate our own simple qualities and skills enough?

Everyday holds the possibility of a miracle.

~ Elizabeth David

Is it possible our joy is always right within us – in our own talents, gifts, and interests?

The ones just waiting to be shared?


I know it sounds simple. But I like it.

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

~ Winston Churchill

I think blogging is a bit like grown up show and tell – where we can share our creations, our thoughts, and what we are excited about.

The beauty is we don’t really have to wait our turn like we did as kids.

That’s pretty awesome, isn’t it?

Here are a few of my favorite things from this week.

It starts in my garden, where my magnolia tree finally decided to start blooming (it’s crazy late this year).

A host of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

~ William Wordsworth

One of my most favorites is cascading rock cress. This is not my garden (though I wish it was).

We are starting to plan this trip. Three whole weeks in France this August for the family.

Like a child I am getting giddy already and the conversation around the dinner table tends to focus on this (just a little).

There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.

~ Nelson Mandela

This is not a small thing.

It is a big thing.

You can bet we’ll be revelling in the lead up and planning a ‘less is more’ trip.

I’ll be sharing a lot more about this in the coming months.

You can bet on that!

I’m stoked about these moccasins. And happy to have feet that take me places.

I am grateful we can enjoy simple foods like when we were kids. Homemade mac’n’cheese makes me a popular mom. I don’t mind that at all.

Passion rebuilds the world for the youth. It makes all things alive and significant.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

I know I’ve been waiting for spring to come and save me, to renew me, and fill me with that sense of youthful promise we long for (maybe just a little) once we are grown.

Could it be that staying youthful is all about just sticking to (and celebrating) the basics?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

I hope you all have a most wonderful spring weekend – whatever it is you do to celebrate Easter. We’ll be hunting for eggs and gathering around the table as always.

I think this year I might just make (a little) toast to myself. You know, for the little things πŸ˜‰

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.

~ Robert Brault

Happy holiday weekend dearest IPOM readers – I’m looking forward to what YOU have to share this weekend….and thank you all for the blogging inspiration, feedback, and enthusiasm!

You all just make my day.

Yours in Less,

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Filed under Aspirations, Children, Family, Happiness, Hope, Inspiration, Photography, Rejuvenation, Success, Travel

Finding more in (just a little) less on the plate.

A full plate seems like a dream come true. Indeed it is for many.

What does a full plate mean to you?

To many it’s the picture of a literal plate, a plate filled with food, and (hopefully) a plate to nourish and fuel us.

A full plate is a nice thing to have, and I like to imagine most of us are keenly aware that this is not a luxury all are lucky enough to enjoy.

Then there is the other full plate: the fuel of our lives, made up of to do lists, obligations, chores, passionate pursuits and promises made to ourselves and loved ones.

This plate is rarely empty for many of us, as we hustle through the day trying to keep up with all we commit to.

Our hungers for achievement and successes drive us with voracious appetites…we pile the plates so high until we actually can’t see it all clearly anymore.

When my plate gets too full I start to lose my appetite.

When I get a plate that’s too full for too long – I have to say I stop knowing real hunger anymore. Literally, figuratively, or otherwise.

When this happens to me I know something’s got to go.

So whether you are looking to lighten your load by streamlining what you eat….or dropping a few commitments you’ve made, feel strong in knowing your strength and your wisdom can only do you good.

When times get tough, I always try to lighten the load (just a little).

Step 1: Don’t be ashamed, no one can do it all! Admitting weakness is healing and empowering. Better to know now than further down the road.

Step 2: Look objectively at your life. What brings you joy? What isn’t working?

step 3. Take action! You aren’t going to change overnight, but you can start tomorrow. March forward fearlessly!

Begin to make changes in small doses. This will show real results and can be very motivating, it also won’t overwhelm you.

If you need to devote 10% less time for a friend you just aren’t getting anymore, or even spend 10% less time volunteering because you haven’t time for yourself, you are only going to gain somewhere else. The same goes for your diet. Try cutting meat one day a week, or dairy, or sugar. Give yourself a small boost and try again. Small victories add up.

Chances are, when you streamline, you’ll start to see clearly again. And you may just end up finding that sweet spot, the modern holy grail, that sweet blissful spot known asΒ  just right’.

When you cut out what's not working, you will start to see clearly....you can even add a little more variety. Less is more.

I’m working on it constantly, and it’s why I am here today.

Because many of us could all do to live with (just a little) less.

I am so glad to have found some friends along the way….stay tuned next week – I’ll introduce you to two of my friends who are doing just that! We’ll follow their journey as they both give something up for the good of others….I am so excited to share their story.

I love this response from the Dalai Lama when asked what surprises him most:

β€œMan, because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived.”

  • Is your plate too full?
  • If you had to drop one thing from your life, what would it be?
  • Could you live with (just a little) less?
  • Are you already?

I’d love to know.

Stay tuned for a killer raw recipe tomorrow….a little something sweet!

Yours in Less,

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Filed under Aspirations, Discipline, Fasting, Going Without, Happiness, Hope, Inspiration, Non-Profit Organization, Not So Fast, Photography, Rejuvenation, Success, Uncategorized, Victory