In Conversation with Melissa Offner

melissa-offner-_running

Melissa is a content creator, stylist and world explorer. Born and raised in the small town of St-Lambert, Quebec, she now calls Toronto home. After seven years as a TV host, she felt stuck in a place that she no longer wanted to be in. Last summer, she made the decision to leave the television world behind and embrace the freelance life. She now runs her lifestyle website where she shares her passion for running, wellness, travel, food and fashion. Read on to learn about her journey to self love, how she stays motivated, and how she practices self-care while on the road…

You share a lot about self love and acceptance. How did your journey begin?

My journey with self love has been a long and complicated one. I was teased and bullied a lot growing up for having red hair, freckles and being skinny. I also had an eating disorder as a teenager for several years that almost landed me in the hospital.

Even in previous relationships, I had a hard time believing I had any value and didn’t really love myself deep down. It was only after doing a lot of work with a therapist and also getting myself out of those toxic relationships that I was able to really start accepting myself.

My husband has also been key in my journey, accepting and loving me for who I am. I would say the last three or four years, it’s really when I started feeling at peace with who I am and proud of my journey.

Have you always been an active person?

I have always been an active person. Growing up, I did it all. I swam competitively, skiied, played tennis, figured skated, did karate, etc.

When did you first start running?

I only started running about three years ago and only more seriously the past two years.

You shared on Instagram that you’re training for a half marathon. When is the half marathon and what keeps you motivated?

This will be the first ever half marathon I’ve ever done. I was signed up for one last year but ended up getting injured so had to opt out, which was the worst feeling in the world. So I feel like there’s some unfinished business to take care of this year. The first half I’ll be doing is on May 7th, I’ll be running the BMO Vancouver half marathon, followed by the Rock N’ Roll half marathon in San Diego in June, on the day of my birthday.

I think what keeps me motivated is proving to myself that a) I can actually run a half marathon, as I’ve only run shorter distances in the past b) to be the healthiest and strongest version of myself c) challenging and surpassing myself.

What’s your favourite fitness line?

That’s a hard question because every brand has something really cool and unique. I’m a big fan of Nike‘s training and running gear, I also love Adidas‘ more lifestyle inspired garments. I recently discovered a Canadian brand called Hyba, that has cool gear at a great price. I also love Michi, a brand from Toronto. They make the most comfortable leggings and sexiest bras!

Melissa Offner_travel

You’re a bit of a world explorer. What’s your most memorable travel experience so far?

Hardest question to answer. I think last summer’s trip to Kauai stood up a lot for me just because of how beautiful the island is. It was a great surf trip but also great trip to explore the countryside and get to know the local culture. I was really moved by my time there. Also, living out of a van in California this past fall was a major highlight thus far.

You traveled around in a camper van! What was that like?

It was hands down the best experience of my life. It taught me a lot about being self-sufficient and living in minimalism. It also gave me a great sense of freedom. There’s nothing quite like waking up in a new place every day and being able to take your “home” with you wherever you go.

How do you practice self-care while traveling?

Self-care is huge for me, no matter if I’m traveling or at home. I make it a point to eat properly when I travel, even if that means going to do groceries or spending a little more money on getting good vegan food or cold-pressed juices. I also make it a point to sign up for local fitness classes or going out for runs. It’s a top priority for me even when I travel.

What’s the one item you never leave home without?

My phone because it allows me to work no matter where I am or what I’m doing. I also have some great meditation apps, music, organization apps, etc. that allow me to use the phone for so many different purposes and keep me on track.

What are your favourite travel and fitness apps?

I love the NTC app, it’s a great way to get a short workout in no matter where you are – hotel room, park, gym, etc. The NRC is also my go-to running app, which allows me to keep on track of my race training. As for travel apps, I’m a big fan of rideshare apps like Lyft and Uber when I travel, also Ubereats, when I’m busy on the road and don’t have time to go out and get myself food.

Favourite food?

