Friday, February 28, 2014

The Ten Key Films that Made me the Woman I am Today

I've lived in a lot of places growing up. My mother was quite a 'transient' individual and our lives were much like those of gypsies. Since I was always the 'new kid' at school I didn't really have the chance to make friends. Most of my weekends and summers were spent by myself while my mom worked. I grew up as an only child to a single parent. Most of my childhood and adolescence was very lonely.

One of my greatest sources of comfort and escape was watching movies. I would watch movies over and over again like some sort of cinephile. I would rent my VHS movies at the local video store and watch them that day, and then again once more the next morning before they had to be returned. My 'trips to the video store' became some what of a little daily adventure. I would get my backpack and my small allowance, and get on my bicycle and head to the video store. Once I had decided on my 'feature film' for the day I would then venture on my bike to the local grocery store and pick out a delectable little treat for myself. Then I would ride bike to a teeny, tiny Chinese take out restaurant and order exactly 2 egg rolls. I was such a regular there that the old Asian man working there would watch me walk in, and I would only have to put up my two fingers, he would nod then go to the fryer and drop my egg rolls in (Thinking back to that now, he must have thought I was the oddest child he ever laid eyes on). Everything was then carefully placed in my backpack and off I would go again, treasures safely in tow and I homeward bound!

Movies were such a comfort. I could watch the interactions of people and learn from their relationships. Given that my mother was quite 'rough around the edges', to say the least, watching films helped me to learn about 'social graces' and proper etiquette. My movies were my friends. They helped me escape into another world and become apart of many adventures.

Through the years I find I always return to these key movies that played such an important role in my life as a child and youth. They have become my 'childhood teddy bears' so to speak. To this day when times get tough and I need a little down time/'me time' to recuperate I re-enact those yesteryear's and get into my jammies, close the drapes, get myself a little snack, get a comfy blanket, and escape into one of these films.

Here is my top ten list:

#10.   Pretty in Pink- 1986

I love, love, love this movie!!! It has all of the classic appeal of any John Hugh movie. The heroine of the movie Molly Ringwald is a social outcast who lives with her father years after her mother deserted the family. This movie deals with all of the 'important' high school issues like fitting in, poor kids vs. rich kids, love, drama, breakups, makeups, and secret crushes!! Jon Cryer and James Spade are so young in this movie... plus they have great 80's hair!! :D

#9.   What's Love got to do with it - 1993

This is the story of Tina Turner and I absolutely love this movie. The film takes you through Tina's life as a poor child growing up in the South all the way to her debut as a solo performer after she left Ike. This movie gives me a huge kick in the butt when I need it and screams out 'put your big girl panties on'!!!

#8.   Working Girl - 1988

Melanie Griffith stars in this film about a young woman trying to make her way up in New York City. She breaks free from a bad relationship (a young Alec Baldwin) and strikes out to land a job at a large New York company. Her employer (Sigourney Weaver) is out to get her and all the while she is being wooed by a young, handsome Harrison Ford! Lucky girl ;)  The theme song is sung by Carly Simon and gives me goosebumps every time I hear it. This is an awesome eighties, Girl Power movie!!

#7.    Beaches - 1988

So this goes with out saying but I'll say it anyway, This is THE classic Chick-flick! This is actually the first movie that I ever made me full out, ugly cry (except for Dumbo when I was a kid; the scene where the mom and Dumbo are separated and she has her trunk through the window and is rocking him to sleep, then a single tear comes down his cheek... don't even get me started). This film embodies that quintessential, amazing bond between women. Their friendship is spectacular!

