Category Archives: Success

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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? ๐Ÿ™‚

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

Cooking Classes & Kids: Why We Love Them Both

Holla folks!

I just wanted to write a quick note to let you all know what’s been happening around here of late, as it has been (just a little) busy juggling work & family & blogging & Not So Fast all at once, and it is all so worth it.

NSF-CookingClass_013

As we gear up for another holiday season, there are so many things that can take up our time & precious mental space.

Of course, there are the basic things: family needs, school matters, home meals, laundry. There is vacuuming to do (thankfully my wonderful husband does that), and Christmas decorations to hang. I am loving Instagram these days as people share photos of their Christmas trees and (my fave) their favorite childhood decorations.

Asย  you all know we only get one chance at childhood, and I personally will never forget that (rather sad) day when I realized it was all over (my childhood, and yes it happened just like that), and that all that time I spent in my youth wishing I was ‘grown up’ could have been better spent being the age that I was. Young.

This is partly why I am so passionate about working with youth.

NSF-CookingClass_035

As I prepare to bring out my own childhood decorations (we just got the tree last night), I am reminded that each of us gets a chance everyday to create our own special memories, or if you are a parent or a mentor or teacher to children in any way, we get the chance to create memories for our children, either good or bad.

Kids do what we do, and kids learn directly from what we (as a collective) teach them.

Not So Fast Cooking Classes

Tonight me and our faithful group of NSF volunteers prepare to meet out third group of kids at a community center in Vancouver’s poorest neighborhood.

We cook with them and send them home with warm healthy food. We share some laughs and pass on some basic skills, and hopefully, we create some of those good memories we all hope to carry with us through life.

It’s really the least we can do and I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing.

Not So Fast Cooking Classes

Thank you to all of you who have so generously contributed to our cause, as your support has been wonderful and we can’t thank you enough!

If you’d like to follow Not So Fast on Instagram, you can find us under @wearenotsofast (also our Twitter handle). And for those of you also interested in following me on Instagram, you can find me at @shiramcd.

I’m off to make memories, hang some decorations, and share a few laughs with some pretty inspirational peeps. I’ll be back with another delicious recipe very shortly, I promise! Thanks to all of you for following along ๐Ÿ™‚

Yours in Less,

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Filed under Children, Feeding, Food, Food Insecurity, Happiness, Inspiration, Non-Profit Organization, Not So Fast, 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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

  • 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

Paris: 5 Ways We Did More with (just a little) Less

Slowing down to enjoy the view.

The Seinne in the sun is pure magic.

Make hay while the sun shines, isn’t that what they say?

Hey bloggers!!

Well it’s true what they say, the time does go fast.

It’s hard to believe it is now September, with August behind us and all that it brought. Just a month ago we were putting the finishing touches on our packed luggage…

But with September comes so many good things: back to school, back to work, and back to working on this little blog and all it encompasses ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you’ll all stick around to see what we’ve got up our sleeves!

While we get back to normal life, it’s my pleasure to share in my next three posts a few tidbits from our time in France – starting with a few things that made a big trip not only more affordable, but really, that much better.

Travel is a real luxury, and as you all know it can sure get costly. I hope you’ll enjoy this little round-up of 5 ways we traveled well with (just a little) less.

The mere sense of living is joy enough.

ย  ~ Emily Dickinson

Our favorite statue in the city just up the street from ‘home’.

1. Shack Up

And no, I don’t mean run away with a french man on a motorcycle!

As tempting as that might be ๐Ÿ™‚ …but really, I am referring to accommodation, as anyone knows that after flights, the place where you lay your head is likely to be your biggest expense, particularly on a longer trip.

And really, fancy hotels aside (which are sweet if you’ve got the budget) – just how much time will you be spending in said place of sleep?

I referenced the quaint french apartment we took in Paris, and it was just that: small, old, perfectly lovely, and right in the heart of where we wanted to be (for those of you interested we stayed in the Marais district).

After all, this is how the vast majority of people live in big cities like this, so it was fun, and not to mention for the four of us, (just a little) less hit on the budgetย  & a whole lot more authentic.