A good vegan meal with a cold-pressed juice and homemade vegan treat. In Toronto, my favorite spots to go eat are FreshLive and Hogtown Vegan. I have yet to go to Planta, but heard it’s great! I miss it when I’m away!

What has traveling taught you about yourself?

Traveling has taught me so much. I learn something new on every single trip, big or small about myself and so much about the world around me and us as humans. I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many incredible people that have taught me so much.

Traveling has taught me how to be self-sufficient, to be flexible because anything can happen when you travel. It has also taught me to be a better listener and have more understanding.

What’s on your travel bucket list this year?

Oh man… Ideally, I would love to go to Asia and Australia/New Zealand this year. I hope my schedule and finances will permit such a trip. But it’s quite high on my list!

Thanks so much for sharing, Melissa!

You can follow Melissa’s adventures on all her social media accounts @melsays, her YouTube channel, and her website Melsays.

(Photos courtesy of Melissa Offner.)

Advertisements

Happy Weekend + Links I Love

easter-weekend-sunset

Happy first weekend of March, everyone! Spring made an appearance here in Toronto, but that was short-lived. We’re back in the deep freeze again (Right now, it’s -13 celcius with the windchill!) How are you spending the weekend? I fell behind on my winter reading and I’ve got a stack of books to cozy up with this weekend. Read any good books lately?

I hope you make the time to rest this weekend. I came across so many good things on the Internet this week and as always, I’m sharing them with you. Enjoy!

+ Too Busy (not) To Pray. I read this post while waiting in the blood lab this week. Perfect timing as always. “My so-called “busyness” is often the culprit of my lack of joy, lack of flexibility, and lack of a peaceful heart. But, still, even knowing this, I say things like “I have too much to do,” and then scurry past the most importance task of just sitting with the Lord.”

+ Amanda followed me on Instagram recently and I am so happy she did. She’s just so real and encouraging. This post: Our wedding and love story is well worth the read. I cried in public.

+ You may want to marry my husband. This Modern Love feature also made me cry. Luckily, I read it at home.

+ Interior designer Magalie René-Hayes shares her 10 tips for transitioning careers quickly. I am thinking about changing careers so this post came at the perfect time. Thanks, Design Sponge!

+ The Cup of Jo team asked people in their shared office space what they actually eat for lunch. Loved the responses.

+ Don’t Wait for Permission. Griffin opens up about how she was turned down when she first applied for her Pure Barre franchise and how she kept on chasing her dream. “Don’t wait for permission to think outside the box. I’m not talking about being dishonest or breaking the rules, but the people who go above and beyond don’t wait for approval.”

+ 10 healthy whole food swaps. Happy to see raw apple cider vinegar and tahini on the list!

+ I’ve been on a nut butter kick lately, but it’s so expensive. I’m considering making my own and this espresso almond cashew butter sounds incredible. Laura, you’re genius!

+ Sarah of My New Roots has a beautiful new cookbook out. On the wish list.

+ I just downloaded the prettiest free desktop wallpaper from Design Love Fest. Such a mood brightener.

+ Canada turns 150 this year. I downloaded Passport 2017, the Canada 150 events app this week. It’s the perfect way to get personalized recommendations and discover cool events happening in 2017!

+ I don’t care if it’s freezing out. I’m making these healthier, boozy chocolate chip cookie milkshakes this weekend! My favourite things rolled into one.

Reading update:

I picked up Zoe Whittall’s The Best Kind of People last night and it kept me up way past my bedtime.

I’m hoping to finish The Lonely Hearts Hotel this weekend. Highly recommend it if you’re in a historical fiction kinda mood.

My Favourite Wellness Instagrammers

For years, I avoided Instagram. But at the end of 2015, I took the plunge and now I wonder how I ever lived without it. I can’t stop myself from snapping photos of any and everything. Most of all, I love connecting with like-minded people from all over the world.