#6.   A League of Their Own - 1992

"There's no crying in baseball!!!"  This film is a great ego booster for women! Set in the time of the second world war, this movie is based on the true story of the beginnings of Women's Baseball in the U.S. Starring Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Rosie O'Donnell and her majesty herself Madonna...this has drama, comedy, action, and sports all rolled into one, heart warming package! :D

#5.    French Kiss -1995

Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline are magic in this film! This is your classic romantic comedy ladies!! I love, love, love this movie. To this day it still touches my heart and makes me laugh out loud. Meg Ryan plays an uptight woman who flies to Paris to try to win back her fiancé who has left her for a 'French Goddess'. Along the way her path crosses with a French local (Kevin Kline) who attempts to assist her in getting back 'her man'. Not only does this movie entertain, it also magically whisks you away to the amazing City of Paris! Bon Voyage! :D

#4.    Fried Green Tomatoes- 1991

This is an amazing story of friendship, love, justice and rebirth!! The film tells two heart warming stories, set in two different times.

#3.    Steel Magnolias-1989

This is another classic 'Chick flick'!!! It deals with friendships, relationships, the bonds between women, death, marriage, heartbreak and Love. These Southern women are hilarious to watch especially Shirley McClain's character of the old, mean but lovable, rich woman who's classic one liners will have you laughing out loud by yourself! This film also features lovely, poofy, 80's hair do's!!

#2.    What's Eating Gilbert Grape-1993

This film put Johnny Depp on the map for me (other than his performance in Edward Scissorhands which was amazing). His character is Gilbert Grape; a quiet, small town, young man who is struggling with family frustrations. His mother is morbidly obese, his younger brother is mentally delayed, his younger sister is self absorbed and he's left trying to hold it all together. This is a quiet drama that completely captivates you with it's honest characters and riveting performances by Johnny Depp, Leonardo Dicaprio, and Juliette Lewis.

#1.   Tootsie - 1982

This movie is my number one favourite! Dustin Hoffman's character dresses up as a woman to get work as an Actor in New York City. Hoffman, hands down, is an acting genius! His alter, female ego in the movie is Dorothy Michaels; a sassy, sharp tongued, southern woman who puts everyone in their place, yet manages to be the most lovable and gentile lady all at the same time. This is a classic comedy/heart warming film that everyone should see at least once in their life :D

Maybe you've seen some of these movies and maybe they all sound new to you... either way, I highly recommend you pour yourself a stiff drink, get out the box of Kleenex and check them out!!!


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Standing Up For What's Right: Neutrality vs. Peace Making

In times of trouble the common and unfortunate behaviour demonstrated by individuals and groups is one of 'Neutrality'.  Neutrality is defined as; "the state of not supporting or helping either side in a conflict, disagreement, impartiality."  It further appears that in society 'Neutrality' is now seen as a form of Peace Making, and 'not getting involved' is an act of conflict resolution.

I find it personally interesting that individuals claim 'Neutrality' in various instances of conflict while maintaining the guise of 'Peace Making'.  If these same people decide to put 'Neutrality' first in times of conflict; they unknowingly (or perhaps knowingly) make "Toleration" the ultimate goal. Tolerance is not Peace. Neutrality is not Peace. These people sacrifice their morality for the sake of avoiding conflict.
If you are 100% Neutral than you are %100 Tolerant.

The act of 'not getting involved' is also illustrated through recent bullying epidemics. Most people do not approve of bullying, but very few will actually intervene on behalf of the victim. There are different theories for this behaviour. Firstly; is that the bystander risks getting attacked by the bully if they stand up for the victim. Secondly: If they stand up for the victim they know it's unlikely for anyone to stand up for them if they need additional support and Thirdly; there's this notion of karma, 'People get what they deserve and they deserve what they get'.


In 1928, a man by the name of Elie Wiesel was born in Poland to a Jewish family. As a child he witnessed first hand the horrors of the Holocaust. In 1944, Elie and his Father were separated from the rest of their family and put into a male Work Camp in Buna a subcamp of Auschwitz. They worked and lived in the most appalling conditions imaginable for a period of eight months leading up to the end of the war. His father was beaten severely by a Nazi for being exhausted and sick with dysentery and was then sent to a crematorium only weeks before the camp was liberated by U.S. Army.

Elie is now a successful professor, political activist and author. He writes about the price of neutrality:

"I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."

Another favourite quote of mine comes from Desmond Tutu that speaks to the issue of Neutrality:

"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality."

