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Monday, 26 June 2017

30 Days to Wellness Challenge Day 26: Haircare for Sensitive Skin Live Clean Hypoallergenic Shampoo and Conditioner

For Day 26, I wanted to talk a little bit about haircare.  For years, I washed my hair every day.  I just assumed that I had a schizophrenic scalp and hair where it was dry and itchy yet got greasy very quickly.  I tried expensive salon brands, drugstore brands and organic brands from the health food store, to no avail.  I didn't realize that by washing it every day, I was stripping it of body oil which caused my scalp to react by producing more oil.  As well, back then, hypoallergenic, perfume free body products were almost impossible to find.  Now they are so much more readily available.  The Live Clean Sensitive Hypoallergenic Shampoo and Conditioner featured in my September, 2016 Monthly Favourites but they deserve another mention as, months later, I am still using them.  I love the fact that they are perfume free.  Increasing numbers of people are being struck by severe environmental sensitivities such as reactions to perfume and more and more employers and public places such as hospitals are banning the use of fragrance.  Personally, I don't want a lot of clashing, competing fragrances on me.  Of course, I am just writing about what I use and what works for me.  I am sure that there are a lot of lovely haircare products out there that smell delicious.  Monsieur, for example, loves slathering himself with all sorts of smellies.  The more, the better!  I buy my Live Clean products at Shoppers.  I have noticed that the Hypoallergenic ones are more likely to be carried in the larger Shoppers.  It is really heartening to find quality hypoallergenic products at a reasonable price that are readily available in a national chain store.
For a deep conditioning mask, I have tried olive oil.  It leaves caramel brown highlights in my hair.  And for toning the scalp and treating dandruff, apple cider vinegar works a treat.  These items are commonly found in your kitchen and are inexpensive solutions.  Have you tried any natural remedies?  I haven't been brave enough to try baking soda as I have seen one too many photographs of oily dandruffy Gorgon-like heads of hair to be tempted.  Although if you have tried baking soda, please share your experience!

This is not a sponsored post.  Affiliate links may be added in the future.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

30 Days to Wellness Challenge Day 25: Natural Latex Pillows

On Day 2 of the Challenge, I wrote about better sleeping habits.  So for Day 25, I want to write about a particular method I implemented to help me get better sleep.  For much of my life, I have either used feather pillows or polyester fill pillows.  The problem with feather or down pillows is that while they fluff up wonderfully, they are not machine washable.  I started waking up in the morning with my sinuses completely clogged up and feeling like I was being suffocated.  I discovered that I had developed an allergy to dust and dust mites.  So I switched to polyester fill pillows.  Even though the label said machine washable, inevitably, they would come out misshapen and lumpy.  After a bit of research, I switched over to natural latex pillows.

via Amazon
Unlike memory foam, there is no issue with offgassing.  And unlike polyester fill pillows, I don't ever have to worry about it becoming misshapen or lumpy and trying to fluff it up as, similar to memory foam, it retains its shape.  The vents prevent the sleeper from feeling hot and it is hypoallergenic and antimicrobial.  Natural latex is made plants (commonly rubber plants or bamboo) so is eco-friendly.  This is good news if you are hesitant about using down or feathers.  I am in love with my natural latex pillows and Monsieur is sold too.  For me, they really do qualify as a "lifetime haul" purchase that was made intentionally and mindfully.

Can you believe we are nearing the finish line?  Already, I feel like celebrating!  Any suggestions to throw into the ring for the last few days, speak up now!

This is not a sponsored post.  Some links are affiliate links.

LBH Weekly Roundup: Finding the Perfect Nude Lipstick, bareMinerals, Pixi by Petra, Too Faced

I noticed that my alltime favourite lipstick by Too Faced was due to be replaced.  A visit to my nearest Sephora store revealed a calamity.  The La Creme Color Drenched lipsticks had disappeared off the shelves with only the liquid lipsticks available for purchase in person.  My lipstick of choice, Spice Spice Baby, was now only available online.  Ahhh!!!  I know that shopping online is de rigueur these days but, for makeup, I really enjoy going in to a store, wandering the aisles and testing out new products. So the hunt was on for a duplicate.

bareMinerals Gen Nude Radiant Lipstick in XOX

First, I purchased bareMinerals Gen Nude Radiant Lipstick in XOX.  I had been curious about the Gen Nude line for a long time and this was as good a time as any to finally try out a mineral based lipstick.  It has a slightly darker berry tone than the Too Faced lipstick and has a slicker, less creamy feel to it.  It doesn't have much of a scent.  The only problem is that, because it is darker than my lips, eventually I get that eaten off, ring around my lips look which I find quite naif.  This was a bit disappointing as I remembering dithering between XOX and Love, which is a slightly brighter berry tone, for a very long time.  If you know a way to prevent this, please let me know!

Pixi by Petra in Honey Bare

Next, I purchased Pixi by Petra's Matte Lustre lipstick in Honey Bare.  This was another brand that I had been curious about for a really long time.  When Shoppers (Canadian pharmacy) decided to carry it, I was very excited.  Because it is a demi or matte lustre lipstick, you get the matte look that is so trendy right now but the comfortable moisturizing feel of a traditional lipstick.  The only drawback to this one was that I would get this weird tingling feeling on the sides of my tongue every time I licked my lips.  Have you ever experienced a reaction like this?  It didn't last for too long but was disconcerting.  Also, I found that the lipstick clung to every flaky bit on my lips which is not a good look.  So it is important that your lips are moisturized and exfoliated beforehand.  The lipstick comes packaged in a cellophane wrapper.  I am not sure if the lipstick had been sitting on the shelf for a long time but when I unwrapped it, the cellophane disintegrated into a million little bits which clung to my fingers like superglue.  The initial scent, after I had scrubbed my hands under the tap which was the only way I could get rid of the plastic bits (can't be good for the environment), was the standard waxy lipstick scent of a masstige product.  So, I wasn't impressed at first.  I've since warmed up to it though now that I have figured out how to work with it.
Here are all three lipsticks lined up.

