Where I'm At: Interview Series - Molly from StyleCellar

Welcome to the next interview in the series, 'Where I'm At'. It's a voyeuristic, yet helpful look into the lives of women who are finding where the light plays within them.

Their daily rituals, ways of managing stress and advice to you, the readers, are captured in these interviews.

This month we’re talking to Molly Ziraldo, a Canadian living in Melbourne. Molly and I connected on the Stratejoy site and have become firm brunch buddies since then. Molly has an inventive blog called StyleCellar that combines two things we often want to know more about – wine and fashion. Molly has a fascinating story too – from being in Disney on Ice (!), to studying wine and working in the industry, to moving to Melbourne, she’s insightful and self-aware and I’m excited to interview her on the blog today.

What is your usual wake up time?

7–7:15am

What is your morning ritual?

First thing I do when I get up is try to drink as much water as possible. I head straight to the kitchen and have a big glass of water and a quick swig of apple cider vinegar, I still hate the taste! But it’s more convenient for me than making hot water with lemon and offers similar benefits.

After that I’ll brush my teeth, wash my face, do makeup etc. If I have time I try to do a few sun salutations, or just any stretches really. I find my body really needs some movement first thing in the morning. I’ve never been a morning person though, so getting to the gym just isn’t gonna happen.

I then sit for 5–10 min in a mixture of meditation/prayer and intention setting for the day. I’ve been doing Gabrielle Bernstein’s guided meditations for a few years now.

After that I quickly get dressed, grab my lunch and I’m out the door. I always get coffee and make breakfast once I get into work.

Tell us about your commute.

My commute is a 15 minute tram ride (and to be honest I could walk – but again, would rather get extra sleep!). While on the tram, I’m either listening to music or a podcast.

Do you like to plan your day ahead or allow some spontaneity?

Definitely plan! If I don’t have a plan I can’t focus and I get nothing done. I like planning my next day before I leave the office the day before. I never thought I was a “planner” but I need structure.

I’m still a “go with the flow” type of person, so last minute changes don’t bother me but I need structure or some framework, or else my head just isn’t it.

How do you spend your ideal lunch break to recharge for the afternoon?

I work in an open concept office and being quite introverted my lunch time is my “me time”. It’s taken a while for my colleagues to not be insulted when I turn down lunch invites (it’s also taken me a while to not feel guilty for doing so).

My ideal lunch is anything that gets me away from my desk. Being from Canada, I usually spend this time texting my girlfriends back home (thank god for Whatsapp!). I usually try to fit in a quick walk around the block too.

What kind of workout schedule do you adhere to?

I’ve learned it’s not about an hour of cardio or hitting the gym every day, but just ensuring I move in some way throughout the week.

That being said, it’s hard to find the time and I don’t have a set schedule. I try to do something at least 3 times a week. That “something” is usually yoga, dance class or a conditioning/strength workout. I tried the infamous Kayla Itsines workouts, so I usually use those. They’re only 28 min and are insanely tough!! So you definitely feel like you’re making the most of your time.

How do you like to end your day?

I’ve found that how I end my day is just as important as how I begin it. I like to start unwinding about 9:30–10pm. I tend to turn off as many lights as possible (phone included), light a candle, listen to classical music and sit again in stillness and just reflect on the day. I then read whatever it is I’m reading at the time.

What time do you doze off?

11:30pm (fingers crossed!)

What do you aspire to every day but never / rarely actually do? (you can tell me, we all have them!)

Yoga. God, I wish I made time for yoga every day. Also, writing (journaling) or writing something thoughtful to a friend or family member back home. Not eating any refined sugar would also be nice but hey…we’re human.

Any advice for women trying to find ease in their every day?

Set boundaries. This is so hard but so necessary if you’re going to make time for you, and if you can’t …just breathe more!  This is something I always forget to do.

Other than that, maybe try to think of one thing you’re grateful for that happened that day before you head to bed.

Can you give us your quick go-to recipe after a busy day?

I know a smoothie shouldn’t substitute as a meal – but if I don’t have time to cook this is 100% my go to (any time of day), and I take my smoothie (bowl) game seriously. I always make sure I’ve got protein, fat, fibre, carbs and greens present.

If those boxes are ticked, no reason that the bowl doesn’t have just as much nutrients as a meal.