Martin Luther spoke on the same subject saying, "Peace if possible, Truth at all costs!"

I get it.. Conflict sucks. I myself find it very hard to deal with confrontation directly. At times I feel it's easier to stand up for other people than it is to stand up for myself. But even though conflict is tough, I know enough to know that it is very important. What if no one stood up against the Nazis? What if no one stood up and said Slavery is wrong?  All of those people entered into conflict and they boldly walked in risking their lives. Of course, my personal areas of conflict are not so grave and dangerous... all the more reason I suppose to 'suck it up' and stand up for myself. If all of these other people before me, and still today, are able to stand up in the face of death to fight for justice, can't I myself do the same for my own small area's of personal confrontation? It may be uncomfortable, and it may not 'win' me any extra friends... but when it comes to standing up for something of value and importance or shrinking away and sitting down in the face of adversity, I choose to STAND.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Nurses are Being Punished for Sick Time: Infection Control Vs. Human Resouces

Infection Control vs. Human Resources

I'll be the first to admit it. I've gone into work many times when I've had a cough, head cold, low grade fever, paralyzing menstrual cramps, back and neck spasms, and Not Yet Diagnosed nausea with the sweats. Of course the 'right' thing to do would have been to stay home and not risk the health of my patients or co-workers. It is strongly encouraged by the Infection Control Department to stay home if you're sick. I knew better.. but I would go in anyway.

Every since my journey in nursing began, back in my clinical practice days, sick time was always heavily frowned about. Missing even one mandatory clinical day was the worst Sin imaginable... and there would be Hell to pay for it.

One of the most terrifying issues facing nurses these days is the humiliating and horrific experience of being punished for being sick. The hospital will deny this act to the grave, but this punitive treatment of nurses and health care providers is a well known fact by anyone working in the Health Care sector.

At the hospital where I work, nurses and support workers are given up to 5 sick incidents a year before they are put on 'attendance monitoring'. Attendance monitoring is where you are 'red flagged' as having issues with work attendance. You get pulled into your managers office for a sort of disciplinary meeting and notified of this 'issue'. You are then told if you continue to have more sick time there will be a follow up meeting with the manager again and a member of Occupational Health. For any further sick time you are told that you will need to provide a doctor's note as well as you are encouraged to fill out a detailed form describing all of your personal health related problems that are attributing to your attendance 'issue'. The program manager then assures you that this information is confidential and is designed to 'help you' from missing further work. You are also given some Mickey Mouse advice about 'diligent handwashing' and the benefits of wearing a face mask for the entirety of a 12 hour shift.

I have seen co-workers leave the managers office shaking and in tears. I've also been the person crying after a meeting with the management. I have come into work sick as a dog because I was terrified of the retribution from my management. Other nurses have also described this fear, all the while dragging their heels into work with a fever and running to the bathroom every 5 mins. There have been countless times where I'm working amongst so many ill nurses that I myself was afraid to come into work at the thought of catching something from them!

Of course management denies that this 'attendance monitoring' is a disciplinary action. This is supposedly in no way a form of punishment, but more a way of 'helping you'. I've had personal situations at work where I needed to talk to my program manager about several pressing issues and I would never be able to reach her. I would leave phone messages, and email her countless times. I ended up coming down with some virus or another and called in sick for my day shift. Within hours, of that very first sick day, guess who was calling me non-stop? Yup! My manager. How convenient that all of a sudden she magically appears and is ready to speak to me.

Once an employee reaches the '6th sick incident" (say that five times in a row), and are placed on Attendance Monitoring, they are now 'red flagged' to the entire hospital management. Let's say for example an employee wishes to transfer to another area of the hospital or they are applying for a full time position; being sick 6 instances in a year now becomes an issue for your future employment and career. Being on 'Attendance Monitoring' allows other Program Managers to deny you a position, even if your level of seniority entitles you to receive that advancement.

This is another way in which 'Attendance Monitoring' is being held as a punishment over the employees head. The only way to clear your Attendance Monitoring is to show a one year period with only 5 sick incidents on it. So essentially at that point, you have to 'not be sick' for months and months to come in order to 'clear your name'. How anybody could guarantee or achieve that is beyond me.

