Monday, 5 November 2012

Yesterday, I was reading old entries in my journal, and stumbled across this particularly alarming excerpt that I had written about a year ago:

"I kept telling myself: I'm training for a half marathon. But, I put my real success in weight loss from running. That'''s why I' didn't succeed with running. When you feel like a failure from running because your tummy is bloated, you'll never make it to the race."

I knew how true that was then, but now, only after re-reading it, I also realize how sad it is. I thought reading something like this would only prolong my running rut, however, it did the opposite. When I woke up the next morning it was freezing, pouring rain and very windy. A complete contrast to the beautiful fall weather we have been having. Normally, without being in a exercise rut, I would have said it was the perfect excuse to delay a run again. However, after having read that part of my journal, I thought, no, today is the perfect day for a run!

I had more energy and motivation than I had in a long, long, longgggggg time! I am attributing this feeling to my own words from the past. I have been feeling particularly bad lately. Very uncomfortable, stressed, anxious, all accompanied with lots of tummy distress and BLOATING beyond what I can remember ever experiencing. But, having all of these feelings still intact, I decided, I don''t care, I'm suiting up, and whether I run one kilometer or fifteen, I am going on this run.

I was intending to run a 2km loop lake trail so I could run in 2km intervals and keep adding distance depending on how I felt. On the way there, my car was giving me some trouble (surprise, surprise), so I decided to stop midway, bringing me to another trail. I had ran this one before, but only when I was doing my long distance runs during my half marathon training. It seemed very daunting to run this path as my first run in months! Just before I took off, I gave myself complete forgiveness if it wasn't the best run, and permission to stop whenever I felt  it necessary. I promised myself that along this path there would be zero judgements, and I would honor whatever sensations my body was feeling.

When I got out of my car I was freezing! The idea of a walking warm-up went right out the door!  I started with a nice, light jog to warm my chilled bones. I instantly felt that I had been robbing my body of this amazing feeling. I vowed to give this myself this pleasure as much as possible. No excuse would be worth discrediting these good feelings.

The rain and wind went from bothersome and cold to welcoming and refreshing. My hair and feet were soaked within seconds, but my super-wicked-awesome North Face jacket and lulu running tights were doing just the trick! I knew my body was capable of quite a distance today, and when I feel that way, I take full advantage. I ran, and ran, and when I realized I was already 5 kms from my starting point I couldn't believe it. I figured I would be so unconditioned that my lung would fall on the ground after 1km. I decided to turn back knowing I would cover at least 10km. Getting into the 6th kilometer, runners high kicked in! Ahhhhh, there we go, now this is what I was really missing. My whole body started buzzing and autopilot took over. I was trying my best to be aware of my hip and knee and not push myself into injury again. It felt so good, for the body, mind and soul :)

I finished the run with the greatest feeling! I hadn't felt that way in a long, long time! I was refreshed, physically drained, mentally calm, and at peace with myself. The fatigue in my body was so welcoming. I made a promise to myself and I intend to keep it. I also figure if I write it down I am more accountable to keeping it.

When I am physically fit and pushing my limits my mind, body and spirit are fantastic! Just because  long distance is not for everyone, and people look at me strangely when I say how good it feels to run 10, 12, 15, 20k, I shouldn't care. They aren't judging me, they are just looking inward to themselves and thinking that is the last thing that they would want to do. That's them, and not me, and physically pushing myself through running is what keeps me centered and makes me feel great! Under no circumstances should anyone let what keeps them balanced get away.

So, why do we let it? I have yet to understand this or come to term with why we allow ourselves to do this when we continually are trying to eliminate what is seen as bad and get as much of the good. Personally, my ruts are do to my emotional side. I let so much emotion and feeling bring me down that I cannot seem to feel worthy of feeling good. My stresses become so overwhelming that I can only concentrate on them. I neglect myself in the process,  and think that with all the negative feelings I shouldn't be happy or at least don't deserve to rid myself of anxiety.

It''s a messed up cycle but I feel that there is a solution. Right now, running in the solution! And homemade Cinnabon Granola :) Recipe coming next...


Monday, 17 September 2012

It's been a while, but I guess I just couldn't find myself...

