Posts in Category: Lifestyle & Travel

Wellness Wednesday: Top 6 Benefits of Green Tea

Tea and gum. My weapons of choice (along with love) to help me combat the daily munchies, improve my focus and work mojo. This is a common scene: step into my favourite local coffee shop (and have amazing coffee) and then consume herbal tea by the gallon. It ensures I get my daily water intake keeps me satisfied and below I’ve listed what my personal favourite (apparently there are a plethora) health benefits to drinking green tea (in specific) are:

  1. Blood Sugar: helps regulate glucose levels slowing the rise of blood sugar after eating! (As a prediabetic, I’m feelin’ this one.)
  2. Cholesterol: reduces cholesterol in the blood and improves the ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol.
  3. Tooth Decay: the chemical antioxidant “catechin” in tea can destroy bacteria and viruses that cause throat infections, dental caries and other dental conditions.
  4. Depression: Theanine is an amino acid naturally found in tea leaves which provides a relaxing and tranquilizing effect.
  5. Anti-viral and Anti-bacterial: Tea catechins are strong antibacterial and antiviral agents which make them effective for treating everything from influenza to cancer.
  6. Skincare: because of the high level of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities in green tea, when applied topically, it can help reduce sun damage Weight Loss: the polyphenol found in green tea works to kick your metabolism into high gear; intensify levels of fat oxidation and the rate at which your body turns food into calories!Dol YOU love green tea? If you find it bitter, try it with a little bit of honey, ENJOY and GET TO WORK!


Access Your Awesomeness: Women’s Winter Weekend Retreat

A friend and client of mine is doing amazing things as a holistic practitioner and in the realm of work that I do as a Heath and Wellness coach, I’m inspired! Have you heard of Access Bars? I myself don’t know nearly enough about it, but I am eager and hungry to learn more. The science behind energy medicine is something I can get behind!


For those of you who are local and just so happen to be divinely feminine, you are cordially invited to a retreat that Amanda Trudeau of ATC Wellness and her Access partner Darlene Bast-Tindall of The West End Yoga and Energy Therapy Centre, are hosting in February at the Anishinabe Spiritual Centre just outside of Espanola, Ontario!

Ask yourself, when was the last time you felt like you were in the flow and all was well with the world? What if you could have more of that? What if you could learn to operate from Choice rather than Circumstance? What if you could experience more Joy, more Ease and more Freedom in life?

Join us for a weekend (that’s right I’ll be there, hopefully in a capacity that I’ll be sharing more about later! Really excited!) of exploration and discover simple yet profound tools to transform your life, relationships, health, body, career, and more.

PicMonkey Collage
When was the last time you played, laughed, giggled, tried something new or had a child like sense of amazement? We invite you to move your body, play with colour, get crafty and creative. I’m not going to give away all of the details, but be prepared for fun workshops, speakers, deep learning experiences and delicious food!


Feature Friday: The Incomparable Adventures in Sweetland

O Canada 2005

“O Canada 2005″

That up there is one of my favourite early photos from Toronto based touring songwriter Kristin Sweetland’s self-portrait photography series, ‘Adventures in Sweetland.’ I first met Kristin as one of my husband’s dearest friends, many moons ago when we first started dating. I was immediately smitten with her mysterious and creative ways. She’s the kind of woman who emanates artistic sensuality and a dark fire, yet constant grace and sweet friendliness. An air of fantasy and intrigue embodies all that she does. You at once become entranced with her intoxicating, witchy ways, if you’re lucky enough to meet her.

My husband describes her as a surprisingly and uniquely brilliant musician and photographer; a friend he has loved and admired for 15 years. A mind that flirts the line between the innocent and the macabre.

For years I’ve been blown away by her vision and the flawless execution which she unfurls into her photography. This is completely her alone at work here, using a tripod or mirrors and other tricks she may or may not tell you about. She definitely doesn’t have someone following her around snapping the shots. Most of them feature herself as the subject of muse and at times, she opens up the lens to include those she travels with on tour as a musician.

This collection dates back as far as 1999. That’s nearly 16 years. I would say it’s about damn time she released a book of her work and had an exhibition of equally (to her) fanciful proportions. The book layout is designed by Toronto-based promoter and graphic designer Michael “A Man Called” Wrycraft, who has worked on album covers for Bruce Cockburn, The Trews and Sweetland`s most recent instrumental project: Captain Dirt & the Skirt, amongst literally hundreds of others.