In 2012 Stats Canada stated that the average sick time for a worker is 7.6 days a year. The same year the average Canadian required 1.6 days off for family reasons/personal responsibilities. According to the National Post the average rate of sick days is the highest among the Health Care and social assistance sector reaching 14 days average sick time.

It makes perfect sense to me that Health Care workers would have a higher rate of sick time. Not only are we exposed to every bacteria and virus known to man, but we are running our feet off for 12 hour intervals, lifting/turning/carrying/pushing/pulling patients (some of which are heavier perhaps than they should be), all the while having our adrenaline soaring during various codes and upon discovering un-flagged Doctors orders ("Ohh.. this patient was supposed to be fasting for surgery.. would've been nice to know. Thanks for NOT flagging the order Dr. Dumb-Ass").

Obviously there's another side to the coin. I know of a nurse who has over a hundred sick days within a year (and I'm not talking about being off for short/long term disability... these are random days). There are definitely the individuals who blatantly abuse sick time. And Holy Smokes is it ever blatant sometimes. If you're going to call in sick maybe you don't want to have Facebook pictures 'live streaming' from your Bridal Shower the same day. I think that these attendance monitoring systems are great when applied to the correct people. But in general, it's a pretty wide brush to be painting with.

So, Infection Control wants us to stay home if we're sick. Human Resources wants us to show up for work unless we're confirmed officially 'deceased'.

So who wins?

Well, I'll tell you who loses... besides the nurses and the health care providers, the people who really end up suffering are very patients we are supposed to be caring for.


Monday, February 24, 2014

2014 Fashion Trend: Spring Flowers

So, I'll admit it... I'm not the biggest fan of this current fashion trend. It's most likely due to the fact that flower patterns on clothing consistently give me flashbacks to the early nineties. How horrific lol.  Well, things have changed and floral clothing styles have become more modern and therefore more palatable to my senses ;)

Here are some easy ways to add some Spring Flowers into your wardrobe!


2014 Fashion Trend: Seaside Dream

One of my favourite Spring/Summer looks is the refreshing take on everything 'nautical'. Navy blues, crisp whites, strips and all things with an airy, seaside flare! I can't wait for the warm weather and sunshine :)

Cheers, Bootsy

Saturday, February 22, 2014

2014 Fashion Trend: The Golden Touch


All that glitters may not be gold, but it's certainly a recent hot, fashion trend!!  Whether it's as subtle as a necklace, watch, gold detailing on shoes and handbags, or a fully, be-dazzled dress... 'The Golden Touch' is a polished, sophisticated look that anybody can pull off :D

These looks don't have to break the bank either. All of these items have various "knock off" looks found in your local stores. For example: H&M, Winners, Dynamite, Smart Set, The Bay and Sears (ATTITUDE clothing line by Jay Manuel) all offer this hot fashion trend at a lower price point!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Healthy Meals for Days: One Dish that makes Many Meals!


I'm going to share with you one of the my favourite healthy and convenient recipes. Not only is this dish simple and delicious, it also provides you with a variety of  'meals for days'! If I were making this batch of food for myself alone, it would probably feed me for 4 days costing around ten bucks for the whole thing :D  One of the key components to eating healthy is having that healthy food prepared and convenient so that when your in a rush and starving, you have a healthy food item you can go to immediately.

This dish is cheap, quick and healthy... "these are a few of my favourite things"!

In preparing this dish I've gone back to an 'old school' way of cooking a meal... in essence this is a take on a 'boiled dinner'.. but that sounds so awful... So I'll call it Bootsy's Chicken! Not sure that name's any better but let's go with it :)

I start off with a family pack of chicken. You can use boneless/skinless or boned and with skin on. For this dish I used skin on and bone in. I find it adds better flavour to the broth. I also have flavour components including: carrots, an onion, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary and thyme, paprika and Cajun seasoning.