This year, I’m focused on getting my health back on track and gaining weight in a healthy way. I’m making an extra special effort to eat more of what’s good for me, enjoy my favourite snacks (gelato, sea salt dark chocolate, caramel popcorn!) in moderation, rest when my body says so (I’m someone who pushes myself even when I’m sick or exhausted), stick to a workout routine, go on regular brunch dates with the girls, and let go of toxic relationships.

Today, I’m sharing the women who are inspiring me on my health journey…

vickie-c

Vickie Chountalos

Toronto-based Certified Nutritionist and CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach, Vickie Chountalos is one of those people you feel comfortable around the moment you meet them. I first met Vickie when Village Juicery opened up in my neighbourhood last year and we became instant friends. She is passionate about being in control, specifically when it comes to her health.

Instagram highlights: Uplifting posts on self-love and letting go of the things that are holding you back, stunning food photos, and delicious recipes that nourish the body and soul.

Follow Vickie on Instagram @theholisticboss and check out her website The Holistic Boss.

melissa-offner

Melissa Offner

Melissa is a content creator and world explorer with a passion for running, surfing, and the great outdoors. Last summer, I started following Melissa’s fitness journey and adventures on Instagram. Melissa suffered a back injury last year and took time off to heal. She handled this situation with such grace and positivity. She viewed it as an opportunity to learn and grow; perspective really does make all the difference. I’m so happy she has fully recovered and is back doing what she loves. Her attitude is infectious and she inspires me to kick fear to the curb and live fully!

Instagram highlights: Fitness and running inspo, outdoor adventures, travel, the most amazing murals, posts on self love, self-care, and acceptance.

Follow Melissa on Instagram @melsays and check out her website Melsays.

amanda-morgan

Amanda Morgan

Amanda Morgan is a clinical nutritionist and yoga instructor living between Connecticut and New York City. She is also the founder of the cleverly named wellness and lifestyle website, Healthy Wifestyle. Last night, I read through all of her posts on Instagram. Amanda doesn’t sugar coat anything and I don’t think I’ve encountered anyone as real, vulnerable, and encouraging as her in a really long time. It’s so refreshing! I love that she’s willing to talk openly about those issues women are too often afraid to talk about. She gives women the permission (and a safe space) to be 100% real about their fears and insecurities.

Instagram highlights: Real talk, tips on healthy relationships, yummy and good-for-you recipes, yoga, and travel.

Follow Amanda on Instagram @healthy_wifestyle and check out her blog Healthy Wifestyle.

ella-mills

Ella Mills

Ella Mills is the owner of The MaE Deli, writer of several cookbooks, and wellness advocate behind the hugely popular food blog, Deliciously Ella. I started following Ella’s wellness journey three years ago and she inspired me to give plant-based foods a fair try. Last spring, I had the pleasure of meeting Ella at the Toronto book signing for her second book, Deliciously Ella Everyday. She truly is a beautiful soul with a great sense of humour!

Instagram highlights: Real talk on social media and comparison, inspiring posts on self-love and self-care, simple plant-based recipes (and gorgeous photos of said recipes), behind-the-scenes of her business, yoga, and travel.

Follow Ella on Instagram @deliciouslyella and check out her blog Deliciously Ella.

mia-harris

Mia Harris

Two years ago, Mia Harris left her corporate job in banking to follow her heart for nutrition and helping people. And she’s never looking back. For the past 7 months, she’s been living her dream as a holistic nutritionist and lifestyle coach. Splitting her time between Los Angeles, CA and her home in Victoria, BC, Mia feels incredibly grateful that her job allows her to connect with awesome people from all around the world. She enjoys hiking, cooking, going to the beach, and she’s currently taking extra courses in women’s health.

Instagram highlights: Nourishing and delicious recipes, inspiring posts on eating well and following your dreams, nutrition tips, rainforest scenes, beach and sunset shots.

Follow Mia on Instagram @miaharrisnutrition and check out her website Mia Harris Nutrition. Mia has a blog in the works, so stay tuned!

mckel

McKel Hill

McKel Hill is a Nashville-based Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, wellness coach, and founder of the wildly popular Nutrition Stripped blog. I’ve been a regular reader for three years now and I drop everything when her weekly newsletter lands in my inbox. McKel is on a mission to “share simple recipes and actionable advice to make healthy living simple and available for anyone and everyone.”