Unlocking the door to the courtyard after another big day.

Everything you can imagine is real.

~ Pablo Picasso

We did just fine cozied up in our tiny kitchen, enjoying simple foods made with basics (my next post).

This was the start of the food journey that has not only affirmed my approach to food more than ever before, but forever reminded me just how simple foods made with quality ingredients are best, and how important it is to enjoy each and every bite.

After all, that is precisely what the people do in France. And it certainly shows!

Our go-to salad for three whole weeks it seems!

2. Eat In

Really!

Part of the fun of having a real place to shack up in is the chance to live like any other person might in that part of the world (at least for me it was and I suspect this would be the case for many of you too!). Cooking in a strange (tiny) kitchen is an adventure, one I was up for, and one we had a blast with.

It was a beautiful thing – heck – I was cooking dinner in Paris! What a sheer delight it was, and one I took with gratitude and pleasure.

I mentioned the produce market that set up literally at the steps to our door twice in the time we were there. I bought melons, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, nectarines, apples & berries. They were all pretty amazing, yes.

The block we stayed on had a store that stocked every fine oil, wine, preserve & jelly you could want, and the boulangerie on our block made just the right baguettes and chocolate croissants for the girls, who enjoyed them daily.

It was good living, as we say.

Not like the one in Provence, but hey – pretty darned good!

Eating in saved us tons of money, and it also meant that the three of us vegetarian girls weren’t struggling with menus (and our French) every night. It also meant we ate like royalty & had plenty of time & money left to hit the streets for some quality sight-seeing, and maybe an ice cream and a night cap (or two).

Of course, we ate dinners out too, and we enjoyed it (just a little) more when we did.

Less really was more here, and it went this way through our entire trip.

The best part? Reserving the majority of our sitting time for chilling at our favorite cafes.

Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.

~ Dr. Seuss

Cafe life in France, and in Paris especially, is just about the funnest thing you’ll ever experience, as no one is ever in a rush.

The people watching is just about the best in the world, not to mention the goodies you are likely to enjoy. A few days in I gave up my afternoon coffee and switched it to white wine or beer.

And then we simply sat. And watched. And drank. And talked.

Until it was time to be on our way.

3. Set out on Foot

A big city like Paris is (obviously) more than well set up for tourists, and they are pros at handling all those visitors.

There are tour buses, stacked double-deckers, boats, bike tours, and of course, the metro is superb. But nothing is like seeing the city on foot both for your waistline and your wallet.

We walked for hours & hours each day, which many of you know is a wonderful way to get fresh air, exercise, and views that you just don’t get from a tourist bus, or underground on the metro.

Plus, how will you see that top in the window or find that off-the-beaten-track patisserie with the best pastry you ate the whole trip? That gorgeous old cathedral you stumbled on that time you got lost?

Nothing says adventure like traipsing around a city with just your bag, a camera, good company and a good stylish pair of comfortablish shoes.

More on shoes in an upcoming post ๐Ÿ˜‰

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

~ Martin Luther King, Jr

4. Pack Coffee/Carry Water

Depending on your preference for coffee, this might not apply, but I was glad to have brought along a few bags of ground coffee from home to make French Presses while I greeted the day and acclimatized.

The kids were often tired (especially at the start of the trip), and given my (fairly unreasonable) requirement for caffeine early in the day, I got amped at home before leaving the house.

I’d done quite a bit of research on some coffee places I wanted to hit – places that are doing quality coffee like we are lucky to enjoy at home. My first try yielded a closed sign (Telescope seemed to be closed for the month) and the others were just too out-of-the-way and not convenient to drag the whole brood to.

For a full list of great spots to hit, check out this post on Alice Gao’s beautiful blog here. Alas, maybe next time.

Besides, I see plenty of snazzy coffee shops here (it’s my job), and I realized that day that I didn’t need to travel to Paris to see them there too.

So the home coffee was a major lifesaver, not to mention an easy way to avoid the Oranginas and other goodies you buy every time you sit your kids at a table (cause you know they can’t sit there with nothing).