Banana Mango Coconut Smoothie Bowl

1 frozen ripe banana

A few pieces of sliced frozen mango  (any frozen fruit can do)

One/two BIG handfuls of spinach (I find spinach is best for smoothies. Kale never blends as well – and I promise, you can’t taste it)

1/2 an avocado (if you don’t have any on hand, make sure you get some fat via coconut oil/cream or nuts)

Plant based protein powder (right now I’m using Sunwarrior vanilla flavour)  or hemp is also good. If you don’t have any – nuts are fine.

Water or coconut milk (I use coconut milk right out of the can instead of the packaged milks)

Once I pour it in a bowl I always top it with something – just to make it feel more special (i.e. nuts, chia seeds, goji berries, coconut, bee pollen, LSA, added fruit ­– whatever you might have).

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Thanks Molly - it was great to get a peek behind the scenes of your life and blog. You can find Molly at:

Website: www.style-cellar.com

Twitter : @mollyziraldo

Instagram : mziraldo

How I Save Time, Money and My Health: Meal Prepping

As resistant as I am to it sometimes, one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself, time-, money- and health-wise, is start meal prepping.

    

It kind of happened by accident. At my previous job, the office was in a less than desirable location, with only one cafe in walking distance. Yes, one. And we called it ‘the truck stop’. Think fried food, bad coffee and soggy foccacias. Appetising!

I had never really brought my lunch to work before this job. I knew I should be saving the $$ but it seemed fairly boring and tedious to me. Ah, how age makes us embrace the boring and tedious!

When I started at that job, I was super lazy with lunches. Two minute noodles, cuppa soups, dry rice cakes - let’s just say I was not looking forward to lunchtimes.

So I started to Google recipes you could cook in bulk and freeze. It took some time to get in the habit, but I can honestly say that (most weeks) I’ve never looked back. Below are my main learnings from a few years of meal prepping.

 

Make your list

Planning is key. Over time I have built  up a bank of recipes that I enjoy and can make in bulk for lunches. I always thought I could remember the tasty things I had made, but I’d generally end up googling new recipes from scratch each week, which wasted some time.

I’ve now got a running Google Doc that I add to as I find recipes I like, and each week (usually around Thursday or Friday, as I grocery shop on the weekend), I go into the document and see what looks good for the following week. This also includes any dinners I might be cooking at home.

Now I’m not completely strict, so I usually make one dish in bulk for lunch, have it for three-ish days, then buy my lunch for a couple of days.

I make a grocery list in my phone and then when I’m out and about on the weekend I pick up all the ingredients I’ll need.

Bonus tip:

If you’re thinking of getting into meal prepping, I’d also recommend grabbing some new tupperware containers. They’re fairly inexpensive and it’s more motivating to use new ones, rather than having to hunt around for random lids of old takeaway containers you’ve had for years.

 

Set the scene

I usually set aside around an hour each Sunday to get the cooking done. But, like most ‘good’ habits, sometimes we lose momentum.

If I’ve had a few too many vinos the night before or I’m just fed up with being a grown up (does anyone ever feel like that or is it just immature me?!), I bemoan the idea of spending time on a Sunday stuck in the kitchen.

When this kind of thinking strikes, I gently remind myself that it’s only one hour out of my whole day and I try and set a motivating environment.

I’ll make an icy smoothie to sip while I cook, I’ll find a fun Spotify playlist to listen to or, when I really need motivation, I’ll put on a Nigella cooking show and let her propel me forward.

And if I really can’t face it… see below...

 

Get a step ahead (inadvertently)

Like most habits, I try to allow for some flexibility in the meal planning. If a friend wants to grab dinner on a Monday night or we have a farewell lunch at work on a Friday, I don’t say no because there's a tupperware container waiting for me in the fridge.

If I won’t get to eat a meal I’ve made, or if I’ve cooked extra, I throw it in the freezer and watch the containers build up.

Then when we’re away for a weekend and I have no time to cook, I can defrost a few containers for the following week’s lunches.

Also, if we’re too tired to cook in the evening or my husband is out, I can pull something out and voila, dinner is served.

This also works on those Sundays when I really can’t face the cooking - I know something will tide me over from the freezer and give myself a break if I need it.

It does take some discipline and preparation, but I no longer feel guilty about spending money on lunches and I can make much healthier choices with the right planning.

Want a peek at my recipe list? Want to share some recipes you like to cook in bulk?