L to R: bareMinerals, Pixi by Petra, Too Faced
Here is a swatch.

L to R: Too Faced, bareMinerals, Pixi by Petra

As you can see, the colours are very close.  I will probably go ahead and order another Too Faced lipstick as I don't want to be without my favourite but it is good to know that I have backup in the other ones.  I love the yummy sugary sweet scent Too Faced's lipsticks and the colour of Spice, Spice Baby is the perfect nude shade for me.  Do you have favourite makeup items that you just can't give up?

This is not a sponsored post.  Affiliate links may be added in the future.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

30 Days to Wellness Challenge Day 24: Ceramic Fry Pans, Gotham Cookware, Le Creuset Cast Iron Skillets

via Amazon

When I first set up house with Monsieur, he noticed that I didn't have any PFOA coated nonstick (Teflon coated) cookware in the house.  He promptly went out and bought a nonstick fry pan, much to my chagrin.  My protestations regarding the dangers of PFOA fell on deaf ears.  Those fry pans never last, the coating inevitably starts peeling off.  Eventually, I couldn't stand it any longer and started researching alternatives.  By that point, fry pans with a ceramic coating had now made their appearance in the world and were, to my way of thinking, a viable safer alternative to the nonstick dilemma.  I started bringing home ceramic coated fry pans and, unbelievably, Monsieur was quite pleased.  I guess my exhortations had fallen on fertile ground after all.  So for Day 24, I want to talk about switching out cookware coated with PFOA.  
Please bear in mind that all of my suggestions during the Challenge are ones that I have been trying out and aren't directives.  We all lead different lives and have different needs.  What works for me, might not work for you. As with cookware, maybe you don't have any problems using cookware coated in PFOA.  But as was the case with Monsieur, who didn't even know that a safer alternative was available, it was nice to bring it to his attention and then let him decide.
The current fry pan that we are using is the 12.5" one made by Gotham.  The coating is made of ground ceramic and copper so the interior has that flashy copper colour.  It is PFOA, PTFE, and PFOS free.

via Amazon

I had assumed that a ceramic coating would be more durable than a PFOA one but you do need to be gentle with it.  No metal utensils or harsh scouring pads.  So far, our Gotham pan is holding up and Monsieur is really pleased with its performance.  I like the fact that the price is comparable to a good quality name brand stainless steel fry pan.
If you have the budget for it, you really can't go wrong with classic Le Creuset.  A well seasoned cast iron skillet is practically nonstick.  

via Amazon
Any foodie or chef will tell you that they develop a deep relationship with their favourite kitchen tools and Monsieur is in love with his Le Creuset skillet.  But then, of course, he would be a fan as he is French!  They  really are workhorses in the kitchen (I am referring to Le Creuset but then, come to think of it,  Monsieur is a workhorse too) and were made to endure decades of usage.  Personally, I am just glad that my mind is at ease with the cookware that we are using.  I don't see the point of being careful choosing the food we eat but then negating all that effort by preparing it in cookware that might be leaching toxic chemicals.  I know that Le Creuset is pricey but they last for years and for me, it is a thoughtful, mindful purchase.

How are you doing with the Challenge?  The finish line is close at hand!

This is not a sponsored post.  Some links are affiliate links.

Friday, 23 June 2017

30 Days to Wellness Challenge Day 23: Mrs Meyer and Pet House Soy Candles, Flameless Candles

I am sure I am not alone in saying that I love candles.  They create an instant sense of intimacy.  But what I didn't realize is that ordinary paraffin wax candles are a petroleum byproduct.  So when I was merrily burning those candles, I was breathing in the equivalent of exhaust fumes!  In this case, ignorance really is bliss. So for Day 23, I would like to discuss alternatives to paraffin wax candles.  Myself, I have switched over to flameless candles.  No more fiddling with matches or trying to clean out the tar and soot from the candle holders.  You can even get ones that come with a remote control and timer here

via Amazon

They even flicker like the real thing.  How cool is that?  But I must say that sometimes I do miss burning a scented candle.  Enter the world of soy candles.  Soy candles are all natural.  We have all heard of Mrs. Meyer's cleaning products but did you know that there are soy candles as well?  It comes in scents such as lavender, basil, geranium.

via Amazon

The jar is a jelly jar that can be repurposed once the candle is done.  I do love being able to reuse something.  And for those households with pets, you can even get soy candles from Pet House Candle designed to tackle doggy odours.

via Amazon
The one pictured above is Pina Colada but there are 15 fragrances total to choose from.  After all, our furbabies need to breathe clean air as much as we do.  I am really pleased that there are so many options available now to help us create a well home.
We are moving towards the finish line of the Challenge.  Woohoo!  If you have any suggestions, there are only a few days left to include them in the Challenge so please leave them in the comments.