Here it goes... so, for those of you who follow, you may have realized I have not posted in a VERY VERY VERY long time. A whole 3 months that is. To be honest, I just haven't been myself for a long time. The very things that make me, me and inspire me seem to have just checked-out, and so has my desire to look for them.

It''s a strange feeling to lose oneself, and not one I want to continue experiencing. I feel like this post is my plea to that higher being, or more important, to myself to leave this empty self who has not been happy. I could go on for pages and pages about why I think I let my authentic self escape, and the reasons and psychologies behind it. But for now, I am going to leave that all behind and just look forward. Leaving the past in the past and focusing on the amazing adventures that are yet to come in my life.

I am, however, going to share what I believed helped me realize what I was doing to myself, and say that, enough is enough.

Do you ever find yourself seeing repeating"signs"? Whether it be a sequence of numbers, or words, or a song playing that seems to be speaking directly to you and only you. But, if you are like me, as soon as I acknowledge that there is a sign blinking in my face, I dismiss my realization as a coincidence or I try to rationale these "ordinary" occurrences. I do not understand why, as a society, we are so afraid of the universe's help, or divine intervention. Every bit of "magic" in the world needs to be logically explained.  In turn, it makes us feel more and more alone in the world.

The more I am honest with myself and look to the amazing and intuitive people in my life, it no longer makes sense to dismiss some of the signs I see. My intuition has always been the most realiable tool in my life, why would I start ignoring it now?

Lately, there is an image that is popping up several times throughout the day. It is the last thing to dance across my vision every night and the first thing to reappear every morning. It took me a long time to realize it was directed at me and stop ignoring a very blatant sign.

I have this large lululemon tote that I carry with me EVERYWHERE! haha I often refer to myself as the "bag lady". This bag carries a vast array of items, which mostly are for work, but because I worked ALL THE TIME this summer, is was always with me. Rather then unpack and repack from night to day, it became my miscellaneous "go-to" bag and thus, forcing me to take it with me everywhere.

So, this bag, as many of the lululemon bags has the company's manifesto on it. There are a lot of really inspiring quotes and instructions, however, there was one that seemed to flash and blink at me every time the bag was in my eye shot. It's a large bag with a lot of things written on it, but I SWEAR this one group of 12 words was always pointed directly into my eye sight. Every single time I looked it  "Waking up two days in a row uninspired? Change your life!" was pointing right back at me.

 The rest of the saying may as well been blurred because it was the only thing I saw (Do one thing a day that scares you." is nice too). Even though it was "blinking" and "flashing" for my attention, for one reason or another I only read it several times a day and did nothing with this much needed request . Yesterday morning I woke up and sure enough, my eyes opened up to: "Waking up two days in a row uninspired? Change your life!" This day however, I actually thought, huh.. two days eh... wait two how about like 100?!!? With this realization, a bit of panic crept in. The panic of, "Oh god I have let well over 100 days of my precious life pass without feeling inspired?!!??! How could I have let this happen! I will never get them back!!!!" I have always believed that a day without inspiration is possibly the worst thing that could ever happen. Here I was, allowing this to repeatedly happen!

The fear and remorse I felt about letting this happen had to stop. Otherwise, day number 101 was going to be added to the tally. So, here I am, deciding to move forward. Not regarding the last 100 days as time wasted, but looking at today as the first day that I will not let another one pass by without inspiration.

Today', I started doing something I had been putting off for a long time. I do not know why I had, and it was just a start and no huge accomplishment yet, but it will be if all goes well. So, there's a little teaser for you, I have something big planned, but it will have to wait until I keep the step going.

For now, here is the Holstee Manifesto, which always bring light and inspiration into my life.


-Em :)

Monday, 11 June 2012

It's been far too long... but I'm back with some balls..

BLISS BALLS that is!

I really didn't know what to post about after so long away from blogging. I chose a topic that was safe, easy and yummy: a recipe!

I recently attended a screening for an amazing documentary, "Forks over Knives". Folks, I highly, highly recommend watching this! Even for people who do eat plant-based, vegan diets, it still shines a lot of light on why we are eating this way. And, for those who do not intend to become vegan, watch it! Not that it will change your mind, but it may make you think twice about certain poisons we are feeding ourselves.

