Blog

Women: Mental Health and Wellness

Yesterday I attended an educational event that focused on Women’s mental health and wellness. This event was hosted by Markham Stouffville Hospital. I was immediately intrigued when I received the invitation as well as the list of guest speakers that were mentioned.

As we all know mental health needs have been on the increase every year affecting millions of Canadians of all ages and both sexes. I have been increasingly impressed with companies stepping up and sponsoring events or educating the public on mental health. One such company is Bell and the “Let’s Talk Campaign.”  Openly talking about mental health issues is the cornerstone of this campaign. Today it was great to see another company join in on bringing mental health to the forefront: Shoppers Drug Mart was a sponsor of this event, an event about Women FOR Women!

IMG_5773

The morning began with a seamless registration process followed by a yummy breakfast of fruit and yogurt. We were then shown into a large meeting room that was beautifully put together right down to gorgeous flowers on the table!

As I took my seat I immediately felt comfortable. There was nice calming music playing and a selection of positive quotes on power point being shown on a large screen at the front of the room. I looked around and took notice of booths on the perimeter of the room that had all sorts of community information. There were people at each booth ready to explain what they had to offer. I also took notice that there was much diversity in the room, women of different ages and races. This was wonderful to see, because the need for wellness and good mental health is important for everyone.

IMG_5795

The Chief of Psychiatry was one of the first speakers and listed many relevant statistics about women and depression, among the many things he discussed was the ever-increasing needs of women with regards to mental health. At this time, it is the number one form of disability in Canada. I almost wished I had written these statistics down as they were astounding.  Women face different burdens and pressures that are different then what Men face. Women deal with hormones that begin early in life and hit highs and lows throughout puberty, pregnancies and menopause. Sometimes, this ends up being too much and results in post partum depression, anxiety or depression or other types of mental illnesses. All the speakers were amazing, and about 75 women sat in rapt attention to everything that was being said.  Did I learn new things? Oh yes, I did. I learned:

  • That there is a connection to menopause, hormones, depression and anxiety.
  • That one speaker who is a very confident teacher and is also a successful black belt in karate with numerous competitions under her belt; can also have down moments, moments of questioning herself, and moments of wanting to give up.
  • I learned that a yoga teacher can have the best understanding of anxiety, panic disorder, PTSD and depression and still come out an amazing person, with a gift and passion to help others going through the same thing. Through diet, nutrition and yoga she helps with mental health issues. I had no idea that this type of yoga teacher existed!
  • I learned how to breathe properly as taught to us by this lovely yoga teacher. At 50 years of age I had not been using my diaphragm properly for breathing and having learned this, I could immediately see what a positive difference it made! I was immediately relaxed.
  • I learned that our brain is an organ and it is just as important as our heart. We need to take care of it. If we had a heart attack we wouldn’t go out and shovel snow. So why would we not take care of our brain the same way?
  • I learned that women can get overwhelmed, pulled in different directions. Tending to the needs of others, meeting deadlines at work and easily forgetting about themselves. But we need to advocate for ourselves, keep our brains in tune with our bodies. Sense any symptoms of disharmony between the brain and the body and address them immediately.

IMG_5742

I absolutely enjoyed every minute of this event, right down to the wonderful lunch that was provided for us. The day felt like it was just for us, for Women with needs and questions and a safe and wonderful forum for us to ask them and learn in.

Everyone in that room had a story, my hope is that after this event none of them will simply ignore their challenges and instead will actively seek out help. There is no need to struggle or suffer in silence.  Mental illness needs to be talked about openly the way it was today. Moreover, it needs to be addressed. No one should feel ashamed to bring these challenges up to their doctors.

As if the day and breakfast and lunch wasn’t amazing enough, at the end of the event we were each presented with gift bags containing, magazines, candy, body wash etc. So incredibly thoughtful!

Thank you to the team that put this wonderful day together and planned every aspect of the event. Your efforts did not go unnoticed.  Most of all thank you for giving women and their quest for continued wellness a voice today. A place to learn and be heard. I’m totally stoked for next year!

signature_1

Life…It’s a Wonderful Life!