This is not a sponsored post.  Some links are affiliate links.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

30 Days to Wellness Challenge Day 22: Homemade Citrus and Vinegar Cleaner

For Day 22, I am reposting a post I wrote on homemade citrus and vinegar cleaners back in January, 2016. Over a year later and I am still using this spray.  So I can attest that this was a lifestyle or household change that has stuck with me.  I consider it relevant to the Challenge as removing toxic and/or harsh commercial cleaners from the household boosts the wellbeing of its occupants.  If you have small crawling children or pets who love licking the floors, then a gentle cleaning agent like vinegar really eases the mind.  And I don't know about you but I much prefer the scent of citrus essential oils and vinegar to the sickly, cloying scents of commercial cleaners that invariably make me nauseous.  So here is the original post.

Hello Friends!  As the last year drew to a close, I did a lot of soul searching.  I was working 3 jobs and felt really overwhelmed.  Luckily, because I had started "zone cleaning" (more on that later) and had begun simplifying my life in other areas, my home didn't fall into a complete shambles.  Well, at least not right away.  I had heard about the versatility of using vinegar as a household cleaner long ago but for some reason, the concept had never "clicked" with me.  I just assumed that commercially made cleaners would do the job much better and I would have to put up with the hassle of searching for a cleaner whose artificial fragrance didn't make me sick.  Late last year, I chanced upon the idea of making a citrus vinegar cleaner.  And as clementines are in abundance during the Christmas season, I decided to try it out.

I am not a particularly crafty person so the simplicity of making this cleaner really appealed to me.  All you need to do really is eat the clementines (or any other citrus fruit of your choosing) and put the peels into the vinegar.  I used a vintage mason jar.  I leave the peels in for about 2 weeks.  The essential oils in the peels slowly leach out and turn the vinegar orange.  The vinegar takes on a fresh citrus scent.  Plus the citrus ingredient boosts the cleaning power of the vinegar.   I love the fact that it is all natural and homemade.  You get your Vitamin C and make your own citrus cleaner at the same time.  How easy is that?

The sense of pride and satisfaction that I get every time I use the cleaner was quite unexpected.  I truly feel like I am "blessing" my home whenever I use it because it is non-toxic and I took the time to make it.  Now, making sure I always have a supply on hand to keep my spray bottle topped up is part of my household routine.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

30 Days to Wellness Challenge Day 21: Decreasing Exposure to EMF's in the Bedroom

I don't know when it started but I began leaving my cellphone and tablet on my bedside table overnight or sometimes, if I fell asleep before moving them, they would be on the bed beside me.   I am sure that having a cellphone on the bedside table overnight is a common phenomenon especially if it is used as an alarm clock.  However, for Day 21, I want to try to decrease the EMF's in the bedroom.  I know that there is a growing body of evidence that shows the deleterious effects of longterm exposure to high levels of EMF's.  WiFi devices that are on all night long and constantly polling for a signal emit a large quantity of EMF's which can lead to poor quality sleep amongst other things.  My sleep has been terrible for months and anything that can improve it would be a boon.  As well, every time there is a notification, I just can't resist checking my phone even if it is the middle of the night.  It is as if I have fallen into the trap of FOMO without even realizing it.  So from now on, I can going to make a conscious effort to turn them off at night or, at the very least, place them as far away from the bed as possible.  Even if you don't believe in the downside of EMF exposure, if you use your phone as an alarm clock, placing it far away from the bed will force you to get up on time instead of hitting the snooze button over and over again.  So win, win!

Stay tuned as we cruise towards the last leg of the Challenge!  Now is your chance to include any suggestions in the comments!

30 Days to Wellness Challenge Day 20: Vitamins and Supplements

For Day 20 of the Challenge, I want to chat a little about supplements.  Now I want to be clear and state that I am not a healthcare professional and I am just doing what feels right for me.  Everyone has different needs and requirements and, if in doubt, please use common sense and consult an expert.  So now that's out of the way, let's carry on!  There was a time when I tried and tried to take a vitamin supplement, usually in the form of a daily multivitamin.  But a few days in and I would get a persistent low grade headache which would not go away.  Later, I realized that the headache was similar to the headaches one gets when doing a detox cleanse.  I could never get past it even though I knew that, if I could just get over the hump and soldier on, I would come out the other side feeling better.  However, when my health took a nosedive, I decided to give vitamin supplements another try and, lo and behold, I didn't experience any headaches at all.  I have been taking them daily for the better part of 7 months now.  The composition changes slightly depending on what I think I need.  Right now, I am taking an Omega 3-6-9 supplement, a Calcium Zinc Magnesium supplement and am trying out a Biotin supplement which I have heard is really good for healthy hair.  I was taking a Glucosamine supplement but didn't really notice any difference.  I know it can take a few months of regular use to see an improvement so I might try it again.  Normally, I get my supplements at Shoppers which is a Canadian pharmacy.  You can collect reward points at Shoppers and get notifications for flash specials.  For example, today between 6 and 9 pm, it was BOGO on select supplements.  Do you take supplements?  Any recommendations?  Have you noticed any discernible benefits?

This is not a sponsored post.  Any suggestions for the Challenge, please let me know in the comments!

