Thankful.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving friends! I know I haven’t blogged in forever, but the reason for this is threefold:

  1. I’ve been bogged down with planning and marking at school.
  2. I’ve been focusing on our podcast (episode 2 about food and nutrition as self-care is now available on the podcast app! Just search “Self-care with Lauren and Blair” to listen!)
  3. Aaaaand I just haven’t been inspired to write, unfortunately, and I didn’t want to blog for the sake of blogging.

But here we are, and damnit, I’ll try to write something relatively coherent and engaging for all of y’all, because I know my 5 loyal followers want it.

What am I thankful for this year? Like, a lot. It’s been a really good time both personally and professionally, and I need to make a list because I love lists and lists are awesome.

1. My health. Always first and foremost. How lucky am I that my body is healthy enough to allow me to do high impact exercise 3 days a week? To run around with my children? To get out of bed every day and live a productive life? I will never ever take this for granted. When I sit on that spin bike, I thank gd for my health multiple times. I also thank gd I’m not pregnant, because being in that body really freaking sucks, but that’s a whole other blog post.

2. My family. I mean, duh. I’m eternally grateful that my children are happy and healthy and not the spawn of Satan. I also feel so blessed to have a wonderful husband, the best parents, and the cutest of sisters eva.

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Apple picking when it’s still hot out is fun too. (TB to a few weeks ago…)

3. My friends. I tightened my inner circle A LOT this year and it’s been very liberating. I have the world’s most patient friends, because for the last four months, my conversations, meals, and life in general have revolved around Instagram. They don’t get to eat until I’ve photographed (or rather, they’ve photographed because I’m a shitty photographer) their meals, and my conversations with them are a steady stream of follows and unfollows, podcast plans, and asking which picture to post. I’m sorry guys. I really truly suck. You’re all amazing for tolerating me.

4. Impromptu weekend trips to NYC. The fact the most incredible city in the world is just a one hour flight away is nothing short of amazing! I don’t want to live there, but every few months I just feel the pull of the city and gravitate towards it. It’s an addiction, I suppose, but the energy, food, nightlife, and shopping are beyond magnetic.

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5. My job. I have the best students this semester. We have the most interesting class discussions, and they’re all so engaged and participatory. It’s rare to get a group where the majority of the students have strong opinions, so this is pretty much English teacher heaven for me! Also, in case people think teenagers are rude and disrespectful, I want to tell you that every morning, my students come into my class and greet me with a “hello” or a “good morning.” When they leave the class, they say “have a good day miss,” or “bye!” They’re such mensches! I really appreciate their warmth and kindness, because it keeps me in a good mood and sets a really positive tone for the day.

6. Refined carbohydrates and gluten. Pizza. Donuts. Tacos.

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This maple bacon donut from Dipped Donuts in Kensington Market is pretty much the epitome of fall in Canada, amirite? I think I am most grateful for this donut. Like, I love my family and stuff, but…donuts win.

The End of Summer Sads

Hi friends! I woke up so depressed today knowing there’s only 2 weeks of summer vacation left. This is around the time I should be making my peace with returning to work, especially considering this summer I did allllllllll the things, but I’m just…not. Frankly, the summer of 2018 was just too good to me, and knowing it’s coming to an end is a tough pill to swallow.

Because we’ve been so busy, I deliberately left the last 3 weekends of the summer open for us to just spend quality time as a family, and that’s what we did this past weekend. There were impromptu park trips, bike rides, and a spontaneous trip downtown to explore, and tbh, it was so nice to just be able to chill.

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I have no smart ass caption for this. I just really like my kids.

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We went to Trinity Bellwoods park, and I sat for a bit, just letting my creative juices flow. I have a big project coming up, and I can’t wait to share it! (Little spoiler – it’s a joint venture with an amazing partner in crime.)

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Just strollin’ with my squad, because..photo ops.

There was also a lot of eating feelings that went down this past weekend, so I’ll leave you with these beautiful creations.

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Cinnaholic’s vegan cookie dough cinnamon bun.

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Milk Cow’s watermelon ice cream sandwich.

You want both of these in your mouth. Yes, you definitely do.

Carrots and Cake

Oh haaaaaay! It’s been a hot minute. Sorry friends; this past weekend we threw a joint birthday party for the kids, and frankly I’m still recuperating. It wasn’t quite the type of rager I’ve been enjoying this summer, but it’s left me exhausted regardless.

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This little cutie turned 3 last Saturday!

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And of course he just wanted alllll the mommy cuddles cuz he’s a total suck and being a high school teacher who has seen her share of teenage mama’s boys, I know this means I will probably let him live in my basement til he’s 40, making him pizza pockets and calling his employer to let them know he’s going to be late, but it’s all good because I lololololooooooove him so freaking much.

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Wow, the puke green wall really accentuates my crazy.

