Better Not Perfect - How to Live More Sustainably

on
Sunday, November 04, 2018
Hi everyone!

I have been on a journey to reduce my waste and be more environmentally-conscious since July 2018. This was when I discovered the plastic-free movement, and started educating myself on single-use plastic and how our rapid rate of consumption has a significant effect on our planet. Hence, I started incorporating small ways of eliminating single-use items in favor of multipurpose, long-lasting items as a method of decreasing my own waste production. At first I was very overwhelmed, feeling like I could never reach 'zero-waste', but I later came to terms with the fact that I have to start slow and going zero-waste is not congruent with things that bring me joy. Yes I'm vain, but I cannot give up fashion and skincare (however I have started making an effort to check my own closet, or second-hand items before making a fashion purchase). Therefore, just like I never tell my patients who want to lose weight to go vegetarian in one day, I have taken my own advice and adopted small changes that I plan to keep for the rest of my life to help the environment.

So without further ado, here are some of the modifications I have made, and ideas of some to come:

1. I've made it a priority to always have reusable bags in my trunk for my groceries. I also purchased mesh begs to hold my produce (tare weight is on the tag for the cashier).

2. Reusable bottles and tumblers - I have a stainless steel bottle for cold beverages, and a thermos for coffee/tea. You can bring your reusable cups to any coffee shop and they typically have no issues with filling it up.

3. I bring a small tote I can roll up in my purse when I do other shopping (ie/ going to the pharmacy, mall, flea market, etc).


c: zerowastecollective instagram (also check out their website here, they're one of my daily sources of inspiration to stay on track and motivated!)

4. I stopped using single pods for my Keurig, and have a reusable k-cup instead. This started a few years ago since I prefer my own coffee beans, and I also discovered how to use a French Press. This is a great way to remove single-use pods from your home. I have been looking for re-usable Nespresso pods, and I am finishing up all my tea bags because I heard those are NOT recyclable. Hence when those are done, I will do loose-leaf tea only.

5. I finished all my ziploc bags and replaced them with reusable silicon bags. They're fantastic, sturdy and tightly sealed. You can also use these to store food in the freezer, and place them in high heat for steaming veggies. Woot woot!

6. I have started replacing saran wrap with bee's wax sheets (Bee's Wrap is what I currently own). They smell lovely and work great! However, don't expect them to be as sealed as plastic wrap or aluminum foil, because they're not.
 
7. I replaced parchment paper/aluminum foil with reusable, non-stick baking mats from Amazon.

8. For women, there is also the ability to cut down on single-use feminine items like tampons and pads. There have been wonderful reviews on the Diva Cup to replace tampons, but I cannot attest to this because I've yet to try it. However, I have tried the fleece pads and officially converted, because they are so soft, absorbent and come in the cutest patterns. Definitely recommend, and super easy to wash!

I'm also hoping to get on the safety razor train once I use up my current ones! I have yet to replace straws because I rarely use straws, but I may add one to my arsenal at some point just in case. What are some changes you've made that have cut back on your waste? We had composting set up city-wide in Toronto, and that's one thing I miss doing. Anyone compost in an apartment? Tips would be appreciated!

Cheers,
Chantelle


Life Updates - Toronto and Travel

on
Tuesday, October 02, 2018
Hi everyone!

It has been a WHILLLLEE. I always tell myself at the beginning of every year that I'm going to blog more since I love having snippets of my life documented... but alas I am always forgetting. I admit, I have my priorities in other areas! Nevertheless, I thought I would share what has been happening over the summer and early fall.

First of all, I spent some time in Toronto during August and had an amazing time. However, the best part was definitely the memories I made with mom & dad! I was totally spoiled with delicious Portuguese dinners, and a ton of daily laughs. Not to mention a few jaunts to Wasaga for some beach time. I swear on my favorite cable-knit sweater I will live near the water one day! It brings me so much peace.