The Adventures in Sweetland series began when Kristin was given an assignment in a photography course at the University of Victoria to document her emotions through a series of self-portraits. The class ended, but the series never stopped. Watch the video teaser for this project…

Life With Lyme

I have been sick for two years. For the first year I didn’t know I was actually sick, I thought I was just overworked and experiencing adrenal fatigue. The second year was different. I woke up on morning about a year and half ago and my knees were swollen; hot and red and all of my muscles ached. This is when I began the long road of searching for an answer. From several ER visits, to even more doctors visits, then switching doctors to get a second and even third opinion, to going to the US to see another doctor. No one could come up with anything. My inflamed and swollen knees never went down. My ankles ballooned shortly after, my right elbow locked into a permanent bent position and my muscles began to ache and burn all day and all night. Being a strong believer in alternative and natural medicine, I decided to everything I could do on my own since I was not getting ANY support from conventional medicine or the system.

The very first thing I did was entirely spiritual. You see, I have always been an A Type, workaholic, Wonder Woman type. I never knew how to relinquish control or allow people to help me. SO, the most logical first step was to surrender and ask for help. I started with my husband who quickly became the hero I never knew he could be. I did a lot of surrendering, crying, praying and forgiving. I don’t remember crying so much, I think I cried for about 2 or three solid hours a day. As I did that, I felt so much pain escaping my body. I went to the chiropractor, physiotherapist, acupuncturist and naturopath. I also had a deep intuitive sense that I needed to detox in every way I could. So I ordered an Infra Red Sauna (about $1400 from Costco), and I decided to reboot my system by juicing for three weeks. Both of those things, likely in combination with the other things I was doing, seemed to work well. I felt that I was slowly on my way to recovery.

It’s That Time of Year Again: Unleashed in The Apple Orchard

Trevor and Selena Got Married: Part Two

What’s a wedding without a party? Who likes to party? The answers are, not much – and we do!

I’ve thought long and hard on how I might prose this (largely) pictorial style wrap to the sharing of our wedding photos. Why? (Another question, oh yes.) Well, largely in part because the location of our reception turned out to be rather unfortunate. Not in our enjoyment for the evening of (more or less), but most definitely in the after-math.

I won’t say another thing about it but to link to a review (and other reviews at the end of the fun) when I’m good and ready at the end of this post. (I’ll edit and link-up when that happens.) Because – well – this was our wedding. We don’t want to continue to mar the beauty of the day with any more negativity than that which has already been attempted. We, our guests – our family and friends; set a stellar space, the music flowed (as did a few other libations) and the glow of love and joy was huge. That’s it, that’s all this post should be about; yet on the good word of some colleagues and those who are in the know…it wouldn’t be right to promote said business in a shining light given our experiences.

So I hope you understand the vagueness (I’m sure some of you want the scoop, who doesn’t love a dirty scoop – especially when it comes to a small wedding, in a small town at a local business?) You’ll have to wait for those reviews my pretties and just enjoy the positive flow of these photos. There is a video yet to come and a couple of posts over on Babble where I’ll highlight the kids’ involvement in our wedding a bit more.

Help us lift the memory of our evening up in the light, grace, style and class that it deserves…and leave the rest in the past, my friends. (All amazing photography by Ratul Debnath of Image Pros Photography. You can see PART ONE, The Ceremony, by clicking here.)



I live close to what I like to call the Christmas Crack Store. Blasphemous, perhaps, yet totally true. I paid that special place a visit last week and came home with boughs upon clusters upon strands of assorted evergreens and got busy with one of my favourite annual traditions to do this time of year. Making wreaths. You see, the holiday season does something mighty fine to my insides. I get all in a tither about making and crafting and creating things that I know the people whom I love, will love.

I also really dig buying gifts for my kids, family and friends. Little things. Some big things (mostly for the kids and my mister). I try to reign it in and every year I’m getting better at being more organized with my making, (equalling less buying) so that I can really get into the process. Less last-minute stressed out Betty, more enjoyment.

I’m definitely not a fan of the mass-consumerism that throbs and booms and pulsates around the holidays. It hurts my heard and heart to know that there are many families who go into a small amount of debt every year around this time to buy SO. MUCH. STUFF. Or those that feel inadequate because they can’t cover their living room floors with presents. Gifts with hefty price-tags in shocking amounts. All the brands, all the tech gear.

Not for me, no thanks.

What I can get into is gifting a friend with a handmade wreath say, (for example, ahem), for Winter Solstice. Or a basket of edible goodies that I canned over the summer and fall with handmade ornaments and some small boughten gifts, or thrifted treasures and coveted vinyl. Homemade cookies. Gifts that I put a lot of thought into and didn’t go crashing into some store days before the grand rip and tear, just to buy something. I don’t do last minute shopping, never have. I buy year round, the little that I do buy and I keep a list going to know remind myself of what I’ve got going on and to keep within the budget.

I’ve been a busy bee the past few weeks and have some exciting tutorials to share with you – but first things first. For me, it always begins with decking those halls …


I know, right?! Look at those beauties up there! I recently went to a birthday party for the twins of a good friend and these crayons were in the goodie bags. Not just your average, run-of-the-mill goodie bags filled with dollar store candies and crafts either.