I then fill a pot half full with water (enough to cover the chicken) add the chicken and salt the water heavily. I don't measure the salt specifically, but it's a good 2-3 tablespoons. The salt is key to flavouring the chicken meat and the broth.

I then chop up my carrot and onion into large, bite sized pieces...

Add them to the pot... and then start adding my flavour components. Worcestershire sauce...

and then add approximately 1 Tablespoon of each of the spices. At this point you bring the water to a boil, then turn the heat to medium-low, cover the pot and cook the chicken for approximately 30mins or until cooked through.

Once the chicken is cooked, I remove it from the broth and let it sit and cool down till it's just warm. I then remove the skin and take the meat off the bones. The chicken meat will literally fall right off.. it's super moist, flavourful and delicious... quality checks are highly recommended ;)

With the remaining, delicious broth I measure off 4 cups.. and pour it back into the pot. I then add 2 cups of Jasmine rice (or brown rice, or basmati... what ever your preference) into the pot of broth and turn the heat up to high.

I also add some sesame oil and soya sauce to add to the flavour as well as it also creates a lovely aroma in the kitchen. Jasmine rice itself also produces a lovely, nutty aroma. Bring this to a boil, then turn the heat to low, cover and let simmer for approximately 15-20min until rice is cooked.

Once the rice is cooked I add about 1 cup of frozen peas, stir them in well, cover and let the residual heat from the rice cook the peas. In approximately five minutes the peas are cooked and it's ready to eat!

With the chicken in mind, I've made a beautiful, delicious Greek salad with chicken on top.
(and a glass of Italian red wine!)

The shredded chicken can be used for so many different meals! You can easily stir in BBQ sauce with the chicken to make a BBQ chicken wrap or put in on top of a Southwest Salad with shredded cheddar cheese. You can us it for sandwiches, make fajitas with it, or add it to a stir fry! The options are limitless :D

Here is the finished meal... A lovely veggie-packed, rice dish cooked in delicious, home made chicken broth. The container behind it is the rest of the cooked chicken. There is also another 2 cups of broth left over which can be used to make a variety of soups.. OR, try cooking your vegetables in it for extra flavour (I bet you won't even need to add butter!)

So there you have it! A cheap, simple and delicious meal that will last you for days :)


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My Secret to Healthy Weight Loss, Part 2: Carbohydrates: a Love/Hate Relationship


I love warm, soft, doughy, loving, caring and delicious carbohydrates. They represent all that is comforting and satisfying. But warm, oven fresh dinner rolls, bagels, muffins, bread and flaky, croissants will love you back even more. They love you by giving you big, puffy, soft, rolls of extra fat tissue that undulate and cascade all over your body. In essence, Carbohydrates just want to give you a big hug. Quite literally. They hug your entire body with soft, squeezable, dimply flesh. How nice of them :)

Of course, I'm half joking. Obviously carbohydrates play a very important role in out bodies physiological processes as well as are essential to provide nutritional needs....but, there's a big BUT coming. (pun intended)

BUT... that all being said, there is a fine line between the carbohydrates your body requires and the carbohydrates that have been jam packed into every grocery item you buy these days.

If you look back thousands of years ago at what our ancestors ate you will see a very different diet than what you would commonly witness today. Back in those days the common food staples were meats, eggs, vegetables, fruit, fungi, roots and nuts. It completely excludes grains, dairy products, refined sugar, refined salt and processed oils. For purposes of this blog I'm going to focus on the 'grains' specifically.

Our distant ancestors did consume wheat in the latter years, but the grains they consumed are a far cry from what we are devouring at a rapid rate these days. Wheat has been severely, genetically modified and over processed in the last few hundred years.

In the last century our diet has evolved into a mass, over consumption of wheat.

"Today’s wheat may be dangerous because it greatly elevates blood sugar levels, leading to insulin spikes that cause chronic inflammation and excess belly fat (visceral fat). By eating some form of wheat morning noon and night – which many of us do – you’re not only gaining weight, but are also becoming more susceptible to a whole range of inflammatory diseases and ailments including heart disease, diabetes, fatigue, acne, arthritis, IBS and even dementia."