Monday, 19 June 2017

30 Days to Wellness Challenge Day 19: Participaction or Staying Active

If you grew up in Canada during the 70's and early 80's, then perhaps you will remember the federal government slogan "Participaction."  The slogan was for a government campaign to encourage the populace to take up an active lifestyle.  I never liked the idea of working out.  Too hot, too sweaty, too exhausting, too much need for $100 yoga pants.  And let's face it, who actually makes full use of those horrendously expensive gym memberships?  But as life gets more and more full and stresses and strains begin to weigh on one's shoulders, health and fitness start to fall down the totem pole of priorities when it should become a firm priority in order to compensate for all that stress.  So for Day 19,  this is my easy way of getting more active that isn't going to cost a bundle.  Even though I live in a large metropolitan city, once I was no longer a frugal student, I started taking the car everywhere.  I know!  Here I was, paying exorbitant parking fees and dealing with rush hour traffic, when I could easily have walked the distance.  I started to discover little islands of calm in the city that I never knew existed.  Above is a small circle of green that is enclosed by buildings and not visible from the adjoining roads.  For years, I never knew it was there and yet it is just minutes from where I live.  A few days ago, Monsieur and I had a quick walk after dinner and it felt great!  Normally, we end up comatose on the couch after dinner but it was incredibly refreshing to enjoy the city on a balmy summer evening.  To be fair to myself, we can only have an evening walk in the summer when the days are long because there are certain areas that are just not advisable to venture into at night and aren't particularly pleasant in the daytime either.  I am sure there are lots of other ways to be active that are low impact for those who live in the suburbs such as walking the dog, gardening, mowing the lawn etc.  Please leave your suggestions in the comments!

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Sunday, 18 June 2017

30 Days to Wellness Challenge Day 18: Positive Thinking and Support Systems

If you grew up surrounded by negativity, learning to keep a positive frame of mind can take a lot of hard work and practice until it becomes the new normal.  You may receive push back from those closest to you who resist the change in status quo.  This can be a painful process as it is intrinsic in human nature to resist change and to be fearful of the unknown.  We all know someone who loves to be the troublemaker, that one needy person who sucks all of the oxygen out of the room and makes you feel exhausted and deflated.  It is important to maintain some distance for your own sanity and equilibrium.  I do know firsthand how difficult this can be but I realized it was absolutely essential in order for me to get a grip on my stress levels.  For example, there was one person who insisted on calling me up at 1, 2 and even 3 am in the morning simply to vent, never mind that I had to get up early the next morning.  I don't take those phone calls anymore.  I had to become choosy in structuring a support system around me that was positive and uplifting.  I also had to learn to become my own support system, my own cheerleader, and safeguard myself.  After all, if I didn't, who would?

If you have any suggestions for the Wellness Challenge, let me know in the comments so I can include them!

LBH Weekly Roundup: Wamsutta Bed Linens and Purdys Chocolates for Father's Day

Time for another Weekly Roundup!  I had to buy new bedlinens this week.  I had a set of bamboo sheets on the bed.  I remember being very excited about switching to bamboo as it is touted as being a sound environmental alternative to cotton.  Sadly, it just was not durable. The stitching unraveled on the pillowcases and a threadbare spot the length of my legs appeared.  It was almost as if the fabric was dissolving.  I loved how silky soft it was but its inability to stand up to ordinary usage was disappointing.  So it is back to good old Wamsutta, a label that I know and trust.  It was a little startling to go back to cotton as the new sheets are quite crisp to the touch, especially when you have been sleeping on bamboo sheets for a while.  Do you have bamboo sheets and what has been your experience?

Today is Father's Day!  Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there.  Monsieur got a box of Purdys Chocolates, his absolute favourite.  It amuses me greatly that it has "Dad's Stash" printed on the lid.  To be honest, I was greatly tempted to sneak a taste as I love the Hedgehogs and the Peanut Butter bars.  Monsieur actually accused me of helping myself (notice the gap at the top right hand corner) but I promise that is exactly how the box was packaged!

30 Days to Wellness Challenge Day 17: Positive Thinking and Identifying Negative Thought Patterns

Day 17 is a continuation of Day 16.  The flip side of positive thinking is identifying negative thought patterns.  This has always been a bugbear of mine.  Thoughts like "I am not pretty enough, smart enough, young enough etc" run rampant in my subconscious.  I have found that it is important to acknowledge them and move on otherwise they continue to run unchecked, sabotaging all of my actions.  How I envy those people raised with boundless self-confidence, wholly oblivious to those niggling worries and doubts that plague us lesser mortals!
If you have any suggestions for the Challenge, please let me know so that I can include them!

Friday, 16 June 2017

30 Days to Wellness Challenge Days 16 to 18: Positive Thinking and Feeling Gratitude

For Day 16 to 18, I would like to focus on Positive Thinking.  I am sure you have heard of the Law of Attraction but I am going to use the term "Positive Thinking" instead for those readers who think that LOA is a bit too farfetched.  I grew up in a household where negativity ran rampant.  This might have been because both parents grew up in extreme poverty.  I don't think that they were even aware of their mindsets and how it affected their thoughts, speech and actions towards others.  It took many decades of critical self-analysis for me to understand the impact on my own emotional development and then to start living life on a more positive path.  Even now, it is very easy for me to fall into a swamp of self-doubt whenever I hit a bump in the road.  One method I have found that helps pull me out is feeling grateful.  I am sure you have heard of gratitude journals.  At the end of every day, quickly jot down 5 things that you feel grateful for.  If you are really stumped, just being grateful for clean air to breathe and clean water to drink is enough.  If a gratitude journal is too much, then quickly think of just one thing that you feel grateful for.  Like anything else, a positive mindset doesn't just happen overnight.  It takes work and practice.  Because this was such a hurdle for me in the past and is so intrinsic to a sense of wellbeing, I am going to devote 3 days to it.  
If you have any suggestions for the Challenge, please let me know in the comments so that I can include it!