AS you might surmise, having a birthday party for twins isn’t the easiest and combining themes for a boy and a girl extra tricky.

But when you put a bunch of creatives, small business owners and foodies together to help make things happen, the results are usually off the hook, and YES, Pinterest worthy. Don’t hate.

One of my favourite components to the goodie bags that the lovely Dana made (more on her down below!) were the mini lego figure crayons.


We clean up fairly well, however we just can’t seem to keep it together. We pulled out the tripod over Thanksgiving weekend and I think we’ll be doing this more often! As much as I’d like to hire a pro seasonally, it just isn’t in the budget.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take those pictures! They may not be perfectly staged and we may not be wearing subtly co-ordinating outfits, but I rather think that these will suit our family just fine in the years to come…


Jack O' Lantern Suncatchers Remember when I said that we we’rent putting Wyndham in daycare after-school? Or that TV wasn’t going to be my babysitter every single day? Yea. about that.

It’s been hard, obviously – to keep up with the equivalent of what should be my 8 hour work days as a mom who works from home. So far? So far I’m exhausted in wading through this new shift, yet totally revelling in all of the time I’ve been spending with my guy.

It really does ease the annoyance of working late nights after he and his sister are in bed to make up for lost time. I’m trying not to think about the things I’m missing out on; late evening yoga classes, reading, Netflix or crafting. I think about what I’ve gained when I’m lacking the dedication at 9PM, when after a long day all I want is to curl up next to Trev with a book or a show.

This is my new regular and that’s all there is to it. I’ve gotten back into waking up early some days, like really early…before anyone else in the house is up. It feels like I’ve carved out this secret little compartment of time for myself that allows me to fly through some work in anticipation that I can take back my evening to do some of the other things I enjoy. You know, actually hang-out with my other love, just the two of us.

It’s as if by some odd flash of common sense, that I’ve given myself some time to settle into this new routine before Abby begins staying home with me part-time in the New Year. Originally we were going to take her out of full-time daycare this autumn but then we shook our heads a bit and reassessed.

One thing at a time, one thing at a time.

Which is a really good analogy to follow when I pick up Wyndham from school. The days are so busy, so jam-packed with to-do lists, that if I don’t have a few planned activities mapped out for us for the week, I’m kind of screwed. As chief-in-residence-memory-maker, I want to have fun with my boy, I want to do new things with him and create a space and experiences for him that make his eyes light up with joy and fulfilment. Where I’m not a stress-bag about it.

So I make play-dates with his friends, and make faces out of food and execute craft projects to do together. In being honest, there are also the days that he does indeed hunker down and watch several episodes of his favourite shows on Netflix; wherein I toss him a quick snack of PB&J, screw those fun food plates! Where free play reigns supreme and I had not a planning moment involved in what he does or how he spends his time. This is important too.

Well, this week…this week I really had my shit together. I had sugar and gluten free apple and pumpkin pies leftover from thanksgiving to slice up for snacks. I invited a couple of our neighbours (gorgeously adorable), sons over for a crafting play-date. I’ve kept a reasonably clean and tidy house and only ordered take-out once this week. Success!

As I sit here typing, one of those dang cute Jack O’ Lantern ‘suncatchers’ (as seen below), picks up some chunks of morning light from my deck window to shoot tiny particles of light; dancing specks of dust and shadow across my desk dining room table. Everything in this moment feels in place. Rather good really.

Making crafts with my kids doesn’t have to be a chore, especially for a creative like myself. Clearly I enjoy this sort of thing. I’m going to go out on a limb here and present you this easy craft project for ALL types of parents, (yep, this quick project is glue, paint and glitter-free), even those of you who shiver at the thought of craft-time. The thing is? Kids LOVE it. I could link-up a bunch of research about how creative, sensory activities and making art for little ones is vastly important for their development in a myriad of ways, but I won’t. The bottom line is that it’s good for their little brains; their wild and wanting souls and busy hands. Just as important as sports, academia, music and free-play.

I first discovered the wonders of contact paper for craft making with kids a few weeks ago via my pal Asia Citro of Fun At Home With Kids. Now that mom has it going on. I was so inspired by how she mothers and was especially appreciative of her Starter Art Kit list. The dollar-store is great for many things. There are a few super-cool things on that list that you can’t find at a dollar-store (including contact paper). (If you’re a nerd-o creative type like me and that list makes you drool a little be forewarned: Discount School Supply doesn’t deliver to Canada and yes, you REALLY DO need those liquid watercolours. They are the bomb-diggs. I ordered mine via Scholar’s Choice.)

Now that we’ve gotten that little digression out of the way, onto the instructions for those cute suncatchers! It’s Hallowe’en time (you all know how much I love Hallowe’en, right?) and these are a pretty great activity to do over the next couple of weeks…

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