"...modern wheat is also a highly addictive complex carbohydrate since it contains a special protein called gliatin, which has the same effect on brain receptors as opium. Gliatin stimulates the appetite, creating incessant hunger and cravings for more wheat products and refined carbs."

Dr. William Davis(cardiologist)

It's not just the obvious items like bread, muffins, bagels, etc. that you have to watch out for anymore. Wheat is literally in everything these days. If you look closely at food ingredients you can barely find an item at the grocery store that is actually free of wheat.

Here is list of food items, you may be surprised to find out, that contain wheat:

Canned soups, Vegetables (frozen or canned), Sauces, Dip and gravy mixes, instant drinks, deserts (ice cream, puddings, sorbet), Condiments, Salad Dressings, Meats (sausage, lunch meats), Cheese (processed cheese products, cheese spreads) and Sweets (licorice, chocolates, chewing gum).

Corn starch, rice starch and potato starch are another huge component of processed foods these days.. but I'll leave that for another time ;)

The key goal of this message is to help you to become more educated about the food you are putting in your body.

I'm not suggesting that anyone go 'cold turkey' and just give up all of these items immediately. But I'll share the advice that I give to myself, "Just try to eat LESS of it". I am a firm believer in taking baby steps to achieve goals. For myself, I long ago decided that I would not eat muffins or bagels anymore (except on rare occasions as a treat). Once that became easy I took it to another level. I then decided that I would limit myself to eat only two slices of bread a day. Then eventually that became easy. And so on and so forth. One small step at a time.

Here are some of my daily tricks:

*I make slightly, bigger salads at dinner

*I add more veggies to a sandwich or wrap

*when I make pasta dishes or rice dishes I load them up with vegetables

*for snacks I'll have an apple and yogurt, or one slice 
  of toast with peanut butter, or an egg with toast (keeping within my limit of 'two slices of bread a

*if I'm preparing a meal that has a wheat or carbohydrate component it only takes up 1/4 of my
  dinner plate... And 1/2 of the dinner plate is veggies or a salad.

The main idea is to fill up on the 'good stuff' so you're less hungry and less likely to consume the 'bad stuff'. Don't let yourself become over whelmed thinking you have to change Everything all at once. Look at it this way: make one, little, smart decision for yourself every day :) One step at a time.


Monday, February 17, 2014

Sleep: An important Key to Weight Loss


Rest is an undervalued essential component to weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight. When you are over-tired, over-worked, dragging your butt around you're more likely to rely on food to keep you awake and alert. Also, because of your fatigue you're more likely to have less 'will power' to stop from reaching for some convenient, quick, fatty, delicious food item (mmm... sounds delicious!). Also, another way I look at it is "I'm not tempted to eat when I'm asleep" lol.

There are a number of physiological processes that happen during sleep that are incredibly important to your over all health. Various hormones are secreted during sleep that help to 'curb' your appetite. Also sleep helps to lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels in your blood. Cortisol is linked with weight gain because high levels of it in your blood will ultimately lower your metabolism and increase the breakdown of protein into glucose... which will then be stored as fat. You can read more about these hormones and weight loss in an article I found online:

Rest time:
One of the things I have been striving to achieve in the past few years is adequate rest time. Being a shift worker this can be very difficult. My sleep cycles are all over the place usually. Ultimately my goal is to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. I know 'experts' have always said in the past to get '8 hours' of sleep a night... but I find that hard to achieve on a regular basis. If it's my day off then I can usually sleep anywhere from 7hrs-11hrs (the latter being rare, but if I sleep that long I somehow feel that my body must have 'needed' it. Usually the following night I sleep less, so I think in the end it all evens out.)

I'm also a firm believer in a good, solid nap! Some days I really look forward to my nap time and schedule it in on my 'to do list' for the day. I don't have children either, so I realize that to a lot of my readers this may seem super luxurious... which it is ;) But, the main idea I'm trying to share with you is to value your rest. Make time for it when you can.