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Thursday, 15 June 2017

30 Days to Wellness Challenge Day 15: Eating Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables

We are at Day 15, the half way point!  Pats on the back, all around!  The onset of summer means that seasonal fruits and veggies make their welcome appearance at the grocery store.  Of course, in this modern world that we live in, it is possible to get apples from South Africa in the depths of winter and avocados from Chile all year round.  However, nothing beats locally grown seasonal produce.  I used to eat lots of fruits and veggies but I got lazy and, more and more, junk food starting making an appearance.  My palate became accustomed to the sensory overload of all the salt, sugar and seasonings and a piece of fruit, once so delicious to me, seemed pallid and boring.  I do find that if I stay away from the junk food, my palate undergoes a "cleanse" and is able to detect the subtle nuances of fresh fruits and vegetables once again.  So, I want to consciously focus more on wholesome foods in my diet again.

Come back as we move in to the last half of the Challenge!

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

LBH 30 Days to Wellness Challenge Day 14: Bolthouse Farms Red Goodness Smoothie

How did the decluttering go?  I have been decluttering in spurts since the beginning of the year but took a bit of a break after going through my clothes.  It is good to make myself get back on the decluttering track and not let the break go on for too long.  Now, we are on Day 14 of the Wellness Challenge.  On Day 1 of the Challenge, I wrote about trying out green smoothies for the first time here.  I liked it so much that I decided to branch out a bit and try out Bolthouse Farms Red Goodness smoothie.  Who knew there was such a thing as a red smoothie?  It has the juice of cherries, cranberries, peaches and pomegranates amongst other things and is delicious.  I used to eat a lot of fruit but, for some reason, slacked off.  This gives me a quick dose of fruity goodness.  Come back for Day 15 where we will be at the half way point.  Woohoo!

This is not a sponsored post.  Subscribe and never miss a post!  Use #30days2wellnesslbh on Instagram so that I can find you!

Monday, 12 June 2017

LBH Weekly Roundup: H & M Cardigan

Time for another Weekly Roundup!  As a reward for donating so many clothes to the H & M used clothing donation campaign which I talked about here, I treated myself to a cardigan with one of my clothing donation coupons.  My favourite yellow cardigan shrank to doll size proportions so I was very pleased to replace it.  Perhaps it is the onset of hot and humid days but I am obsessing over citrus colours.  It is a one to one replacement which I am very pleased about as I put so much effort into culling my wardrobe and don't want to overstuff it again.  I have always loved cardigans as they make such a versatile layering piece, they can be dressed up or down and can even take the place of a dressy jacket.

This is not a sponsored post.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

30 Day Wellness Challenge Days 9 to 13: 5 Day Mini Decluttering Goal

I am a firm believer in the adage "Messy Home, Messy Mind."  Yet still, there have been many times when I find decluttering to be emotionally unsettling.  I have written about the mini 5 Day Decluttering Challenge here,  where on Day 1, you discard one thing, on the second day, 2 things and so on.  At the end of the 5 days, 15 things will have been decluttered.  It is a relatively simple and easy way to get the ball rolling when it comes to tidying up the home and achieving peace of mind.  See you on the flip side!

This is not a sponsored post.  Use #30days2wellnesslbh on Instagram so I can find you!
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Thursday, 8 June 2017

30 Day Wellness Challenge: Day 8 Unitasking versus Multitasking

For Day 8 of the 30 Day Wellness Challenge, I am going to focus on Unitasking instead of Multitasking.  The ability to multitask has been glorified as a marker of hyperproductivity.  Get one million things done in 10 minutes flat all while doing handstands and juggling!  The problem with multitasking is that this approach can drive up stress levels to untenable levels.  One's attention span is stretched thin and the likelihood of doing one's best on every single task starts to drop.  Enter Unitasking.  How about focusing all of one's attention on just one task at a time?  Bring all of your energies to bear on that one task, complete it then move on to the next task.  Try it for one day and let me know what you think of this method.

This is not a sponsored post.  Use #30days2wellnesslbh on Instagram so I can find you!

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

30 Day Wellness Challenge Day 7: Practice Meditation

Day 7's small, actionable task is to spend 10 minutes meditating.  For as long as I remember, I used to spend time on the regular just letting my mind drift.  I found it was an excellent way to calm down my overactive mind.  Little did I know that this practice was called "meditating."  Now, it is the trendy thing to do.  Apparently, there are many competing methods and "types" of meditating which means a lot of angst as to whether one is doing it correctly.  What?!  I just want to destress, not add more stress.  The last 24 hours has been particularly stressful.  Monsieur had his knapsack stolen.  It contained all his medications, identification, housekeys etc.  Without his meds, he was facing a potentially life threatening situation which meant driving him to ER.  Anyway, enough about that.  I am sure there are lots of people who think "I don't have any free time to assume the lotus position" or go "pfft" at anything that bears the slightest whiff of New Age quackery.  Believe me, I used to be one of those people.  So, a more palatable alternative to try out is to just let go of any worries that are running amok in your head and go on autopilot while you are doing a mundane chore.  For example, when you are out walking your dog, shut off your mind and just be present in the moment enjoying the company of your furbaby.  When you are doing the dishes, switch to automatic mode and just be.
Do you meditate regularly?  If yes, do you see any benefits?
Stay tuned for more daily challenges!