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So my best friend snapped this pic because she was all like, “Leave it to the Athleisure Teacher to be eating carrots at a birthday party.” Full disclosure: this is NOT the only thing I ate. Yes I do gravitate towards the fruit and veggie platters (just not the dip because there’s a 236% chance that at least one nasty person has double dipped or stuck their indoor play place germ infested finger in that shit), but we all know I’m about balance, so I usually treat myself too. I make a conscious choice between pizza or cake, but not both. It all depends if I’m feeling sweet or savoury that day, but usually it’s savoury because pizza is life and I don’t want to live in a world where I can’t eat carbs or cheese.

And because you all come here for the adult content…

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I had a beautiful lunch with one of my favourite friends last Friday at Sorelle and Co., the cutest little vegan bakery with amazing savoury lunch options. I got to hear about her new puppy, and snagged the most incredible s’mores tart to take home for later.

We also had an impromptu photo shoot, because…hmm…well…we had a photo shoot because I’m vain. Yup.

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RBF.

Supplements We Love

One of the questions I’m most frequently asked is what supplements I take and what I give to the kids. So after doing a major haul yesterday at Ambrosia, my personal Mecca and the store I frequently take second mortgages out to feed my addiction to, I thought I’d share with you what we take to stay healthy.

*Note – I have zero expertise in regards to any of this. I just do what works for us. As always, consult your doctor or health professional before starting a new supplement.*

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Clockwise from top left:

  1. Genuine Health Advanced Gut Health Probiotic – I take this daily (before breakfast) to support the microbiome in my bowel. I’ve alluded to my bowel issues before on the blog, and without getting into too many details, I can certifiably say that a daily probiotic has helped me keep my gut health in check. Probiotics help with immune support, allow you absorb nutrients better and also alleviate a lot of IBS symptoms. There’s also a gut and brain connection, which suggests that a healthy gut helps to keep you mentally healthy as well. So taking a daily probiotic is really a no-brainer. I like this this particular brand because it’s vegan, and comes in a shelf-stable blister pack, so you don’t need to refrigerate, which makes it ideal on the go.
  2. Genuine Health Fermented Vegan Proteins – I put this in my smoothies because of the fermentation, which makes me less bloated. Both the chocolate and vanilla flavors are amazing, and it’s a Toronto-based company, which I love.
  3. Bulletproof Upgraded Collagen – As many of you know (particularly if you watch my stories about little baggies of it making me look like a cokehead in public), I take collagen daily. I put a scoop of it in my coffee, and this brand dissolves beautifully with zero taste. It’s pricey, but honestly, a life changer. I’ve been taking it for about 6 months or so, and lately people have been telling me I look like I’m aging backwards. I give full credit to this collagen for being my fountain of youth. Take it. Your skin, hair, nails and gut will thank you.
  4. Floradix Kindervital – Don’t let the weird German name turn you off. This multivitamin for the kids is amazing. I like it because it’s liquid, which means easier absorption, and also that it has calcium and vitamin D in it, because my children don’t really drink much milk, and it’s easier than taking an additional calcium supplement.
  5. Natural Factors Kids Multiprobiotic – This is the powder my kids get in their morning beverage. It dissolves nicely, and I like knowing they’re getting their gut and immune support too. During the school year, my daughter also gets HMF Fit for School, which is pricey, but a really solid probiotic to ensure she’s warding off the myriad of diseases her classmates carry.

So there you have it; some of our essentials. I hope you found this post informative! XO

Mommy Blogger for a Day

Let me preface this post with two things:

  1. This is the post where I officially give up on censoring my kids’ faces. That was fun while it lasted, but I’m two months into my blogging journey and now I’m too lazy, so like…meh. Enjoy their faces.
  2. I promise after this parenting post I’ll resume normalcy with my lifestyle, food, exercise and fun content.

So last week we went to Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls for two nights to celebrate my daughter’s 6th birthday. Wait. Let me pause for a second. SIX!? How have I been a mom for so long? Good lord I’m old.

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GWL

As you can see, the kids had the most amazing time! As for the adults, there are certain things you must accept if you’re going to go:

  1. The place is a cesspool of germs. I feel like all the chlorine in the world can’t kill the gonorrhea that likely exists there. Sorry to alert you all to this, but it’s a reality. So make your peace with it before you go.
  2. You can’t look cute here. Due to humidity and all activities being water related, you need to embrace looking like a homely dirtnugget for the duration of your stay. I threw my hair up in the rattiest top knot (see above for evidence) and didn’t wear a stitch of makeup. I looked like a troll for 48 hours and frankly, it’s okay. I’ll be okay.
  3. The margs at the pool aren’t strong enough. Ask for a double, because #sanity.
  4. The talking animals are scary as shit.
  5. Get comfortable dancing to Taylor Swift and doing the Cha Cha Slide in public. Likely sober. The struggle was real.

Anyway, this was my token mommy blogger post. How did I do? Now I’ll leave you with something more fun, because of course the second I got home from the trip, I needed to do some serious adulting and went for a night on the town.

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Unapologetically living my best life this summer.

Livin’ for the Long Weekend!