Here are some of the places I tried out with my lovely friends:
1. iHalo Krunch - activated charcoal ice cream. It was sweet, refreshing and tasted like crisp coconut! I really enjoyed it and would go back. The purple part was made of sweet yam, and tasted like a generic sweet ice cream.
2. Bannock - poutine pizza. I am dead, it was so good. For those of you who don't know, poutine is the quintessential 'dish of Canadians'. This one had duck in it, which provided a lovely combination with the fries and gravy.
3. Ramen Isshin - the best ramen I've eaten. I sometimes find the broth taste overbearing, but this had a wonderful balance and I nearly cleaned out the bowl on my own!
4. Patois - a Asian-Jamaican soul food restaurant. The dishes were amazing, but the cookie butter french toast nearly killed me with goodness.
 

Wasaga Beach - the longest freshwater beach in the world. The water is super clear and it's shallow forEVER. I love going here!
And so we end at my first hotel during the commencement of my fellowship interview journey!
I will hopefully post in the next few weeks on my journey into sustainable living/reduced plastic consumption!

What was everyone's summer like?!

Cheers,
Chantelle

The Best Gym Bag and What I Carry In It

on
Thursday, June 21, 2018

Hi everyone!

I've been putting more effort into making it to classes at the gym over the past few months, and in doing so discovered my love for yoga (and my tight hamstrings!). In the process, I have also begun to replace all of my old work-out gear. I started off by buying a proper gym bag since mine was falling apart. My 2 requirements were: a separate shoe compartment, and a size wouldn't overpower my petite frame. I picked up the Adidas Squad III duffle with a holographic logo and the aqua strap. FYI: There's multiple color combinations other than this one!
 
There's a thick crossbody strap and a top handle for transport A side mesh pocket can hold a water bottle.

Miscellaneous gym favorites: 
1. Yoga pants - the ones above are from Betsey Johnson, and they're incredibly comfortable plus has a lovely floral print. I've got my eye on a few pairs from Amazon to add to my collection, but if you're lucky you can find them on steep sale at Marshall's. My other favorites are 90 Degree (soft and very light), and Lululemon (thicker and the most durable in the wash).
2. Crop tees - for hot studio days. I have multiple cotton crop tops from H & M and just re-ordered another four. These are amazing for a casual summer outfit, but I discovered they're fabulous at the gym over a fun sports bra.
3. Non-snag hair ties

I am quite fond of the Nike Free Run brand. They're lightweight and comfortable. I wear them during my long 24-30 hour shifts without issue. For dance classes these are also great, however the Nike flex dance shoes are top dog. Unfortunately, they are INSANE to find nowadays. Here is a link for dance sneakers with an open arch. 
 
There are also multiple small pockets to tuck in your valuables. I always put my watch and tennis bracelet on the pouch with the soft lining as to avoid ripping mesh. The bag itself is secretly massive and fits multiple gym outfits, a towel, as well as my clear pouch with some essentials (hand sanitizer, travel size deodorant, moisturizer, etc).
 
This is my favorite part: the side compartment is split into two. I have my ballet slippers in one, and runners in another (those are my old dance sneakers I spoke about). You can also throw in your wet bathing suit and prevent it from soaking your clothes. 
Essentials
 I typically carry my water bottle with me. I picked this one up at CVS, but I'm eying an aluminum one to keep my water cold for longer periods. 
My favorite protein bar EVER: Luna Chocolate Dipped Coconut or Luna S'mores bars. I love them and have been loyal for over 2 years!
Lanyard: this is an Under Armour piece I use to carry my keys and gym card. I was previously carrying everything on a keychain with a pouch, until I accidentally dropped it down the garbage chute in my apartment building. Now my keys are wrapped around my neck when I throw out the trash! No more 10 pm apartment lock-outs for me!

Tell me what essentials you bring to the gym ☺

Cheers,
Chantelle 

Cleveland Botanical Garden & Mabel's BBQ

on
Saturday, June 09, 2018
Hiya everybody!!