This is not a sponsored post.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

30 Day Wellness Challenge Day 6: Turning Off The News

For Day Six of the Challenge, I decided to decrease the amount of time I was obsessing over the news.  I stopped watching the news years ago in a bid to lower my stress levels.  I didn't miss it as information always wended its way to me eventually.  Then, a few weeks ago or possibly a few months ago (my tired brain doesn't remember any more), lured by the avalanche of world events, I started keeping up with the news and fell promptly down the rabbit hole.  This could be quite the task I've set for myself especially in the light of current events.  For the last couple of weeks, it seemed like there was one revelation every hour.  I am sure you know what I'm alluding to.  I ended up staying up later than is healthy, my brain whirling nonstop. I started experiencing FOMO for the first time in my life. When I would finally go to bed, I would lie there feeling frustrated, annoyed, overwhelmed and I don't even live in the country (ies) where these events were taking place!    So it's time to dial down my consumption of the news.  I know that, if it is important, I'll find out sooner or later.   I am not saying that the best route is to be an ostrich.  For example, for tragedies unfolding on the other side of the world, instead of obsessing over every single news report, I have to recognize that the most I can do is make a donation to the relevant aid agency and send out prayers of well wishes.  How do you handle the news?

Stay tuned for more challenges!  Use #30days2wellnesslbh on Instagram so I can find you.
This is not a sponsored post.

Monday, 5 June 2017

30 Day Wellness Challenge Day 5: Waking Up Earlier and Philips Wake Up Light

The flip side of improved sleeping habits, which was Day Two's task, is being able to rise earlier.  I am a self-confessed night owl.  Getting up early or on time has always been a challenge for me.  And lately, after a night tossing and turning in pain, dragging myself out of bed in the morning has become a Herculean task.  In my quest to get up a cock crow, I tried staying up all night.  I know, crazy huh?  I figured that my sleep was so crappy that I might as well try foregoing it altogether.   I lasted until 3 am and the next day was a zombie.  Then I tried getting up at 5 am.  I did manage to get up at that horrendous hour, only to have to listen to Monsieur's vociferous complaints at disturbing the household.  To be fair, I was feeling at a bit of a loose end and decided I might as well fill in the time until the sun rose by doing various household chores.  This was a mistake.  There is no point in doing the dishes at 5 am and feeling smugly virtuous about it only to be faced with a barrage of bitter recriminations later.
Anyway, I will say that my Phillips Wake Up Light has been a wonder in helping me to get up.  I have the older cone shaped model but I think the round shaped newer model is even better as the shape is even more "sun-like." It simulates a sunrise, glowing a reddish orange a half hour before the alarm goes off.  The glow steadily gets stronger so that by the time the alarm does off (you have a choice of bird song, the radio and elevator type music), your body is ready for it.

via amazon.ca

No more being jolted awake by a horrid, screeching alarm.  The Wake Up Light provides a gentle glide towards consciousness.
Stay tuned for more Wellness Challenges!

This is not a sponsored post.  Some links are affiliate links.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

LBH Weekly Roundup: 30 Day Wellness Challenge Days Three and Four Drink More Water and Swapping Out Sugary Snacks

The small, actionable task for Day 3 that I have set for myself is to drink more water.  I used to drink a lot of water on a daily basis.  Then, somehow, I stopped.  I realized that the only fluids I drink on the regular now is green tea or Earl Grey, cranberry juice (that I cut with water) and the occasional fizzy drink.  Oh, how I love a cold fizzy drink on a hot Summer day!  But this is not good enough.  Fruit juice comes laden with a lot of sugar and I put sugar in my Earl Grey.  So I need to get back to drinking water.  To make it easier for me, I find that adding lots of ice cubes and a slice of lime or lemon helps a lot (yes, I am such a child that way).  Drinking more water doesn't require $100 yoga pants or buy-in from other people around you.  The point is that it is easy to do, although possibly not for me who stopped drinking straight water a long time ago. I am basically going from 0 to 60 in a flash but I know it is better for me.

The small actionable task for Day Four is to decrease the amount of sugary snacks that I reach for.  There was a time when I did not have a sweet tooth.  Then I set up house with Monsieur who has an enormous sweet tooth.  Giant bowls of ice cream after every meal became de rigueur.  Believe me when I say that when I suggested eliminating ice cream, ice cream bars, chocolate covered ice cream bars etc (you get the picture) after dinner at the very least, it was like I had set off WWIII.  So we compromised.  He can continue to stock the freezer with all manner of frozen goodies and if I want to have one, I will, and, if I don't, then I won't and he won't take me opting out as an insult.  Again it is about making it easy instead of trying to do a complete 180 on a dime.  I am not cutting out sugar entirely but trying to decrease it.  I do find that doing a one to one switch makes it a lot easier as it doesn't feel like deprivation has suddenly become the order of the day.  Dates are really sweet and assuage that craving for sweetness.  Strawberries are in season right now and are a delicious snack.  
Stay tuned for Day 5!  Are you following along?  How is it going for you?
Use #30dayswellnesschallengelbh on Instagram so that I can find you.
This is not a sponsored post.

Friday, 2 June 2017

30 Day Wellness Challenge Day Two: Better Sleeping Habits

For Day Two of my 30 Day Wellness Challenge, I have decided to tackle my poor sleeping habit.  For years, I was chronically sleep deprived.  As a student, I pulled all nighters on the regular.  Even as a working stiff, I would keep late hours reading or watching telly as a way to escape the boredom of my waking hours spent in a cubicle.  Then, my health took a nose dive.  Night after night was spent tossing and turning in pain, trying to count sheep and failing.  Because I wasn't getting quality REM sleep, my memory and cognitive functions were impacted.  So I figured I might as well start staying up late, aimlessly surfing the Net.  Better that than miserably trying to sleep.  It didn't help that Monsieur loves falling asleep to the telly.  I don't know how many times I have had to get up at 3 or 4 am to turn off the telly.  Now, I picked sleep as today's actionable task because this is something that, normally, does not require buy-in from other household members.  Obviously, my goal might be a little harder to achieve because I find it very difficult to fall asleep with the television blaring away.  But, I am determined to give it a shot because I want to get up the next day without feeling like I haven't rested at all.  I am positive that getting a good sleep will help me to lead a more balanced life.
I hope you will continue to follow along on my journey.  Use #30days2wellnesslbh on Instagram so I can find you!