Instagram highlights: Beautiful, delicious, and simple whole food recipes, nutrition tips, wellness advice, fitness motivation (workout playlists + videos), and food for thought.

Follow McKel on Instagram @nutritionstripped and check out her blog Nutrition Stripped.

griffin-mckenzie-hill

Griffin McKenzie Hill

Born and raised in Kentucky, Griffin now calls Colorado Springs home. A dancer for most of her life and a lover of kale and leggings, Griffin opened her studio Pure Barre Colorado Springs in 2014. She followed me on Instagram earlier this week and I’m so happy she did. The photos from her barre classes have inspired me to head back to the studio ASAP.

Instagram highlights: Real talk on body love and self-care, business posts, ski trips, and mountain views.

Follow Griffin on Instagram @griffinmckenzie and check out her blog Griffin McKenzie.

jordan-younger

Jordan Younger

Jordan Younger is a Los Angeles-based yoga teacher, wellness podcaster, and the blogger behind the wellness and lifestyle blog, The Balanced Blonde. A few weeks ago, one of her beautiful photos (a shot of her doing yoga on a beach in Bora Bora) popped up in my explore feed, so naturally I ended up scrolling through all her photos.

Instagram highlights: All things yoga, handstands, travel, yummy bowls of goodness, and natural beauty tips.

Follow Jordan on Instagram @thebalancedblonde, check out her blog The Balanced Blonde, and listen to her Soul on Fire podcast.

Are you on Instagram? What are your favourite accounts to follow? What are your 2017 goals and what keeps you motivated?  I’d love to hear in comments!

Happy Weekend + Links I Love

evening-skies-at-concord-cityplace

Happy weekend, friends! Got any fun plans? Seriously, where is February going? I really wish the year would slow down just a little bit.

Have you filed your taxes yet? I plan on filing mine online this Sunday. I can’t wait to get it out of the way. Also, will you be watching the Oscars? I don’t think I’ve watched any of the movies in the running, but I’ll be tuning in nonetheless. We used to do an Oscars pool at my old workplace and it was so much fun!

Whatever you end up doing, I hope you have a good one! If you’re looking for some reading, I’ve got you covered with my favourite links…

+ Watch how movie sound effects are made. Just in time for this Sunday’s Oscars!

+ Sip on these gorgeous lemon raspberry sorbet prosecco floats while watching the big show.

+ The best of New York Fashion Week street style illustrated. Love love love.

+ I discovered Griffin on Instagram this week and I appreciated her super honest post, Loving the Body I Hate. I wrote these words on a Post-It and stuck it on my bathroom mirror: “But, if you struggle with loving your body, like me, remember that love is first an action. One of the best things you can do is act in a way that’s loving to your body, even if your mind is telling you otherwise.”

+ Instagram’s newest feature is without a doubt the best one yet. You can now share up to 10 photos and videos in one post.

+ When everything is not enough. I read this post at the perfect time.

+ This made me laugh. “I want to grow up and be like my mom because I really like her.”

+ This short film is not to be missed: 109-year-old veteran and his secrets to life.

+ I could devour a couple of these beautiful scallion and sesame tuna burgers right about now.

+ Love this monochromatic look.

(Photo from last spring.)

Happy {Long} Weekend + Links I Love

winter-sunset

Happy weekend, everyone! Got any fun plans this weekend? It’s feeling like spring in Toronto and I’m looking forward to hitting the trails this weekend.

I hope you have a good one. As always, here’s what I’m loving this week…

+ A brave and moving love story.

+ The wait is over! Big Little Lies premieres this Sunday on HBO.

+ This weekend I plan on catching up on New York Fashion Week Fall 2017. This year, there were 180 shows! I loved Anna Wintour’s recap of trends spotted on the runways. “I also thought it was an optimistic week and a joyful week. I do feel when things are tough being positive is the best revenge.”