Hiiiiiii! Your girl is back and here to stay! I’m officially off for the summer, and expect to be coming at you pretty regularly for the next two months!

This past weekend was, in a word, magical. It was a perfect combination of rest (but not too much, because #fireworks, rage hulk smash), gluttony, and pretending I enjoy schlepping my kids from activity to activity to entertain them. [side note: I do enjoy it, please don’t judge me.]

Friday night we celebrated my last day of work with carbs, cheese, and cocktails at my favourite restaurant, Scaddabush.

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Green sangria and gnocchi Gorgonzola. Here. For. It.

¬†Also, aren’t my food photography skills improving? To get that one, I actually moved to a vacant table with good lighting. People watched me transporting my meal and normally I’d have been pretty self conscious, but I’m working on developing blinders and not GAF, because to be a blogger in this day and age, you gotta get comfortable talking to your phone in public, working angles for the best shot while people give you weird looks, etc.

Saturday we went to the splash pad with our best friends, and it was a blast! Leetle story about this playdate. While my kids played, I camped out under a tree with my best friend and her baby, and we just chat. I totally ignored my kids, and damn it felt good. I had a brief moment where a tiny voice in my head whispered, “Lauren, have another baby. They play too well independently now. They don’t need you. Find yourself another spawn that needs you.” And for a minute I actually entertained it. Then I burst into maniacal laughter, regained my sanity, and resumed my convo about all the bad decisions I’m going to make in New York City this week on my girls’ trip.

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I dare you to find a look that screams “haute couture” more than this. You wish you could pull off fash-un like this, yes? Truthfully, this mom style moment is brought to you by a solid 5 minutes to get ready, 45 degree humidity, and the known truth that wearing navy blue and black together makes you look like a bruise. (But in all seriousness, I do love me this Aritzia romper, mostly because it eliminates me having to figure out a top and bottom that semi-match. So thanks for that Aritizia!)

Sunday we had a BBQ with friends, which was so adorable. We got so lucky having friends who had a daughter four days after ours, and then a son two months after our son was born. Watching them grow up together has been so sweet!

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All dem blurred faces.

And then Monday we went to Woodbine Center Fantasy Fair, because four days of heat warnings and crazy humidity were really taking a toll on us (us being my hair).

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fantasyfair

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The sweet moments were all well and great, but I just came for the ice cream.

So there you have it. Installment #1 of the Teacher on Summer Break series. Have a great Tuesday friends! (Especially if your kids are off to camp. Especially especially if that camp is overnight.)

Dining out with Kids

Welcome to the gates of hell, friends.

…Kidding, well, sort of.

I actually think there are ways to eat at restaurants with young children and still enjoy yourself. Want some tips? Yes, I think you do. [A word of caution: many of my tips will lead complete strangers to judge you and call you a mediocre mom behind your back. If you’ve made your peace with this, proceed. If you’re holier than thou and want to maintain a public image of a perfect parent, this is where you close the window.]

Tip 1: Order a massive cocktail

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Ideally the cocktail will be the approximate size of a child’s face, so you can cover it up and pretend they’re not there. There are two small issues with this, however. The first is that you can still hear them. The second is…

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…they’ll fiiiiiiiiiind you.

Tip 2: Dine with other families

I highly recommend going out for meals with other families. This way, the children can entertain themselves (read: run amuck, dance, disturb other people’s meals, almost pull heat lamps, umbrellas and various other heavy things down on themselves) and you can theoretically eat your meal while it’s hot. Theoretically. If you get nasty looks from other patrons, remind them you’re not giving your children iPads instead, and the people will be instantly appeased and praise you for your amazing parenting techniques.

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Tip 3: Order strategically

If you order your children anything other than chicken fingers, fries, pizza, or mac and cheese, they won’t stay seated longer than 30 seconds. Let them get juice/chocolate milk wasted, let them have dessert, but most importantly, let them eat nothing. It doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, and kids’ meals pack up beautifully for lunch the next day.

Tip 4: Dine al fresco

If the weather is good, patio dining is always an A+ choice when you’re with kids. First of all, fresh air is so good for children. Secondly, when they inevitably spill their milk and drop 92% of their meal on the floor, you can sleep better at night knowing the rain will wash it away and/or you’ve fed some adorable critters.

Tip 5: Order all the things

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You will need to carb load for the energy to wrangle up two extremely sugared up kids and get them to bed at a semi-reasonable time. That extra slice of pizza will single handedly fuel your mad dash through the house chasing a naked toddler refusing to put on his diaper before he goes to sleep.

Tip 6: Go at 5:30 pm. The early bird special guarantees annoying fewer other diners, and also ensures you can still make your 9 pm bedtime. It’s win win.

I hope you found all my tips helpful and that you’ll find the strength within to venture out for dinner with your kids now. Takeout is really gross guys, am I right? So go enjoy a meal hot and fresh, and thank me later. XO, The Athleisure Teacher/Mediocre-st Mom