Thursday, 1 June 2017

The Road To Wellness and Slow Living Begins With One Step: 30 Day Wellness Challenge Day One Bolthouse Farms Green Goodness Smoothie

I had always imagined that the road to slow or simple living would be easy.  First, I started decluttering.  Let me just say here that I have been decluttering since at least the beginning of the year and I am still not done.  Decluttering brings up all sorts of emotional issues which may delay or hinder the process.  Then other areas of one's life comes under scrutiny.  What one puts in to one's mouth, the people one surrounds oneself with and how one spends one's time get parsed on a microscopic level.  And if one lives with other people there may be a lot of negotiating going on.  One may be negotiating how to redefine the home or living space and even how relationships are conducted.  It can seem incredibly overwhelming.  So I decided that I had to go back to basics.  I would do just one thing a day that would bring me back to center.  It didn't have to be a huge grand gesture like chucking everything and going backpacking around the world.  After all, who of us can do that?  Most of us have bills to pay, responsibilities to uphold and children to raise.  And it had to be something that didn't require buy-in from the entire family (although it would be great if they did join in).  But doing one actionable step every day, day by day, no matter how small, I figured I could do.

I used to joke about green smoothies.  "It's swamp water!" I cried gleefully.  But my health issues had plateaued.  I wasn't getting worse but I wasn't getting better either.  I needed a kickstart in the right direction. So, much to Monsieur's amazement, I came home with a bottle of emerald green sludge.  And you know what?  It tastes great!  It would take me 10 minutes to type out all the ingredients but there is stuff in there such as Nova Scotia dulse which I would never have thought to add in to a homemade version.  This is why, as a newbie in the green smoothie arena, I decided to purchase a bottle from Bolthouse Farms, rather than attempting to make my own.  I knew it would be a huge time crunch to go to various grocery and health food stores to gather all the ingredients.  For example, I don't have the faintest idea where to go to find barley grass, let alone Nova Scotia dulse.  More to the point, it had to taste good for me to continue with it.  Now, knowing that it tastes eminently palatable, I will be able to down a glass of this on a regular basis.  Day by day, it will become a habit that infuses me with goodness.  And each time I do it, I am reminding myself that I am being respectful of me, that I am worthy and that I am coming back to center.  And tomorrow I will pick some other step to take.  And all these incremental steps, strung together will guide me towards a new horizon.  So, any suggestions on what my next step should be?  I need running buddies to tow me across the finish line.  And if you want to join in, leave a comment telling me what small or large thing you did to move you along the path to wellness.  Or use #30days2wellnesslbh on Instagram.
If you have any green smoothie or healthy smoothie recipes, please let me know!

This is not a sponsored post.  

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

LBH May Monthly Favourites: Bordertown, Shetland and The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors Moisturizer

It is time for another Monthly Favourites!  Yet again, I have been binge watching shows on Netflix.  The thing about Netflix is that it is so vast that it is a crap shoot what you might come across.  In my thirst for Scandi Noir, I stumbled upon "Bordertown" (also known as "Sorjonen"), a Finnish crime drama.

The central character, Kari Sorjonen, reminds me of "The Bridge's" Saga Noren or even Sherlock Holmes, in that he has more than a few quirky personality traits that tend to rub the people around him the wrong way.  The difference here is that, rather than the usual trope of the antisocial, eccentric but brilliant detective, he has a wife and daughter so is actually able to have functioning personal relationships.  I must admit that a big draw of this show is the Finnish landscape which should be given its own credit as a supporting cast member.
Another crime drama I have been binge watching is the BBC's Shetland.

Who knew that there could be so much crime on an island?  I found Season 1 to be a bit of a slog.  I am glad I stuck with it as I feel that the writers and actors hit their stride by Season 3 and were feeling a lot more comfortable with the characters and the storyline(s).  And again, the island scenery is breathtaking.
Lastly, I repurchased The Ordinary's Natural Moisturizing Factors plus HA moisturizer which is always a good sign.  I am not sure if it is because I know that it is so affordable so I am quite generous with its application or if the 30 ml in the tube just doesn't go very far but I used up my first tube in 2 weeks. 

And that's it!  Join me on June 1st as I kick off 30 Days of Wellness, a challenge to try to achieve a better state of wellbeing through achievable, actionable steps.  I am feeling really nervous about it and am wondering if I have set myself an unrealistic goal.  I think I am going to need a lot of virtual handholding!

This is not a sponsored post. Some links are affiliate links.

Monday, 29 May 2017

LBH Weekly Roundup: Nars Larger Than Life Long Wear Eyeliner, H & M Light and Shade Contour Duo

With the blindness of youth, I never envisaged the day when I would need to worry about fine lines, hooded eyes or the depressing effects of gravity.  It didn't happen overnight (or perhaps it seemed like it did) but I noticed that my favourite eye pencil wasn't performing like it used to.  There was constant smudging and I would look like a raccoon at the end of the day.  Glumly, it dawned on me that it wasn't the fault of the pencil but the fact that my eyelids were losing their battle against time and gravity.  Enter the Nars Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner.