Get into the Mood:
Sometimes I find it very hard at the end of the day to 'unwind' and get the 'sleepy feelings' flowing. I've learned over the years that's it's necessary to "prepare myself for sleep". If I need to get to bed early for a day-shift I turn off the T.V. and/or put away my laptop at least a half an hour to an hour before 'lights out' time. I will even go around and dim the lights or turn off some lamps in attempt to "get into the mood" for sleepy time. The computer screen and television are very stimulating to the brain and I'm a firm believer that before sleep your mind needs time to calm itself. It's also essential, in my opinion, to have your bedroom designed for 'rest and sleep'. This means it's a No T.V- No laptop- No cell phone Zone!!! None of those items are conducive to a good nights rest, so get them out! :D

Body Temperature:
I also have the house temperature lowered at night to help with sleep (16-17 degrees Celsius). One of the natural physiological triggers for sleep is a drop in the body's temperature. When I go to bed I try to mimic (or expedite) this temperature drop to give me 'the sleepy vibe'. Sometimes a hot bath before bed helps because the warm water raises your body temperature (and it's also super relaxing) and then when you come out that drop in body temperature happens. I find that after a bath, no matter what time of the day it is, I like to lay down, dry off as God intended, and I will usually end up dozing off pretty quickly.

White Noise:
Another trick I always use is to have a fan running through the night. I have two dogs and a cat scampering around the house making all sorts of sounds at random hours, so I find the low sound of a fan drowns out all of those sounds. It's also come to the point where the very sound of the fan turning on makes me feel a little sleepy.. like a Pavlov experiment lol.

Due to my shift work it's also essential for me to have 'black out' drapes. When I need to rest during the day or have a good nap session I like my bedroom to be pitch black. The presence of light is a natural stimulant to the brain and helps 'wake you up'.. which is all good and dandy if you're trying to revitalize yourself. But when it comes to getting a good night's sleep you need your bedroom to be nice and dark.

Hope these tips are helpful! I'm feeling sleepy all of a sudden ;)



Sunday, February 16, 2014

My Secret to Healthy Weight Loss and Management

In my personal experience your 'diet' (eating habits) is the key to weight loss and maintenance. Exercise is important of course, but it's very difficult to 'out-exercise' a bad diet. ( )

I hear it time and time again, people talking about how much they work out and yet they don't really ever lose weight. Then I ask and find out that they haven't really changed their eating habits, or they have been mislead by food marketing into thinking they're eating healthy. I'm not a nutrition expert, but I do know what has worked for me personally so I thought I'd share :)

Easy on the 'Variety':
I usually eat 1-2 meals a day that are always the same. When it comes to meal planning and eating habits, 'variety' can be a danger. A lot of athletes use the same idea with having the habit of 'routine meals' that they eat everyday. It also makes meal planning a lot easier because you already know what you're going to eat :)

I typically always eat eggs and toast every day for breakfast. (1 whole egg, with 2-3 egg whites (from a carton of egg whites), with a non fat cheese slice on top and one slice of whole wheat toast with margarine). It's a no brainer. That's just what I always eat.

If I'm working I always pack a salad with some element of protein for a 'meal' (I'm a nurse and it's always random shifts so sometimes my 'lunch' is my 'dinner', so I'll call it a 'meal'). I change up the salads a bit: some days it's a Greek Salad, or greens with walnuts and cheddar cheese, sometimes Caesar... unless I've run out of lettuce, I always pack a salad. It's become my routine. And I NEVER order out at work or BUY food from the cafeteria. Take out meals and Cafeteria food are almost always very unhealthy and Expensive!    (This is another point that I think people get wrong: Eating healthy is actually more cost efficient. I have a 'cheat day' every week usually where my fiance and I buy junk food and have a gorge fest... it's pretty awesome... but it usually costs a small fortune to do it. Our regular 'healthy' diet is much more cost efficient.)

For snacks during the day I have apples, low fat yogurt, crackers with low fat cheese and pickles (smoked oysters too when I'm feeling extra fancy), microwave popcorn, or toast/rice cake with peanut butter. My fiance made some protein/banana muffins so today I'm having one of those.

