Dear DiarySips, Sweets & Snacks

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Well, as expected living on just juice was a challenge- in fact, for me it was pretty much impossible. I’m a super active person, and I always have about 100 things on the go, so attempting to go so many days without any carbs and then survive two days drinking only liquids honestly just didn’t really work.

Though I did my best to relax, I ended up working and running errands like crazy before collapsing into bed and sleeping almost all day both days. I felt like I was missing out on a bunch of important time, and by the end of day one I just got SO hungry. What can I say? I truly love to eat, and though a cleanse might work if I was laying poolside in the sun all week reading books and taking long naps, a few days without food in the middle of cold Toronto winter and a crazy busy work week started to feel almost unhealthy.

And so, At the end of day one I ate a few bites of kale salad, and on day two I couldn’t help but snag a few pieces of the vegan sushi we made with Juniper Wood Kitchen.

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After my indiscretion, I ended up consulting Marcelina, curious why not eating even made sense in the first place. She explained that because our digestive system is always working hard to, well, digest, it never gets a break to heal and regenerate. By ingesting only liquid foods, we give it that break to cleanse and gather energy instead of continually loading it with solid food to process. This makes a ton of sense, but in the end I couldn’t ignore what my body was telling me- I really needed to eat, so I did.

Though I’m sure cleanse experts will shake their heads, I still feel really good about how I’ve done so far. It’s been a whole week since I’ve touched a cigarette, and six days without any animal products or junk food, which for me is VERY big. I didn’t crack and order a pizza, I didn’t go out drinking with my friends (despite their insistence vodka is basically just a potato), and most importantly I’m feeling so inspired to make all sorts of healthy vegan recipes this week!

But not so fast… I’ve still got one last day to go! I’ll report back later this week with the full review.

Dear DiarySips, Sweets & Snacks

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So here we are, almost halfway through January- oh how times flies! I was a little slow to get started on my resolutions this year, and you may have noticed I’ve been a lot more quiet than usual. what can I say? I needed a bit of me time! Anyway, here I am, back and better than ever.

In an effort to fast track some of my 2016 goals, I decided to try something I’ve failed at multiple times in the past: a cleanse! Now I know what you’re thinking- “Alyssa, you’ve mentioned time and time again that you don’t like cleanses and you’d rather eat? Who even are you!” Trust me, I’m definitely not attempting to survive on lemon water and cayenne for a week. Instead of trying to jump into a pre-set juice program or create on my own cleanse schedule based on the internet as I have in the past, I decided to turn to my favourite local juicery for help.

Village Juicery, to be precise.

I’ve had a pretty serious addiction to Village ever since they opened a couple years ago, and every time I visited to stock up on chocolate nut milk (you MUST try it) I became more curious about their Reset programs (aka custom juice cleanses). I loved the idea of a reset this month, especially with all of my 2015 bad habits and recent emotional baggage that I’d like to leave in the past, so I set up an appointment with Marcelina, one of Village’s in-house nutritionists, and dove right in.

Lesson one: you cannot just “dive in” to a juice cleanse! Marcelina and I talked through all of my eating habits, my energy levels, how I sleep, how much alcohol I drink (insert face palm) and more before she carefully drafted up a schedule of juices tailored to me. Because I’m so deeply attached to eating, she planned out two “Prepare” days, two “Eliminate” days, and one “Reset” day, which in English means I only had to make it through two days of just juice. During the other three days I’d be able to eat nuts, seeds, fruits and veggies (specifically greens!)

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And so here I am, reporting from the end of day 2. In an effort to prep and make my cleanse as successful as possible I started eating only veggies and a tiny bit of whole grains (brown rice mostly) right after my appointment at Village Monday, which means I’ve had no processed sugar, caffeine, white bread products, or alcohol for four days! It’s been a massive change for me considering I basically live on pizza and donuts, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’ve been dreaming of burritos and slices of cake nonstop for the past 48 hours.

Anyway, moving on!