I will talk about this later on, I could go on for hours about "Forks over Knives".

Dr. Kerri Dow, my amazing Naturopathic Doctor, was showing the movie at her clinic one evening, and had prepared these delicious little treats for us: BLISS BALLS! They were to die for, despite she thought they had turned out a bit hard, they tasted amazing.

The recipe was so simple and comprised of only 5 very nutrient dense ingredients. I finally remembered to pick up some more coconut oil yesterday, and so I made them!

I do not know why I waited so long to incorporate coconut oil into my diet, and life! Not only is it awesome for cooking and baking (high-heating oil), it is great as a beauty product and medicine too!

Coconut oil has been extensively used in Ayurveda, traditional Indian medicinal system, for years! From hair to skin treatments, to an array of medicinal uses, it has been proven very effective in the maintenant of good health. The fatty acid composition of coconut oil is mainly saturated. Not to be alarmed, this plant based saturated fat is good for you! We need a certain percentage of saturated fat (plant-based) in our diet, and the saturated fatty acids in coconut like lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid combat against many ailments. From heart disease, diabetes, weight gain, bacterial and viral infections, coconut oil helps all. It is also known to increase immunity, digestion, bone health, liver function and act as a stress reliever.

Who wants to get their hands on some coconut oil now? :)

Not only are they delicious and healthy, but they made my apartment smells delicious for over 24 hours :)

Apart from being vegan (completely dairy, egg and animal bi-product free), they are also gluten-free and without refined sugar!

Now those are some treats with sharing!

Bliss Balls

2 cups of unsweetened coconut
2 cups of ground natural almonds
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup of maple syrup

1. Ground whole almonds in a food processor, Magic Bullet or blender.
2. In a large bowl, mix coconut, almonds, sea salt and coconut oil using fingers. Do not mix in syrup yet.
3. Once mixture is blended very well, add syrup.
4. Still using fingers mix together, and form into balls.
5. Place ball on a cooking sheet and into a 200F degree oven.
6. Bake for 4-5 hours.

For best results, after 4 or 5 hours, turn off oven and leave the balls in overnight.

Yield: 22 balls


-Em :)

Thursday, 5 April 2012

That little voice in your head, no you're not crazy, you're aware :)

My life has gone through some ups and downs, and lots of turns. My latest "turn" if you will has completely got me baffled. I chose this turn, and really felt like my intuition was bang on. 

It was like I had directions right in front of me, and there was a bright, blinking arrow pointing one direction. How do you not trust that big, bold sign? You trust it, because it's so obvious, and it's being very adement with every flash for attention. So, I made a decision, travelled down the direction of the arrow. I continued for a kilometer or two, only to notice that things just didn't seem right. Nothing looked familiar, nothing felt right, I got really scared, anxious and knew I had made a huge mistake. I had to go back and go down the other way, but the only thing is that my map is gone now.

How do I get back and will I even be able to?

The normal me would go into fits of panic and worry herself sick until she was beside herself. And yes, I will admit I gave myself a taste of that. But, in the end, you have to trust that your intuition will keep you exactly where you should be. That everything is how it's supposed to be and that life always has a funny way of working things out.

There has never been a time in my life that after all the worry and the regret that I thought this isn't right. It always works out. Sometimes, just not in the "oh-so-perfect" way you have planned. That's why it is so important to live in the now and not worry about the future or past.. that's another post topic I will wait to ramble on about haha.

To this date, I do not regret a single thing in my life. There are definitely some painful memories that stand out, but do I regret their occurrence? Never. It brought me to where I am today, and shaped who I am. Everything was meant to be.

You can apply the previous "directions story" to any situation in your life where you feel that your intuition has steered you in the wrong direction. Here's the question you have to ask yourself: would you have done anything differently? When you were standing there deciding left or right, how would you have chosen differently? You wouldn't have, and that's where I feel that the phrase "everything happens for a reason" comes in.

Sure, you can feel so strongly that you made the wrong decision, and maybe you did, but, you made it for a reason. Not because you should have continued down the wrong road, but because you needed to realize that the wrong road isn't pretty and isn't what you want. Intuition is always right, and being able to listen to it will make your life a whole lot happier in the end. When we don't listen to our intuition and take the easier road because we are afraid of the unknown, short term pain or being uncomfortable we end up being unhappy long term.