Dinner meals are normally the meals that have a bit of variety all depending on what ingredients are in the house or what we feel like eating. Sometimes It'll be whole wheat spaghetti with lean ground beef, or roasted chicken with veggies, jasmine rice or potatoes, sometimes I'll have another salad for dinner, or thin crust frozen pizza. (The 'protein' element in your meals doesn't always have to be meat. You can get a 'complete protein' from eating grains with legumes. So sometimes I'll make a pot of rice and then put a can of legumes or beans into it and voila!!! a complete protein.)

I've recently started to steer away from eating 'animal products'. There is a lot of research out there indicating the vast benefits (not only to the individual put to the planet) of an 'animal free' diet. I'm no where near a Vegan or Vegetarian but I do try to minimize my animal consumption. In the past year I've switched completely over to Soy Milk instead of Cow's milk (see the documentary 'Forks over Knives' for more convincing info).

Grocery Shopping Tips:
When it comes to grocery shopping I usually try to stick to the 'outside parimeters' of the store. It's those inside aisles that can be super sneaky, and tempting with its deliciously, fattening, sugary foods. The outsides of the grocery store have the fruit/vegetable section, the bakery (careful there though!), the meat section, Dairy, and the Frozen Foods section. I buy a lot of frozen veggies and add them to rice dishes, pasta, or just warmed up with a little margarine and salt and pepper (I sometimes eat that as a little snack). I do venture into the 'middle' aisles of the store for canned lentils, beans, salsa, condiments, salad dressings, olive/canola oil, soda crackers, and microwave popcorn. I also make it a habit to never buy cookies, chips, granola bars, side kicks or prepackaged instant 'rice meals', or any dessert items. My dessert of choice is a glass of Red Wine! :)

Cheat Day!! :
If we are having a cheat day, which is usually once a week or once every two weeks, we will buy chips, cookies, nachos, McDonalds or any junk food we want, but only for that one day. I usually try to keep it to one big 'Cheat Meal'.  But just for that day. The junk food is not to be hanging around the house all week. My will power couldn't handle that kind of temptation around all the time. The way I am is, "If it's in the house, I'll eat it!". I don't lie to myself about my will power level because I know it sucks! You have to make your home a 'safe area' for your diet and health. I don't have junk food in the house because around 9pm at night I'm bored, and I'm stressed.. and I just want to binge! lol

Anyways, I'll leave it at that for now. I'm not saying that my way is the best way, or the right way, but for the most part it works for me. The only exercise I've been doing regularly for the past few years is walking my dogs everyday. I attribute being able to maintain a healthy weight to this method of eating (although one of my personal goals for this year is to start exercising more).

Best of luck!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Ellen Page Annouces She's Gay

Wow, I never saw that one coming.. lol.

Well, it may not be the 'shocker of the century', but beloved Canadian actor Ellen Page (from my hometown Halifax) has just officially come out of the closet. Page recently attended a Las Vegas LGBT youth convention and stated,

"I’m here today because I am gay, And because maybe I can make a difference. To help others have an easier and more hopeful time. Regardless, for me, I feel a personal obligation and a social responsibility."

Ellen goes on to encourage others  by speaking about her own struggles,

"I am tired of hiding and I am tired of lying by omission. I suffered for years because I was scared to be out. My spirit suffered, my mental health suffered and my relationships suffered. And I’m standing here today, with all of you, on the other side of all that"

We love you Ellen.. whether Gay, Straight... or whatever the other letters in LGBT mean ;p


Christina Aguilera Engaged on Valentine's Day!!!

Congratulation's to Christina Aguilera and .... this guy on your engagment!!!

What's more romantic than a Valentine's Day proposal???    Nothing!!!  Well... except when it's the anniversary date of your FIRST DIVORCE!! lol 

That's right... Christina's divorce to her first husband Jordan Bratman finalized on Valentine's Day in 2011.  Awkward :S   Oh well.. what can ya do?