I picked up my first 2 boxes of juice magic yesterday morning and got started right away. On top of the juices and little health shots Marcelina included chia breakfast bowls for the first two days, and some really tasty kale pulp crackers. She also included a calendar with timing for when to drink everything, and cute little tips for what to focus on each day (because she’s the sweetest ever), which made me feel a lot more motivated right away. That said, I somehow missed a memo, and for the most of yesterday I didn’t eat any veggies, just the breakfast bowl. That’s right, I put myself through hours of juice-only life by accident. MY BAD.

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Once I figured out I could eat veggies, nuts and seeds for these first official two days everything got a lot less dismal. I made a super tasty salad for dinner night one with tahini dressing, kale, cucumber, peppers, and an entire avocado (can you tell I miss my fats?), and snacked on my kale crackers with hummus all day yesterday. I feel sleepy much earlier than usual (Marcelina recommended sleeping before 10!) and have been battling a few headache attacks, but overall I feel really good about day one and two. My body actually feels nourished, which is an altogether new feeling, and as I start to shed my bad habits (I haven’t smoked since Sunday!) I can feel some of the bad vibes and sad feelings evaporating out of my life as well.

Starting this morning, it’s the big Kahuna- two days of just juice. Wish me luck? I’ll report back soon…

Dear Diary

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After almost a week of rest and regeneration, I’m finally feeling up to facing 2016 with everything I’ve got. January is practically made for self-improvement and new goals, and though 2015 wasn’t my favourite year on record it certainly taught me a lot about myself and where I’d like to be next.

Protect your magic // I’ve been hesitant about this one for awhile, but I think it’s finally time to embrace it based on recent life lessons. I’ve always loved how easily I trust, how strongly I love, and how much I throw myself into new experiences, but sadly I think the best thing I could do moving forward is to learn to be a bit more guarded. Giving away your magic feels wonderful until you have nothing but a few specks of glitter left for yourself, and I think I need to teach myself to only give what I receive back. To read more about the art movement that’s inspired me, click here.

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover // For a long time I was too busy to make time for one of my favourite things: learning. From watching documentaries to devouring books, I used to love to soak up new information like a sponge, and I’m really seriously invested in bringing that hunger back to my life. Also, podcasts! Any recommendations?

Go green // I don’t know what happened, but I used to eat so much healthier not long ago. These days I survive on a diet of mostly cheese, simple carbs, and sugar, which may look cute in photos but honestly, it does NOT feel good. Effective immediately I’m going to cut back on the diary and sugar, and work towards a mainly plant-based diet. I’ll be sure to share any new favourite recipes here!

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Snuff out the smoke // Very few of you know this because I never ever bring it up online, but I’ve smoked on and off for years. It always used to be just a casual social thing, but recently it’s become much more of a habit than I care to admit. I’m hoping to stop completely by the end of February, and in the meantime I’d love any tips you might have!

Run for it // Nothing in the world makes me feel more strong and totally free than a good run, in fact I always joke I run my best when I’m dealing with some form of emotional trauma. I want to work morning jogs into my daily routine instead of just sporadically when I’m feeling too sad to function.

Dear Diary

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I have to admit, I’m terrible when it comes to finances. I’m very big on instant gratification, which means collecting pretty things has always won out over building up a savings account or putting away my credit card. I consistently overspend on everything from weekly groceries to photo shoot props, and there have been a few times when I honestly got in super over my head with debt.

As fun as mindless spending can be every once and awhile, it definitely adds up over time, and when this new year started I decided enough was enough: it’s time to be a responsible adult, at least when it comes to my bank account! The first step I took was changing my Visa over to an Avion card so that when I do have to spend I also gain travel points- a decision that helped make my recent trip to Mexico a whole lot more affordable. I also set up a tax-free savings account that I vowed never to touch (not even for a pair of glittery Miu Miu shoes!), and started to make bigger payments on my visa debt every paycheque.