It is supposed to last for 12 hours, be smudge proof and even comes with its own tiny sharpener.  I had assumed that the sharpener was located inside the cap but it is actually at the end of the pencil.  I got the shade Rue Saint Honore which is a deep metallic blue.  I have been wearing it every day for the past week and I will say that there was a learning curve.  Because it is supposedly smudge proof, you have to apply it quickly before it sets.  After it sets, it is almost impossible to build it up without having bits flake off.  It isn't very creamy and I find that it tends to catch and pull on the skin.  In terms of being smudge proof, tiny crumbs do fall off during the day and there is a small amount of smudging but not to the point where I am getting raccoon eyes.  I find that it is best used for tightlining and for subtle definition.  I tried doing a cat eye but didn't have an easy time doing the tail as I just couldn't layer the strokes.  I will continue to use it but am going to keep my eye out for a replacement.  Have you tried the Nars eyeliner?
I went into H & M, eager to use my clothing donation coupons (see my previous post).  I haven't stepped into an H & M in years and now I know why.  The blaring music, miles of inventory and the long lineup at the fitting rooms was really overwhelming.  Desperately, I kept going round and round the store looking for something to buy.  Truly, I felt like I meandering through the seventh circle of Hell.  Finally, as I was ready to give up, I stumbled across their cosmetics section.  Hallelujah!  I didn't know they had a beauty line and was pleased and relieved to pick up their Light and Shade Contour Duo.

I know contouring is all the rage but, until now, it is something that I have never tried.  Thankfully, it comes with an instruction pamphlet, perfect for us newbies.  The compact comes in 3 shades, Light, Medium and Deep.  I chose Medium because I like the highlighter which is pink toned whereas the highlighter in the Light compact is a frosty white.  The compact is a lightweight plastic and so doesn't have the satisfying heft of a more expensive brand.  However, this is H & M, home of fast fashion so the flimsy packaging is to be expected.  At $12.99 CAD, I figured I could try contouring and not have it hurt my wallet.  It is a cream formula so it is easy to blend and build.  I have been using a light hand as I don't want to end up with a scary Kabuki mask.  Are you a fan of contouring?  Any tips or suggestions for this neophyte?

I am going to kick off a 30 Day Wellness Challenge on June 1.  Please join me as I challenge myself to do one small thing a day to improve my overall wellness!
This is not a sponsored post.  Some links are affiliate links.
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Thursday, 25 May 2017

H & M Clothes Donation Recycling Campaign #closetheloop

I was so pleased to see posters at my local mall announcing H & M's clothing donation campaign.  I figured it was a good incentive for me to declutter my closet.  Starting on the 23rd of May and running until the 28th, you can drop off a bag of clothing in any condition and receive a $10 H & M voucher or coupon.  Brilliant!  So far, I have dropped off 2 bags.  The first bag was easy and the second bag was a little harder.  It's been pouring rain for hours today so I didn't make another donation. Also, it has gotten progressively harder to put together another bag.  After hours of staring at my closet, putting something on the donate pile, changing my mind and taking it off, I needed a break.  I do think it is important to make decluttering fun and not overwhelming, so I called a halt when I felt myself getting really bogged down.  A word of warning here.  I made the mistake of making my first donation at the bin located inside the H & M store.  I had asked an employee where the bins were and was directed to a small bin beside the cash register.  There was a pile of forms for a giveaway and I assumed that the giveaway was the only incentive on offer to make a donation.  The 2 employees at the cash didn't give me any vouchers or attempted to tell me about the vouchers.  Then, I went out into the mall and, much to my chagrin, there was a huge booth manned by attendants giving out coupons for donations!  I asked one of the attendants why coupons weren't being given out in the store but the only explanation I was given was that she wasn't "technically" an H & M employee so couldn't answer my question and that possibly the "real" employees didn't know about the H & M campaign (???).  If you would like a coupon, make sure you make your donation at a drop-off point that is actually giving out the coupons.  All that aside, quite unwittingly, I am well on my way to using Marie Kondo's method of decluttering my closet espoused in her book, "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up," which involves going through every single item in your closet and making a decision on it.  And that, surely, is a good thing.

This is not a sponsored post.  Some links are affiliate links.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

LBH Weekly Roundup: Shiseido Full Lash and Brow Serum, Banana Republic Merino Cardigan

Time for another Weekly Roundup!  I am not sure if it was because of my protracted love affair with waterproof mascara or age but my eyelashes, which were always skimpy, one day decided to run up the white flag of surrender.  There are a couple of well known lash enhancement serums on the market but the cost is prohibitive.  I did try Gosh's lash serum but, every time I applied it, it stung and burned.  I tried to put up with the burning but each time, I would cave and wash it off.  So I never did see any benefit from it.  This week I picked up Shiseido's Full Lash and Brow Serum.

What I like about Shiseido's Serum is that the applicator is in the form of a soft doe foot instead of a spoolie.  This means that it is easy to apply to the lash line.  The formula doesn't sting and burn me.  It is too early to report on any results right now.  I have heard that it can take up to 6 to 8 weeks so I will let you know then.
I also picked up a new merino wool cardigan from Banana Republic.

via bananarepublic.ca

It was on sale for 40% off, yay!  I got it in the colour "Citron" which is a very unusual almost fluoro yellow with a distinctive green undertone to it.  I do love a punchy statement colour for adding some pizzazz to my wardrobe and, when I saw this particular colour,  I couldn't get it out of my head.  I love cardigans for their layering capability, don't you?  After at least 5 days of mulling it over, I pulled the trigger and now I am obsessed with it.  Of course there are lots of other colours and the last time I checked, the sale was still on so take a peek if you are so inclined.
It's Victoria Day Long Weekend here in Canada.  I hope you had a lovely weekend!

This is not a sponsored post.  Some links are affiliate links.

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