Craigslist Joe Review

Product Review, Wellbeing

So, I saw this documentary not too long ago. Craigslist Joe is about the eponymous Joe, a man who decides to live completely off of Craigslist for a whole month. Everything, from food to shelter to entertainment, must come from Craigslist. And so, starting out in California, he makes this journey across America (twice!) living off of the kindness and generosity of his fellow human beings. As you can probably imagine, this journey is not an easy one. The troubles that come up during Joe’s travels are very real, like not knowing where you are going to spend the night or not having food to eat. 

Joe offers to do odd jobs around the house in exchange for a place to stay, and indiscriminately gets involved in new experiences like partaking in a crystal healing session, and visiting a tutoring centre for impoverished children. Some of these experiences are incredibly touching. For example, one of the tutors at the tutoring centre is a young Iraqi man. He invites Joe to his home to have dinner with his family, and they have this really cool conversation comparing the family’s relationship with America to their relationship with their home country, and how their lives have changed since 9-11.

There is so much fodder for inspiration in this documentary, whether it be from how genuinely kind and compassionate your fellow human beings can be (like how there are people who will invite a complete stranger into their home to feed and shelter them, tell them their stories, and give them the gift of their time), or how if you are itching for adventure and new experiences, all you need to do is put yourself out there and the adventure will come.

He meets all sorts of interesting people including fellow travellers, a guy trying to start his own fitness biz, a super sweet dominatrix, a cancer survivor and hoarder. I loved seeing how Joe’s adventure had affected him: how moved he was by all the people he met, “the stories they shared, and the connections they made” and the gaining the knowledge “that we can take care of each other”.

I’m definitely not a risk taker by any stretch of the imagination but it was lovely to see situations in which, when you do put yourself out there, you don’t have to experience those situations from a place of fear, but from a place of hope and trust. I definitely recommend you giving this doc a shot if you’re looking for something uplifting and sweet to brighten up your day.

A reflection of the Chicago skyline in the kidney bean

Chicago Photo Diary

Personal, Photo Diary, Restaurant Review, Travel

A few weeks ago, I attended a yoga intensive (run by Eat Breathe Thrive, definitely worth checking out!) in Chicago with my beloved buddy, Saar. We had a wicked time, so I put together this photo diary to share some of the adventures we got up to!

Since we were to spend our trip trapped inside for the better part of the weekend, we made sure to dedicate Friday to wandering the city. We took the Metra into downtown Chicago on Friday morning, and immediately set off in search of food (two foodies/nutritionists, what do you expect?).

The Metra pulling into Lake Forest Station

Star-shaped detailing over a freeway in downtown Chicago

the Union Station sign in downtown Chicago

Before we left, I had done a search of healthy food options in the city, and it wasn’t long before we happened across one of them – ‘Protein Bar’, where I picked up a ‘Millenium Perk’ (chocolate protein, espresso protein, choice of milk, and house-made cocoa malt) to tide me over while we explored.

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Millennium Perk (Chocolate protein, espresso protein, choice of milk, and house-made cocoa malt)

The elevated Chicago transit system, criss-crossing through the downtown streetsI fell a bit in love with Chicago’s public transit system, particularly its somewhat industrial appearance. The L tracks crisscross all over the city, looking super cool. We traipsed through Millenium Park where we briefly listened to some majestic orchestral music (I think there may have been an orchestra practicing for an upcoming performance), tripped in and around the giant mirrored kidney bean (AKA. The Bean, or Cloud Gate), and slowly grew ravenous.

An adorable little vintage-looking van. It sold doughnuts!

An alley filled with fire escapes. Everywhere!

This giant red sculpture...Looks kind of like an abstract dinosaur

Highlights some of Chicago's beautiful skyline

The huge mirrored kidney bean in Millenium Park

I'm bent over backwards for an upsidedown reflection in the kidney bean!

The super cool and slightly hallucinogenic reflections underneath Cloud Gate

A reflection of the Chicago skyline in the kidney bean

The Chicago skyline reflected in the mirrored kidney bean; looks like it is in a raindrop!

Huge and beautiful magenta flowers

Saar was practically falling over when we decided to find some lunch. Pretty much everyone we encountered over the course of the day were so friendly and we were soon directed to another one of the restaurants I had looked up that morning, a vegan joint called Native Foods. We both loved it there. I had a spicy tortilla soup, a huge glass of lavender lemonade (I have to try to recreate this…it was SO good), and a giant refreshing ‘Ensalada Azteca Salad’ which was jam-packed with cilantro (my kryptonite). After lunch, we did a bit more wandering through the city before hopping back on the Metra to attend the first night of the intensive.

The entrance to Native Foods

A bowl of tortilla soup garnished with strips of tortilla bread and cilantro

Fresh avocado, jicama and cucumber salsa atop quinoa, romaine and our award winning mango-lime vinaigrette. Topped with currants, toasted pumpkin seeds and cilantro

Our way home at the end of the weekend was another adventure all on it’s own; a misadventure, shall we call it? As we were heading through Michigan, the area was hit with a major rainstorm and consequently crazy flooding. They began closing off all the major freeways in the area, and this eventually led to us spending 24 hours in a car.