+ What Should I Read Next is one of my favourite podcasts. In this week’s episode, Anne talks books with Megan of the Sorta Awesome Podcast.

+ Hosting an Oscars party this year? Oscar bingo sounds like such a fun way to entertain your guests. (Thanks Emily!)

+ Pixar launched free online lessons in storytelling and filmmaking featuring the studio’s directors and story artists. I am definitely checking this out.

+ LOVED this. Life Inside the Lifestyle Blog.

+ I just discovered Elle‘s series This Woman’s Work. I’ll be catching up on the features this weekend.

+ On repeat: Bruno Mars’s tribute to Prince.

+ A great interview with British author Clare Mackintosh. Her response to the question, “Who is your fashion icon?” made me laugh out loud in public: “I’m a writer. Find me a celebrity who advocates spending all day in stretchy lounge wear, fingerless gloves and fluffy slippers, and there’s my fashion icon.”

Reading update:

This weekend I’ll be starting Heather O’Neill’s new historical novel The Lonely Hearts Hotel.

(Winter sunset snapped in the neighbourhood.)

Happy Weekend + Links I Love

snow-covered

Happy Sunday, everyone. It’s been snowing nonstop since this morning and a foot has fallen already. I plan on making the most of it. How are you spending the rest of the weekend?

If you’re in the mood for some reading, here’s a roundup of my favourite links from around the web this week…

+ The Grammys are on tonight. Will you be watching? Here’s a rundown of what to watch for.

+ This indoor skydiving freestyle routine took my breath away.

+ This photo shoot on Iceland Black Sand Beach is nothing short of magical.

+ Teenagers who vandalized the Asburn Colored School in Virginia sentenced to read. The list of 35 books includes The Color Purple by Alice Walker, Night by Elie Wiesel, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, and The Beautiful Struggle by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

+ Will shared the most stunning photos from his NYE trip to Stockholm.

+ This New York City ballet dancer’s new role is being bad.

+ Pardon my French is one of those podcasts I listen to regularly. This week, Garance had best selling author Jessi Klein on the show.

+ Did you see this story about the flight attendant who saved a young human trafficking victim on an Alaska Airlines flight? “Something in the back of my mind said something was not right. He was well-dressed. That’s what got me because I thought why is he well-dressed and she is looking all dishevelled and out of sorts?”

+ I downloaded this app this week and I can’t wait to try it out. 10 tips for taking an awesome Boomerang. Do you use it?

+ I am heading back to ballet this week after a 5-month break. Halfway through every class, my calf muscles cramp up. I wish I’d known about these tips to avoid or minimize them sooner.

+ Favourites on Instagram: From Reese to Madeline via @reesewitherspoon, Magical morning moments via @thebalancedblonde, Having a princess moment wearing Dior via @songofstyle, Who says you can’t do ballet in a formal gown? via @mystylepill

Reading update:

I am still reading Columbine. I am hoping to finish it tonight.

I’m in the mood for historical fiction so I’m starting The Belly of Paris.

Happy Weekend + Links I Love

alexander-muir-memorial-gardens-2

Happy February, everyone! I hope you’re having a great weekend so far. How are you spending it? This evening, I’m meeting friends for a Winterlicious dinner followed by the Toronto Light Festival in the Distillery District.

Hope you have a good one! As always, I’m sharing my favourite links with you…

+ Loved reading this so, so much. Harry Belafonte Knows a Thing or Two About New York. “It’s my last chance to say whatever I feel the need to say. And I think I’m formulating what that utterance should be. What have I not said that needs to be said more forcefully and more precisely? There are times we mute ourselves, we censor ourselves because we have this false pride, this need to be liked. Rather than worry about being liked, are you telling the truth, putting your best foot forward?”

+ Have you heard about Sincerely, X? TED and Audible debuted this audio series this week that features speakers sharing revealing stories anonymously.