But believe me, they got plenty of Oranginas. In fact, I am pretty sure we spent more on those drinks then most anything the whole trip. But more on that in another post too ๐Ÿ™‚

And bring water wherever you go! All that walking will make you tired, and many places might leave you high and dry (read: thirsty) and succumbing to overpriced drinks you otherwise wouldn’t need.

5. Buy a Museum Pass

Okay. So really. This one made me very, very, happy.

Mu husband deserves the credit here, and this action turned out to be genius.

And not strictly for financial reasons. In fact, all in, we figured that by the end of our week in Paris, we broke even on the cost of this. The real savings, however, turned out to be of the more precious kind.

This thing saved us precious and irreplaceable time. No line ups!

Visiting Paris in August means the height of tourist season there – in fact – there were (what felt like) more tourists than locals, and given the high rate of shop closures for ‘Vacances’, I’d say this was correct.

We bought a one week pass that got us into any museum, sans line-up. A sweet deal considering we packed a good ‘sight a day’ into the itinerary. And did I mention the time savings? Brilliant.

But this is my husband we are talking about. I married him for a reason, or two ๐Ÿ˜‰

On our ‘must-see’ cultural list was: Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, The Louvre, Musee D’Orsay, Les Invalides, Versailles, The Pompidou Centre, and of course, the Eiffel Tower (which we did not go up as one of the lifts was broken) – there are quite a few more amazing sights to see, but traveling with a young one allows only so much, and these kids were stimulated to the max.

Truthfully, they were amazing. As was my husband for buying this pass. Brilliance.

ย  Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Commitment is a line you must cross….it is the difference between dreaming and doing.

~ Bernie Fuchs

Looking back, it seems crazy that all that is behind us now. Time really flies.

True to one of my fave Dr. Seuss quotes, I’ve got to tell you that I’m pretty darned glad we did that, and my smiles feel pretty darned wide.

I’ve since returned home to enjoy the blessings we enjoy here, such as good great regional food, clean tasty water, and truly great friends.

Yes, this is where I give a shout out to all of you – whether you wrote me a text to read when I landed, a thoughtful & genuine blog comment, an email, FB message, or straight up picked up the phone and called (you know who you are), you all made coming home that much sweeter, and I have big love for each and every one of you!

Thank you all for being here with me!

Looking forward to all that is to come – and next I’ll get to those top foods – I promise ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Got any tips to add to this from your travels?
  • If you could travel anywhere tomorrow where would it be?

I’d love to add any wisdom from all you fine readers out there – and let us know your thoughts and whatever might be on your travel wish list!

Looking forward to a fab fall with all of you!

Yours in Less,

56 Comments

Filed under Family, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Photography, Rejuvenation, Shopping, Success, Travel, Vegetables, 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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,

82 Comments

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?

โ€œWear the old coat and buy the new book.โ€

~ 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.

โ€œAnyone can cookโ€

~ 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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,

44 Comments

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

Finding more in (just a little) Versatile Blogging.

A nice Sunday spent in the kitchen…

Sunday sustenance…straight up avocado on barley toast. Chilis and sea salt and (just a little) olive oil.

The Versatile Blogger award – a nice little shout out and a chance to talk about your favorite blogs!

(I really love awards, this is pretty fun – thanks to those who shared the love!).

Truthfully, I owe a shout-out to 3 bloggers who have so kindly nominated this blog for the Versatile Blogger award – it is now time I bestow the honor back or onward to others! For those about to be nominated, here are the rules:

The rules for the award are:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to them in your post.
  2. Share 7 things about yourself.
  3. Pass the award on to 15 more bloggers that you enjoy.
  4. Contact the bloggers that you have chosen to let them know that they have been nominated!

So here I go..ready?

IPOM thanks the following 3 bloggers for the nomination:

  • Cognitive Dimension (in and out of your mind)
  • Slotheatz (super positive high energy and fresh healthy awesomeness)(I would nominate her but alas she’s already been, but do check her out!)
  • The Veggie Nook (totally super positive and healthy outlook on vegan food)(ditto same as slotheatz above)

And here I go with my 7 things..