Five years ago, my husband gave me a cute little plaque that reads “ Life…It’s a Wonderful Life” I remember feeling very honoured and special because there wasn’t an occasion for this cute little gift. He just saw it and bought it for me. I remember thinking “he thinks that life is wonderful with me?” It seemed an incredibly sweet thought. That plaque is always displayed somewhere, on a table, on a tray or often right at the front door. Every time I see it, I silently agree It IS a wonderful life!

IMG_4710

In my 50 years of living, (ha ha! Here comes the wisdom) I’ve often caught myself hurrying from one goal to the next. The list started when I was young: getting to university, finding the right job, planning the wedding, buying the house and on and on the list, goes. While goal setting is great and all, sometimes I think it distracts us from the here and now. We are so busy looking ahead that we forget to be mindful of NOW. Appreciating what we have and living for the moment is often lost in our quest to complete the next task on our list or fulfil the goals we set.

IMG_4243

I was always told that life flies by. No truer words were every spoken, but I wish I was told how truly wonderful life can be. If only we take that time to pause every now and again to be mindful of the present. Relish the here and now and don’t keep thinking that life will be happy when I have that house, car or promotion. Those are all just things.

hisu-lee-169301

A wonderful life consists of living. It makes me wonder if that’s what my Dad was thinking this past weekend when he was quietly watching my daughter budget her first grown up paycheck. “That’s your first paycheck,” he told her. “Spend what you want, buy what you want! You’re only 23 and you’ve  worked hard and you have earned the right to spend what you want. Start budgeting from you next check.” I was surprised to hear that, and I had to do a double take to see if that really was my Dad speaking. As a child I was always taught to save and not spend money on frivolous items. Fast forward all these years and my Dad is giving different advice. Maybe he’s trying to teach her what took him years to find out. It’s a wonderful life…embrace it and enjoy it.

signature_1

 

 

 

Friday Fave – Dermalogica’s Overnight Retinol Repair.

A recent walk through my local department store, showed me a multitude of skin care lines. Most of them I could clearly smell contained fragrances. Reinforcing why the skincare line I use, will most likely be the line I will use for a long time to come.  For years my skin care line has been Dermalogica. Dermalogica is an American company and all products are made in the United States. I love this line of products and I could go on forever blogging about every aspect of it. All their products are formulated without artificial fragrances or colours. Their straightforward packaging is simple and clean with a focus on good skin care!

galina-n-205299

To give you a brief overview, there are several systems or levels. As well as products to address specific needs. Dermalogica is one of the few companies that I have looked at that has such a vast and targeted selection of products. There are products targeted to assist with: acne and breakouts, oiliness, shaving, dehydration and dryness, signs of aging and uneven skin tone.

My fifty something year old face, uses the age smart line. I absolutely love it and on a seasonal basis I make sure to get a Dermalogica facial. Fantastic!

celestine-ngulube-101081.jpg

A few weeks ago, I was discussing a few skin care concerns with my esthetician Amanda at L’Attitudes. I needed something to help with the odd dark spot that I sometimes would see appear on my face. (result of probing a pimple too deeply) I was also looking for this product to be a product I could use at night. Amanda suggested I try the overnight retinol repair.

We reviewed the product together, as it contains 0.5% pure retinol it was important that I understood the directions with regards to this product as my skin would need to become accustomed to it. The powerful retinol and combination of antioxidant vitamin C would help to reduce wrinkles (yessssss!!) uneven skin tone, and discolouration. It came with a buffer cream that I used with the retinol, increasing the retinol with the buffer cream over time.

katherine-mccormack-81961

As it has been a few weeks and my skin has adapted to this new product. I have to tell you that I am over the moon with happiness!  Overnight retinol repair has joined the line up of age smart products in my bathroom. It has kept my skin smooth and plump and has softened lines and boom!! I can see reduction in the signs of aging.

The product is not recommended to be used if you ae pregnant or breastfeeding as well as give yourself at least 72 hours without it if you are having any waxing or exfoliation being done.