+ Speaking of TED Talks, this one: My son was a Columbine shooter. This is my story landed in my inbox this week. I am currently reading Columbine so I found it quite timely.

+ I am loving this new literary lifestyle magazine.

+ Tips for handling difficult conversations online. We need this more than ever these days.

+ Airbnb’s CEO offers free housing to refugees. Interested in helping? You can make a donation here.

+ These words from the head of communications for the UN Refugee Agency: “My job is to make people care about the sixty million displaced people in the world. I wish I could tell every single one of their stories. Because if people knew their stories, I don’t think there would be so many walls. And there wouldn’t be so many people drowning in the seas.”

+ These caramelized banana, Nutella, and candied pecan pancakes make me so happy!

+ This strawberry milkshake cake is almost too pretty to eat.

+ 6 favourite Brooklyn restaurants.

Reading update:

I am slowly making my way through Columbine by Dave Cullen. It’s a difficult, well-executed read that belongs on everyone’s reading list!

I am also reading Tracy K. Smith’s memoir Ordinary Light and I can’t put it down. She reflects on race, faith, family, her childhood in Northern California, her relationship with her mother, and her journey to becoming a writer. Beautifully written, thoughtful, and engaging.

What I Read in January

January was a pretty good reading month for me. Here are the 6 books I read and loved this month…

you-will-not-have-my-hate

You Will Not Have My Hate by Antoine Leiris, translated by Sam Taylor

This short memoir is one of my favourite January reads. I’ve never read anything more beautiful and it had me in tears.

On November 13 2015, Antoine Leiris’s wife, Hélène was killed by terrorists while attending a rock concert at the Bataclan theater in Paris. Leiris was left to care for his seventeen-month-old son. Days after the attacks, he shared an open letter to his wife’s killers on Facebook. Here’s a snippet from his post: “You want me to be scared, to see my fellow citizens through suspicious eyes, to sacrifice my freedom for security. You have failed. I will not change.”

With grace, honesty, and vulnerability, he shares the story of his grief and struggle in the days and weeks after his wife’s murder. A gorgeously written, incredibly moving memoir about love, loss, and our power to choose love over hate.

fractured

Fractured by Catherine McKenzie

Catherine McKenzie is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors. Her latest novel is psychological suspense at its finest. Bestselling murder mystery author Julie Prentice and her family move from Tacoma, Washington to a picture-perfect Cincinnati neighbourhood to escape a stalker. Told from the perspectives of Julie and her new neighbour John, the story is brilliantly structured and packed with twist after twist. You know something horrible has happened in the neighbourhood, but you don’t know exactly what or to whom. I read it from cover to cover in one weekend.

fig

Fig by Sarah Elizabeth Schantz

Schantz’s debut novel was my pick for the “book with an unreliable narrator” category for the 2017 MMD Reading Challenge. I don’t usually read young adult novels, but this one came highly recommended by the teen librarian at my local library. Narrated by Fig, from ages six to nineteen, it’s a painfully accurate portrayal of life with mental illness and a mother-daughter relationship. Fig’s voice is so authentic and I can’t stop sharing it with everyone. Highly recommended for both teens and adults.

love-loss-and-what-we-ate

Love, Loss, and What We Ate by Padma Lakshmi

I love memoirs and I’ve added quite a few to this year’s reading list. I kicked off the year with Lakshmi’s bestselling memoir. In it, Lakshmi opens up about her childhood in India, moving to the U.S. at the age of four, her immigrant experience, and her journey to self-acceptance and feeling comfortable in her own skin. She talks candidly about her family life, marriage, divorce, and of course, her love of cooking and hosting Bravo’s Emmy award-winning Top Chef. Bonus: Lakshmi shares some of her favourite recipes throughout the book. Vivid, beautifully written, bold, and brave.

our-souls-at-night

Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf

In his final novel, Haruf transports us to the fictional small town of Holt, Colorado. Addie Moore and Louis Waters have lived in Holt for decades. Both their spouses died years ago and they have been living alone in empty houses. One day, Addie unexpectedly shows up on Louis’s doorstep with an invitation to spend the night at her house. After some thought, Louis accepts. As Addie and Louis get to know each other through their nightly conversations, a beautiful and honest relationship blooms.