  • I live and work in beautiful Vancouver, BC, surrounded by majestic mountains and endless water.
  • I don’t swim or ski despite the above (insert irony here).
  • I am mother to two daughters. Thankfully only one of them is a lot like me (hehe).
  • I am a runner (and occasional gym rat) but have also enjoyed stints with yoga, most notably Bikram’s. I get super grumpy without fresh air!
  • I am a lifelong vegetarian (and I married someone who isn’t), but have always been drawn to raw foods and dairy free living (I just feel better). I like simple food made with few quality ingredients, and I love making and preparing food for others.
  • IPOM was started so I could connect, share recipes, write, and generally have fun with food with a ‘less is more’ approach. Y’all are not disappointing (insert big thumbs up here) – and thanks for all the support so far!
  • I started a non-profit organization called Not So Fast which aims at providing hunger relief through the premise of ‘going without so others don’t have to’. I make a conscious effort to take part once weekly by abstaining from something and donating a small amount of money to feed the hungry.

How was that? Okay here’s the good part..

15 bloggers I enjoy visiting often or have just discovered (and am excited about) are:

  • Spaark – art inspiration from Whistler, BC, (also my best friend)
  • While Chasing Kids – gorgeous, homemade, rustic food photographed splendidly!
  • Just Homemade – inspiring, authentic Indian food, need I say more?
  • An Unrefined Vegan – stylishly put together, super awesome vegan stuff – love it!
  • Marina Chetner – wonderful travel photography from Brooklyn and elsewhere. Great insider looks into some cool parts of the world, most notably New York. My Favorite ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Cooking Spree – lovely homey foods photographed beautifully. I am a sucker for elegant simplicity, and this site delivers!
  • Handmake My Life – super quirky and personal looks at crafting and links to DIY inspiration. Great style I really enjoy.
  • Stay Flexi With Lexi – a super look into how to live a flexitarian lifestyle, with Alexa and her juice!
  • This Sydney Life – Wonderful quirk and style are 2 of my favorite qualities, and this Sydney, Australia blog offers lots! Fun to make friends from across the world!
  • Frugal Feeding – already a popular blog, I still have to mention that I love what this blog is all about: living well on littl(er) means.
  • Vegetarian Epicurian – lovely vegetarian recipes featured by a fellow kale lover!
  • she cooks, she gardens – inspired, clean eating lifestyle – lovely! I love all references to gardens..
  • People, Places, and Bling – a look at how to shop (with savvy too!) and live like a local in Paris. Sign me up!
  • Emmy Cooks – cooking in Seattle – she raises children, chickens, “andโ€“occasionallyโ€“a ruckus”! Great!
  • The Plum Palate – regional food simply and expertly prepared – love this concept!

Here are a few more: the already nominated and ever entertaining slotheatz and the veggie nook, Anna at The Guiltless Life (a fellow Vancouverite and inspiring blogger!), Fork and Beans, (Just a Litte Joy) – I fell in love at the name, never mind the lovely design and lastly, for inspiration krista and jess & shebicycles – the most newly discovered via Freshly Pressed!

I am sure I just broke a few rules there as there are still a lot of names I want to put down….there are just so many fantastic and enthusiastic bloggers out there!

“It is better to travel well than to arrive”

~ Buddha (recently snatched from the Home page of shebicycles)

So there we have it (I hope you guys are still with me) – I am now looking forward to next week..the next post (I promise) to feature the ridiculous kale pesto I keep talking about (I promise it exists).

Here is a little piece I like to call ‘a little fun with iphones’ – by none other than the ever creative young one in this house.

Thanks again to those who nominated IPOM, you guys are awesome! I am off now to enjoy the remaining hours of the weekend.

How did you enjoy your weekend?

We spent a fair bit of time dancing, as you can see.

Happy Sunday!

Yours in Less,

37 Comments

Filed under Inspiration, Not So Fast, Rejuvenation, Success, Uncategorized