I will admit that this is a pricey product at $117 cdn. for the duo. It does last a long time and while I don’t usually like to shell out that much money for a skin care product. I have to say that this one, is worth every penny. Trust me.

Happy Weekend

signature_1

Parenting our adult children

Being a 50-something year old parent means that some of us have adult children. I think one of the biggest misconceptions that exists is the assumption that once your child becomes an adult, your concern or worry for their welfare diminishes. Not so.

Often parenting adult children is harder then when they are younger. Ha! I know that many young parents will read this and laugh hysterically. Honestly: burping babies, changing diapers and teething are easier. Why, you ask? When our kids are young, it is easy to help and protect them. We are in control of where they go and, for the most part, who they interact with. Protecting them is straightforward.

alex-blajan-99321.jpg

When they become adults, and begin encountering adult issues, the dynamics change. Protecting them all the time is no longer possible – instead, we must try to protect only through advice. Having said that, it is often when a situation has already presented itself that we are called upon for advice. At this point in their lives there is no way we can always prevent the situation from happening.

My husband and I have experienced a multitude of kid issues as our children grew up, from friendship challenges to broken hearts, most requiring time and patience to heal and an opportunity to grow. But that stuff, I am discovering, was not the real challenge… it’s the adult stuff.

gabriel-pangilinan-37143

This week our daughter faced a tough week comprised of emotions from elation, shock, sadness, confusion and nervousness. The worst feeling as a parent is knowing there is nothing you can do for your child when they are an adult, except to provide advice. At some point, they must “adult” and tackle issues head on.

I’ve noticed that with our daughter worldly dilemmas have presented themselves to her early in her life – much sooner then the average person. This may be a good thing for her, but at the same time to be so young and having to confront adult decisions is not always easy.

edward-a-102415

This week, all family members were in protective mode, as that is what we do when one of us is making a big decision or emotionally confused. We advised and we guided, we felt her feelings and we tried to help as best we could. The rest is ultimately up to her. In the end, we must trust in this incredible young person we raised, who we taught right from wrong, to make the best choice.

Gone are the days of deciding which friend to have over for a play date. It’s real time and real life. But as my husband said to me this morning, “she’s still our little girl”. He’s right…and that is the hard part.

austin-schmid-37423.jpg

 

signature_1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Chocolate Chip Day

A sweet tiny morsel of heaven exists in most of our pantries. Let’s face it, the chocolate chip is a thing of decadence. So deserving of recognition is this delicious ingredient that an entire day has been set aside for it! Today (May 15th) is national chocolate chip day.

The chocolate chip has long since brought a wonderful oomph to desserts. I personally have been known to open a bag and pour the scintillating goodness right into my mouth while standing at the pantry, I am instantly happy. It’s an immediate pick me up on busy days.

fullsizerender

Chocolate chips exist in a large number or chocolate chop cookie recipes. In addition, they have graced many a banana bread, muffin and pancake.

Whitby has many breakfast places that serve yummy chocolate chip pancakes. But, without a doubt Sunfire is the best place for this type of decadence. Located on Thickson and Baldwin in Whitby. Sunfire serves up many delicious break fast items but today it was necessary to stop by and celebrate national chocolate chip day by indulging in chocolate chip pancakes!

My order arrived at our table, piping hot were three pancakes drizzled in chocolate sauce with many visible chocolate chips.  Of course, it was necessary to add a dollop of butter and drizzle with maple syrup.  Each bite was a combination of mouth-watering tasty sweet goodness.

IMG_5476

Honour this amazing day and toss chocolate chips in anything, yogurt, popcorn, ice cream! Anything goes, who knows what you may discover!

signature_1

 

 

Celebrate every MOMent

Mother’s Day has been celebrated since 1908 and phone companies will tell you that it is the busiest day of the year! Believe it or not the phones are buzzing more on Mother’s Day than even on Christmas. Malls are busy, card stores are full of people crowded around the “Mother’s Day” section and florists can tell you that aside from Valentines Day, this is the day that they are most run off their feet.