A couple weekends ago the BF and I decided to check out the Cleveland Botanical Gardens for a change of scenery. Luckily, we adored it! There were animals and beautiful vegetation everywhere. The greenhouse was my favorite because I adored all the colorful butterflies fluttering around. Now that summer is peaking its head, and the weather is hot, and I cannot wait to see the flowers fully in bloom. We, unfortunately, got caught in the rain while seeing the gardens, but it was still romantic strolling through the area under an umbrella. 
 
I wanted to hold this little guy so bad, but it wasn't an option. However, two days later I got to carry a big red iguana around the beach from a friendly stranger. I was SOOO HAPPY! I think I really need an animal in my life. It doesn't matter how they look, I am just so happy around them. Eeeek! 😁
And now just a shout-out to the delicious food at Mabel's BBQ. This is the second time we've gone for the meats, and it still doesn't disappoint. The ribs and the Mr Beef sandwich give me LIFE. ZOMG! 
I hope you all have a great weekend! I'll try to post a few favorites soon!

Cheers,
Chantelle 

A Weekend Trip to New Orleans

on
Saturday, May 19, 2018
Hiya everyone!

A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to present a poster at the ACP National Conference in New Orleans. I was lucky enough to have my parents join me and we were able to celebrate their wedding anniversary! One thing I can tell you off the bat is that I had WAY more fun than I expected, and I truly enjoyed my time in this vibrant city. It's so energetic and full of life! Music on every street corner, people in costumes, and laughter everywhere!
Other than the elegant Cathedral Basilic de Saint Louis, this photo was taken moments before the cutest thing happened. Below the church is a high school jazz band; halfway through their set one of the musicians serenaded his girlfriend, and then asked her to prom with the help of his bandmates. Adorbz!
The cutest blazer ever, courtesy of Zara. (Similar here, here and here.)
Anniversary dinner of mum & dad at Delmonico. This was the top to-do thing on our list, because my parents are big fans of Emeril. The dinner was phenomenal! We talked about it for weeks afterward. I definitely recommend going and please try the crispy pork cheeks. I am deceased. 👻
I loved all the colors in the French Quarter!
 
I've stocked up on white crop tops, and my two favorites are this cotton one and a ribbed one from H&M.
Beautiful buildings on Canal St. My friends, I love pretty buildings!
I cannot wait to make another weekend trip back to New Orleans! I've already made a list of places to visit next time.

Have you been traveling recently? If yes, where did you go and what do you recommend seeing?

Cheers,
Chantelle 

Life Update - Residency and Resolutions

on
Thursday, May 10, 2018
Hiya everybody!

I hope you're all doing well on your end of the world. I really wanted to post a life update to track what's been happening whilst my second year of residency wraps up. How crazy!! It's true that the days are slow and the years are fast! July 1st marks the first day of my LAST year of internal medicine residency. Do you know what that means? Fellowship applications. Goodness gracious, the cycle never ends in medicine. Exams - research - studystudy- work - apply - Repeat forever. 
I wanted to discuss one resolution I've stuck with since starting 2018, because I feel it's a great one for everyone to pick up: do something new every month. Thus far I've bouldered in January (this was insanely fun and I hope to do it again), I had my first massage with an RMT in February (I've been missing out my whole life), I started painting in March (first time using acrylics and doing an abstract piece), and went rollerskating in April (Zomg, I hated it because the skates were heavy and I couldn't control the people around me). I haven't decided what to do in May so I'm open to ideas!
 

Another habit I took on was daily journaling with the Happiness Planner. I finished it last month (it's 100 days) and I enjoyed it so much I picked up the 5-Minute Journal. The latter is more focused on reflection, which I wanted because the Happiness Planner included a daily schedule and daily to-do lists which I didn't need. I can't wait to look back on these when I'm older!

Now... if only I stuck with the regular exercise routine. 😑
What New Year's Resolutions have you stuck with and what has fallen off the bandwagon? Now tell me what you're doing to get back on track!

Cheers,
Chantelle

P.S. These gorgeous photos are from Slim Aarons. I am in love.