But even with those steps in place, I found I was still struggling with debt. The interest rates on my account were pretty out of control from building up over the years, and no matter how much money I put toward the balance it always seemed to catch right back up with me. Overwhelmed and frustrated with my lack of progress, I turned to Mogo.

Mogo is a new Canadian financial services company that aims to help people like me “Uncredit Card” their lives. First, I signed up for one of their “liquid loans”, an instant loan system with interest rates significantly lower than my actual credit card, and a really manageable payment plan to pay it back. I used Mogo liquid to pay off my Visa in full so that I could put a stop to their sneaky monthly interest charges once and for all, and now every paycheque I make payments on my Mogo loan instead, which meansI pay significantly less interest and I will be debt free sooner! Better yet, if I have the loan balance after 12 months, Mogo will lower the interest rate even further as a reward for good payment history (for example, 9.99 could drop to 6.9). Pretty cool right? Mogo also helped me set up my Visa to pre-pay bills and improve my credit score, but I’ll save that bit for my follow up post when the loan is all paid for.

But wait- there’s more!

I also signed up for a Mogo pre-paid Visa card to use as a Visa replacement during the month. Basically this card acts just like a Visa, but without the fees and high interest. You pre-load it with your allocated spending money, and it even comes in crazy cute prints (I went for macarons- duh!). I’ll report back in a few weeks on this feature!

Last but not least, I started making contributions to my savings pot every paycheque. Now that I have a stable full-time job, putting money aside suddenly feels more important than ever, and it’s nice to watch the money I’m investing in my future slowly grow.

Want to learn more? Stay tuned for my update post when the debt has been totally paid!

This post was sponsored, but all opinions are my own. To inquire about sponsored posts, please send me an email at alyssa@randomactsofpastel.com

Dear Diary

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It’s a little late in the game for a resolutions post, but I’m working hard to better my life in whatever little ways I possibly can, and I thought some of those improvements and goals might be worth sharing before the month is through!

Cook at least one new recipe per week

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I love to cook, but I always seem to fall into the habit of making the same dishes over and over again out of convenience. With a pin board full of recipe ideas and inspiration, and a fully stocked kitchen, I really have no excuse not to get a little more experimental with my culinary skills. First up: this yummy fall kale salad with butternut squash!

Go Exploring

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It’s been a long time since I took a trip somewhere new, and I’m feeling a fair bit of wanderlust to say the least. I’d love to go somewhere on my own, and for the first time ever I actually get vacation time at my job, so I’ve been going a bit insane imagining all the places I could go. Right now my top contenders are Australia, Thailand, and Hawaii!

Revamp your living space

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I’ve been feeling the need to change up my space (aka the Pastel Palace) for months now, and I’m finally starting to put aside time and money to do something about it. Over the next year I plan to paint, add art and furniture, and I’ve even started to turn my old home office into a walk-in closet! I think the end result is going to be pretty dreamy, and I hope you follow along using the hashtag #pastelpalaceproject

Keep it Peachy

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t’s easy to get sucked into a hole of negativity, especially during Toronto winters. Everywhere you turn people are complaining, gossiping, and scowling, and that sort of thing can become awfully contagious. This year I want to do my absolute best to skip out on all of that toxic downer behaviour, instead focusing on celebrating each day and respecting those around me. A little bit of kindness goes a long way, and I’m hoping my positive outlook will prove just as contagious as that of the downers.

Read more, watch less

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I’ve always been a huge reader, but lately I find myself turning toward the glowing light of my computer screen for old episodes of Sex and The City much more than I care to admit. In an effort to curb this bad habit, I’ve just joined a feminist book club, and who knows, I might even go pay my library fees and start taking out stacks of books again!

Mix it up

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Though it may seem like I’m always out and about exploring the city’s cutest restaurants, cafes and shops, I’m actually a total homebody at heart, and getting outside can be a serious struggle for me. This year, I want to mix it up: master new hobbies! Explore a new corner of the city! Try a new sport! So far rock climbing and knitting are major priorities, but I’m definitely open to suggestions…

All photos via. Pinterest