Told in plain English, it’s a story about love, companionship, grief, and second chances.

suffer-love

Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake

Sam and Hadley meet at high school. Sam falls for Hadley, but then he finds out her last name. I read this in an afternoon. Blake does an excellent job of exploring the impact one choice has on two different families. Written in stunning language, this is an achingly beautiful and realistic love story for our times.

What did you read in January?

Happy Weekend + Links I Love

snow-day

Happy Friday! Can you believe it’s the final weekend of January? It’s cold and grey and snow flurries are on the way. If it’s not too cold out, I plan on checking out the Toronto Light Festival in The Distillery District. It looks like such an amazing event!

Got any fun plans this weekend? As always, I’ve rounded up my favourite links from around the web this week…

+ The right way to fall. “The key is to not fight the fall, but just to roll with it, as paratroopers do.”

+ Real perspectives from the Women’s Marches in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles.

+ Watch New York City Ballet dancers take over a subway station.

+ A new Netflix documentary series about design is coming in February.

+ LOVING the 2017 Oscar nominations by the numbers.

+ Invisible Wounds. Humans of New York’s new series tells the stories of veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

+ The Taste of Emotion. Dominique Crenn on the poetry of cooking, the power of memory, and rejecting limits for women in the male-dominated culinary industry.

+ Bri shared an amazing Stockholm travel guide.

+ 9 documentaries to add to your must-see list this year.

+ Stay warm with this matcha honey hot chocolate.

Reading update:

I finished Kent Haruf’s Our Souls at Night this week. It was the late author’s final novel and I really enjoyed it.

I’m starting Columbine this weekend.

(Photo snapped in Alexander Muir Memorial Gardens last winter.)

Happy Weekend + Links I Love

winter wonderland on Manor Road

I am in the mood to curl up on the couch in my pajamas and binge-watch documentaries. Any recommendations?

Whatever you do, I hope you have an amazing one! As always, my favourite links this week for you to click through…

+ Don’t miss out: This weekend, you can download these 7 eBooks for free in honour of the Women’s Marches!

+ Bryan Stevenson: A Civil Rights Hero for the Age of Trump. Stevenson shares his thoughts on justice, race, America, and the importance of books. His book Just Mercy is a necessary read for our times. I finally read it last year and I’ll be rereading it soon.

+ A final thank you from Obama. How can you not love him?

+ And designers wrote the sweetest thank you notes to Michelle Obama.

+ This was a fascinating long read. To Obama With Love, Hate, and Desperation. The director of presidential correspondence, Fiona Reeves “looked for stories. Not pro-this or con-that, not screeds, not opinions about what someone heard on N.P.R. The president needed to hear the stories — that’s what he couldn’t get himself. She thought of the letters as a periscope outside the bubble, as a way for him to see as he used to see, before Secret Service protection and armored vehicles and a press pool and the world watching.”

+ Love this interview. Why the world needs more women sound mixers.

+ The brilliant question LinkedIn’s head of recruiting asks every job candidate.

+ This timely Ted Talk landed in my inbox this week. Ashley Judd: How online abuse of women has spiraled out of control.

+ An anti-smoking billboard that coughs. Seriously?

+ Must watch: Ellen’s tribute to the Obamas.

+ The perfect dinner for cold winter evenings: Slow roasted citrus salmon and winter citrus butter salmon.

+ Loving this social media cheat sheet for 2017.

+ Favourites from my Instagram feed: The beautiful in-between via @tuulavintage, Steamy with a chance of flurries via @laurenswells

+ In case you missed it, I shared the 100 books on my 2017 reading list.

Reading update:

This week I finished Padma Lakshmi’s memoir Love, Loss, and What We Ate. Vivid, brave, moving, and brutally honest.