Water starts pouring over concrete barrier on the side of the highway

Flooding beneath an overpass

We exited the freeway in Detroit and spent about 4 hours in a grocery store parking lot wolfing down our few remaining road trip snacks (popcorn, an avocado stuffed with the last of our salsa), and watching the hilarious documentary ‘Kumaré’. At some point in the middle of the night, after unsuccessfully trying to get some sleep, we figured out a route to get us to freeways that had cleared up and got back on the road. Although Saar doesn’t drive, she was fully committed to staying up with me and keeping me awake and alive. What a trooper. I got home very early that morning and was too wired to stay asleep for very long, and for some reason felt compelled to go to a yoga class. This was a goofy decision; I spent most of the class deliriously giggling at everything my instructor said.

Anyway, I think that’s all for now. I’m sending tons of love to those communities affected by the flooding. I hope that they are well on their way to rebuilding their homes and their lives.

More soon, xx.

November 2013: A Few of My Favourite Things

Monthly Favourites

Hi everyone! I’m hoping to start putting together a monthly list of my favourite products, books, documentaries, foods, and anything else that catches my fancy. I know, its practically halfway through December, but here are some things that I really enjoyed over the last month!

1) Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Liquid Soap: Dr. Bronner’s has been my go to body wash for a while now, because it has so many awesome qualities. Not only is it fair trade and against animal testing, its got a pretty stellar ingredient list (Water, Organic Coconut Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Lavandin Extract, Organic Olive Oil, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Lavender Extract, Citric Acid, Tocopherol). It can also be used for just about any cleaning job you can think of including shampooing your hair, as a laundry detergent, or for scrubbing all that porcelain in you bathroom. I even used the almond scented kind to brush my teeth with once, in a desperate situation, though I recommend not doing this because, as amazing as its ingredients are, it still tasted like licking a bar of soap.

I’ve been loving my before-bedtime showers lately, because the lavender scent is so soothing. Lavender is known for its calming, sedative effect which may be beneficial for anxiety and depression, headaches, and insomnia. When applied topically, it is also antiseptic which makes it great for speeding up the healing time of scrapes and cuts, in decreasing the appearance of scars, and helping to treat skin problems (eg. dry and itchy skin, eczema, acne, burns, etc).

bottle of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap in lavender scent

2) Blackfish: My boyfriend and I sat down to watch this documentary sometime last week, and loved it. Its about the psychological damage done to whales held in captivity, the effects of that damage, and how frustrating, cruel, and horrifying their lives are. It was heartbreaking, but definitely a must-watch. You can find the trailer HERE

3) Algonquin Tea Company – Sacred Blend (Vision Community Clarity): The list of ingredients in this tea is short and sweet – white pine, sweet grass, and sage. In a world where most tea blends contain fillers, GMOs, pesticides, and other nasty ingredients, Algonquin Tea Company is an amazing find. All of their ingredients are “handpicked, organic, and ethically wildcrafted in the Canadian wilderness”. How flipping cool is that? This specific blend is meant to be used for meditation, but I’ve mostly been enjoying it before bedtime since its naturally caffeine-free and promotes nice, tranquil feelings.

box of Sacred Blend tea for vision, community, and clarity from The Algonquin Tea Company

4) Giddy Yoyo Raw Chocolate: Good quality cacao is a serious superfood, my friends. Some of its super powers include:

  • improving cardiovascular and digestive health
  • lowering blood pressure
  • protecting the body from free radical damage
  • improving mental and physical well-being

Giddy Yoyo cacao is impeccably sourced, and their chocolate is a heavenly thing to behold. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the creators of Giddy Yoyo on a couple of different occasions, and the love and care that goes into creating their product is pretty darn inspiring. If you ever have the chance to hear them speak, you should go for it. They always seem to have tons of free chocolate for their audience to sample. I managed to score one of their chocolate bars in orange flavour (though I think I’ve tried all of them by now) at one of their recent talks and it was SO good, I forgot to take a picture for you. But here is the link to their website in case you wanted to track down a local distributor. 

5) Green Eggs and Yams: Including a good quality source of protein in your breakfast is essential for balancing blood sugar, curbing those cravings that tend to come up later in the day, and keeping you full and energized until lunch time. This recipe also makes a great winter breakfast because it helps you get your veggies in early in the day without having to resort to chillier options (Ahem, green smoothie, I am looking at you. Not to say that I don’t love a green smoothie, of course). You’ll find the recipe down below. 

green scrambled eggs on a plate with discs of roasted sweet potato

Green Eggs and Yams
Print
Ingredients
  1. 4 organic, free-run eggs
  2. 1 cup of your favourite greens (eg. spinach, kale, swiss chard)
  3. 1/2 an onion, roughly chopped
  4. 1/4 cup of organic goat cheese
  5. sea salt and pepper to taste
  6. 1 tbsp of coconut oil
Instructions
  1. Throw the first 5 ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Preheat a pan over medium-low heat. Add coconut oil.
  3. Once coconut oil is melted, pour in the egg and vegetable mixture.
  4. As the eggs begin to solidify in the pan, stir until they've reached your favourite scrambled egg consistency.
  5. Serve with a side of roasted sweet potato, or any other favourite veggie!
Annemarie Dixon http://annemariedixon.com/