What is life without happiness?

What is life without love?

In my opinion, nothing. The point to life is love and happiness :)


-Em :)

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Beyond the frames and food... where is Nirvana??? :)

"Find out who you are and do it on purpose." - Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton, your words have stuck to me more than any others before. I heard this quote, years ago, and there hasn't been a day where it hasn't popped into my head. These simple, but strong ten words express exactly what I believe to be "the point of life". Feel free to argue, disagree or dispute, but this is simply my point of view. I believe we have a lifetime to discover who we really are through exploring, learning, interacting, and by feeling every single emotion and recognizing what made you feel that way. We are all so completely different, no one can tell you how to feel, react or act. No two people are the same. So, it's up to us to find out who we are, and really find out!

Shining in solitude.
These last few months, I have been soul searching more than my whole life collectively. Not that I used to walk through life blindly, but I always felt like I was just floating in the middle - between being completely happy and unfulfilled. I thought I could compromise my happiness just so that I wouldn't feel extreme sadness either. Turns out, this is not who I am. I am a feeler, let me tell you! haha I have extremes: I cry when I'm sad, I cry when I'm happy, when I'm anxious, excited, in awe, embarrassed, or even hungry haha. Lately, I have been experiences every degree of emotion. It's been tiring, and sometimes overwhelming, but in the end, I have experienced more happiness lately than I have in a long time. The good comes with the bad right?

I still have no idea what I "want to do with my life". But, who really does? We all have a certain direction at any given moment, but no one actually knows how their life is going to unfold. We can plan each day until we are blue in the face, however, being completely present and living in the moment is perhaps the most important lesson I have learn, thus far. It is something I think I will struggle with for a long time - to not worry about the future or fret about the past. All we really have is this moment, right now. The past is just that - it has past. As for the future, it's going to happen regardless of what we are worrying about. Living in the moment is the most empowering and refreshing feeling. Getting to that state is a great challenge, but, through my meditation practices and yoga I have experienced that peaceful feeling of being present. It is so powerful to stop thinking and just... be. I now understand why 1.5 billion Buddhists, Hindus and like-minded people are searching for enlightenment. It is definitely something worth finding.

Look for the overlooked.
My thoughts wants to spill out onto this screen right now and I hardly know where to begin. So, I will leave with a list of things I plan to do to "find out who I am". I highly encourage anyone to do this "listing" practice. Especially, when your mind just wants to jumble everything up so nothing makes sense. When I make lists I try to be as specific as possible to make the goals attainable. I made a lot of lists that included goals like: "do something that scares me", "make a change", "be happy". I had no idea what those things even meant let alone when it would suffice to check them off! It motivates me, a lot, knowing that I have something to "check-off". I am quite the visual person :)

Emma Dolan's To-Do List April 2012

1. Use the paints, canvases and easel I have, so perfectly, set up in my living-room.
2. Play my guitar until I am comfortable enough to play infront of someone.
3. Tackle the photography projects I have been planning. (Models inquire within haha)
4. Learn Italian. (Always wanted to, never had the patience).
5. Run the Blue Nose Half-Marathon. (I had a dream last night where I did it in 1:45:00, ahaha not realistic time, but in my dream it felt AMAZING to have at least done the race).
6. Plan my next trip. (Once I come back from China, Amy: South America?)
7. Take cooking classes... (Kel, bingo may have to wait a week.)

Ok, head getting jumble-y again. I'll tackle this for now.

Have a great Sunday everyone!


-Em :)

New River Beach, my oasis.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Carotenosis and my greens addiction ensues

Looks good, eh? Don't worry recipe to follow, but for now a lesson vegetable overdosing:

Well, I never need to worry about whether or not I am eating enough rich-coloured vegetables.  My mom kept pointing out how "abnormally orange" my hands and feet looked, and as an ever worrying parent she had figured it was something to raise concern. I thought it was just my skin undertone, but I will admit, next to everyone else's they did have an extreme orange glow to them. 