IMG_8003

Why is this? For most of us, Mom represents many things. How often have you said to yourself “I’ll call Mom and ask her” or “Let me check on Mom” or “Better return Mom’s call” or even “I sure wish I could call Mom…” Whatever the case, she has often been our first thoughts, when we want to share good news, when we have had a bad day or when we are desperate for advice. At the age of 50, I still call my Mom if I need to bounce something off her, or complain about something. She listens and provides advice when needed. It’s always reassuring if I am mad at something or someone, I’ll call Mom and she will be mad too! Ha!! Ha!! I guess the bottom line is Mom is always with us, in person if we are still fortunate to have her, a voice on the end of the line if she lives far away, or in our hearts if she has passed on.

Celebrating Mom who lives far away

My good friend Nasim’s Mom lives on the other side of the Country. I recently asked her how she celebrates her Mom on this day. She told me that she recently just came back from visiting her Mom and her gift to her was a combination of several things. She helped her Mom, organize her home and free her from so many of the things Moms like to keep! While we all know that things and stuff can accumulate with our Moms, some of this “stuff” is important to them. Sim saw it as an opportunity to explain to her Mom why she didn’t need all the things she had kept over the years. She also gifted her Mom with a beautiful protection pendant that she ordered from Turkey.

IMG_8515

Celebrating Mom who is no longer with us

I spoke with my own Mom about this. My Grandmother has been gone for 16 years. I asked my Mom about Mother’s Day and her Mom. In the early years after her Mom was gone, she said she found great comfort in celebrating Mother’s Day with her own children and grandchildren. As the years went on, she thinks of her Mom all the time not just on Mother’s Day. Her Mom is still very much alive in her memories. On Mother’s Day, she tends to go back in her memories of her even more so, she remembers her Mom as a one in a million. A Mom who always looked amazing for her age, that she was often mistaken for a sibling! She was a sweet, quiet, gracious woman, but an effective disciplinarian. My Mom’s Father travelled a lot for work so she was on her own quite often and managed to raise 5 obedient daughters and 1 strong willed son. Personally, I think that is a heck of an accomplishment! My Mom quietly said to me “Honestly, she had a million-dollar smile, and she was the greatest Mother ever…”

IMG_8516

Celebrating Mom who is with us

I chatted with a few of my good friends and reflected on my own celebrations as a Mom and as a daughter. Many friends, enjoy taking their Mothers out for brunch or dinner. Some know that their Mom loves to just hang out and they spend the day with her. At my home, we have a joint celebration with my Sisters and my Mom. A BBQ with the men and kids helping out!

For me, everyday is Mother’s Day. The minute I see my kids I light up inside and out, they have an incredible ability to lift my mood, or make it even better. I know it’s because I am their Mom, but honestly the room just lights up when they walk in. I kiss them every chance I get, and I delight in the fact that I know they love it. I’m hopeful that someday if time and distance separate us, they will still feel and remember my kisses and love.

This year my Mother’s Day Celebration begins early, with my daughter taking me to a fancy tea. I feel spoiled and honestly surprised that I am worth this extra attention. As a Mom we always question did we do a respectable job in raising our kids? Did we provide the best answers and advice when needed? (I actually provide it whether they need it or not 😊) I think yes!  While being a Mom is a rewarding role, it is also a challenging positon to hold. Our kids are not born clutching a handbook of instructions on what to do. There is no training for the job and we don’t quit and move on to another role if we so desire.

So, on Mother’s Day, my best wishes go out to all the great Moms, single Moms, Step-moms, Aunts. Sisters and Dads who are  holding the role of Mom. You’re doing an excellent job, it’s one of the hardest jobs out there.

Have a fabulous Mother’s Day. I salute all of you

signature_1

Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2017

Let’s face it, most Mom’s put their family first and don’t even bother purchasing the things that they would really like to get for themselves. Consider this when you are shopping for your Mom this Mother’s Day.  She may tell you don’t worry about a gift, that’s not true. Trust me she would love a gift! While there are many types of Moms out there in terms of what they may like,  I have tried to capture a few categories to give you a hand. Happy Shopping!

Athletic Mom

Below is a list of gift ideas for the Mom, who is all about the gym, yoga class or avid walker!

Fitbit

A yoga mat

A new gym bag

Work out clothes (No one can ever have enough work out clothes, trust me Mom will appreciate this)

Re usable Water bottle

nick-faltermeier-98575.jpg

Pampered Mom

There are Moms who love to spoil themselves and they should!  Here is a list that you can use to help you choose a gift idea to keep this type of  Mom happy.

Gift Certificate to a Spa

Fancy silk pyjamas

Jewellery

Bath bombs, gels, body sprays, lotions and creams

Perfume

jessica-weiller-75962

Bookworm Mom

If your Mom is an avid reader there is so much that you can give her!

Books (this may require some research on your part, you will have to see what is on her list of books to read)

Gift Certificate to the book store

Kindle

Kindle cover

Reading Socks

aliis-sinisalu-70432

Social Mom

Gift Certificate to her favourite restaurant

Gift Certificate for a night at the movies

Tickets to a play

Gift Certificate to a cooking class

Wine Tour- Plan a day to either take your mom or arrange for someone to take her on a wine tour. While I have been to the California Vineyards, our Niagara Vineyards at Niagara on the lake is just as beautiful. Your mom will appreciate the day.

artur-pokusin-740

Sentimental Mom

Something you made! A scarf, ceramic, painting anything that you made Mom will love!

A framed pic of you and Mom

Scrapbook- Suggested Titles, All about Mom or What I love about Mom

Photo Album of all your favourite moments with Mom

A home-made book that tells a story about your mom- With all the software available, putting together a small book like this is a lot easier then it sounds!

kelly-sikkema-72695.jpg

 

These guides will hopefully give you something to start with, if it happens that your Mom is part of each of these categories…well Good Luck and spoil the lady rotten. She will always be there for you xoxx

signature_1

Friday Fave- The Lychee Martini

I may be late to the party on this one, but I tell ya I’m sure glad I came! I’ve heard many people speak highly of this drink but I never got around to trying it. This evening I descended into deliciousness as I sipped a Lychee Martini. I’m so-oo-o not the type of gal who likes her drinks sweet, so I was hesitant to try this for that reason. No need for fear it wasn’t overly sweet at all!

joshua-k-jackson-203808.jpg

I inquired about this drink and was told that it’s an amazingly versatile martini, it can be served before dinner, during dinner and after dinner. So, because I am obedient that is exactly what I did!

neha-deshmukh-5764

See below for an amazing lychee martini recipe.

Lychee Martini

Ingredients

1 ½ parts vodka

½ part lychee liqueur

1 whole lychee

Mixing Instructions

Add all ingredients to a shaker and shake then pour in an ice filled glass

Decorate with lychee

Have a glorious weekend

signature_1

The Face Off Cloth

For me, removing makeup has always been a bit of a challenge. What should I use? Will it remove everything? What’s good for my skin? After a long day, all I want is a quick and effortless way to effectively remove every last inch of my carefully applied makeup. What would be best to use? Makeup wipes? Pre-cleanses that are followed by actual cleansers? One morning while I was watching the Marilyn Dennis Show, I saw a really cool product that looked like it could be the answer- The Face Off Cloth. Environmentally friendly, chemical free, budget friendly and effective! Check out my review on The Face Off cloth.

IMG_5307

What is the Face Off Cloth?

Once wet, this magical cloth will remove all your makeup.  What makes it unique is that it is reusable and chemical free. The cloth itself is soft and white and has a cotton loop at the end for hanging up in the shower or towel hook.

Material

Natural reusable micro fibre

IMG_5308

Procedure

After a busy day, I was eager to try out this product to see if it would effectively remove all my makeup. The box that the cloth comes in is very attractive. It’s pink and black with a cute little see-through window which allows you to see and feel the cloth. Instructions and all information is written on the back of the box in perfectly legible font. This is always something I assess and I was happy that the directions were easy to read and follow.