This is how I learned about "carotenosis". "I have carotenosis! Ahhhh!" Sounds just terrifying doesn't it? haha It is completely harmless and causes no need for alarm. It is simply a condition that results when someone (me, in this case) consumes an excessive amount of carotenoids. It is common among vegetarians and vegans or people who just cannot get enough carrots :) Well I have two out of two there. 

My mom asks: "How much carrot do you eat in a day?"
Me: "Well, a 4 pound bag lasts about 2-3 days..." 

It made sense... in addition to the other carotene rich vegetables I eat everyday, consuming 2 lbs of carrots in a day is a bit more than the average bear. At least there's only 180 calories in a pound of carrots!

Apparently, I also had this condition when I was a baby. My mom said a lot of people commented on how "tanned" her baby looked. Nope, just loves carrots and squash!

Despite my orange skin, I cannot seem to get away from greens in every other aspect of my diet. Every meal in my day consists of bright-green themed foods. I even painted my kitchen walls bright green, green area rug... hmmm... I must be subliminally telling myself how amazing greens are.

Without further ado, here is my GREEN supper last night! I cooked every green vegetable in my fridge, baked some tofu in crushed chilis and garlic, cooked green spinach rice vermacilli and made a DELICIOUS vegan pesto recipe!

I will make this pesto recipe a new staple in my fridge. Instead of using pine-nuts or almonds as a base, it uses cooked chickpeas. The texture was just fantastic! And the nutritional yeast or "nooch" gives it a nice cheesy flavour. I can't believe I wasn't using nutritional yeast before, it tastes excellent in many recipes and is extremely nutrional, just as the name promises. Since becoming vegan, I have been search for ways to get my Vitamin B-complex intake without supplements. The nooch's got it, and it's a complete protein to boot!

Homemade Vegan Pesto


1 cup fresh basil
2 large garlic gloves
4 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 cup cooked chickpeas

Add all ingredients into a food processor, blender or Magic Bullet and blend until creamy and smooth. Set aside.

Greens and Tofu Stir Fry with Pesto

Ingredients (serves 2)

1/2 block of Tofu (medium-firm)
1/2-1 tbsp Crushed Chilis
1 clove garlic, minced
1-2 tsp High heating Oil
Sweet Onion
Broccoli floretts
Pea pods
Green Zucchini
Purple Cabbage
Spinach Rice Vermacilli Noodles

Cube tofu and toss with crushed chilis, garlic and high-heating oil. Place cubes on aluminium foil and place in pre-heated oven (400 degrees).

Fill a small pot with water and set on high heat to boil. (This is to soak the vermacilli in).

Heat a large pan or wok with enough water to cook veggies. Use as many or little vegetables as you would like. You can add any other favorite vegetables into the mixture as well. I put kale stems and broccoli in first to cook longer, then after 5 minutes added the rest. Cook until all veggies are tender, but not overcooked (approximately 10-15 minutes).

The tofu should have a nice and crispy outside by now, if not, turn oven to broil and keep a close eye to make sure they do not burn.

Once water in pot is brought to a boil place rice vermacilli in, cover and remove from heat. The noodles will only take about 2 minutes to cook in boiled water.

Portion out a bed of noodles, the veggies and tofu on top. Add pesto to taste and mix well. Enjoy your healthy GREEN supper :)


Monday, 26 March 2012

An anniversary to celebrate :)

A year ago tomorrow, a wonderful group of family, friends and future family all gathered on the breathtaking beach of Whitehouse, Jamaica to witness the joining of two very in love people. My brother and my sister-in-law.

I have been waiting to post these photos because I knew their anniversary was approaching, and thought this post would have more of a tribute this way.

Sandal's Whitehouse, Jamaica, our weeklong oasis :)

Amazing beach.
Rehersal dinner! Allergic reactions and all... (poor Tanner)

The Bachelorette Party hehe ;)
The Bachelor party!

Wedding day brunch with the ladies!
Simply gorgeous!
Simple remedy for pre-wedding jitters :)

My new sister-in-law :)

Husband and wifey :)
Colin's side (except Brown, he's the "bride's-man").

Not a bad spot for a wedding reception :)

Jamaican sunset, words cannot describe :)

Negril sunset, can't be missed.

Ya mon!