Results

I wet the cloth and used no other facial cleaning products with it, as directed on the box. Once wet, the cloth was soft and easy to use. I was happy when I saw it remove all my foundation, eyeliner, mascara and lipstick. All my make up was now on the cloth.  Even though it was clearly advertised as a successful makeup remover I was still surprised and excited. It was amazing. I washed out the cloth just using warm water and I was happy to see all of my makeup wash off the cloth. Just to be sure, I applied some of my cleanser, washed my face using the cloth and checked to see if any makeup was on the cloth. Nothing! This is a wonderful one step solution to my makeup removal needs.

IMG_5309

Final Thoughts

I absolutely loved using the Face Off Cloth. I enjoyed the simplicity of removing my makeup by just using the warm cloth. Having a cloth that dries quickly and is portable is a great solution instead of having to use a makeup removal wipe that dries out quickly. I am looking forward to taking it with me to the gym, it will reduce the load in my gym bag as I will no longer need to take any of my cleansers.

Price

The Face Off Cloth can be purchased online at www.faceoffcloth.com or at any Bay Stores at $14.99 ea.

Disclosure- The Face Off Cloth was sent to me in exchange for a review. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.

 signature_1

 

 

Casual Style At Any Age

During a recent coffee date with a friend of mine, she asked me where I shopped. She confided that she found it challenging to find “age appropriate” casual clothes. She indicated that suits and jackets were easy to find, but casual clothes were a challenge. She really liked all my casual clothes, but since turning 50 recently she couldn’t find a comfort zone.

fugfjrw18jm-jason-briscoe-1

I know that many 50 and 60 something women are offended by the term “age appropriate”. I’m not, I totally understood what my friend meant. There have been many times that I have witnessed a lady wearing something that perhaps would look more suitable on my 23-year-old daughter. Do you know what I mean? Having said that – just because one turns 50 does not mean that one should break out the matronly outfits or suddenly wear mom jeans, when they never did before!

I have heard that there seems to be a lack of stores that sell clothing for the 50 something year old woman. I disagree. There is so much out there! Nice stuff!  No one needs to live in yoga pants and a big top, or jeans and a sweat shirt.

gabriel-pangilinan-37143

I believe that the issue is, or the actual challenge is that women who are 50 something and beyond just need to find the confidence to wear what they believe suits them. Granted there will be some of us that prefer younger outfits. I think if that is what you want to rock, go for it! But don’t get nervous and revert to plain clothes that you think represents where you should be. Wear what you want! Be who you are!

luca-upper-97759

Personally, I have found that the older I get, I am much more confident in what I wear. I know that this is most likely due to my age, and I have reached a time in my life when I am happily dressing to be comfortable in my own skin and not to impress others.  I’ve made a list for you with the top five places I go to find most of my casual clothes and what I love about each place:

  1. Banana Republic
    I really like that Banana Republic always has an amazing selection of casual and work clothing. So much of what they sell can be mixed and matched with outfits and accessories ranging from scarves, jewellery and purses. I’m a huge fan of their signature logo t-shirts and I pretty much own one in every colour!
  2. Gap
    This is my go to store for all my jeans. I love the comfort and quality of their jeans as well as all the different washes available.
  3. Reitman’s
    I absolutely love love love, Reitman’s! This is the first store I check out when I get to the mall. Here you can find some of the cute stuff, the frilly blouse or off the shoulder top. Anything current and seasonal can be found here. They always keep me in style.
  4. Suzy Shier
    I like to stop off here every occasionally, when I’m looking for the perfect faux fur sweater or a cute lacey top. Suzy Shier tends to have clothing with a bit of a flare.
  5. Winners (off priced Canadian department store)
    Often shopping at Winners can be hit or miss. It is the type of store that digging is involved in. So, I really end up here when I have the time and patience. Lots of times I hit the jackpot and end up finding some great stuff. Most of the clothing I have bought from here have been dresses, pyjamas, cute tops, and footwear. What’s great about Winners is they have unique things and you won’t often find someone else wearing the same thing.

 

Leave me a comment and let me know where you’re shopping!

signature_1