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Monday, 17 July 2017

LBH Weekly Roundup: e.l.f Eyebrow Kit


I purchased the e.l.f. eyebrow compact this past week and I have to say I am really impressed.  For years, I used Benefit's Brow Zings compact.  It comes with a pair of miniature tweezers which, in theory, seems like a good idea but, over time, I ended up with a handful of the little guys that I just didn't know what to do with.  I always reached for my full size Tweezermans and never the little mini one.  Finally, I stopped buying the Benefit compact and used an eyeliner pencil which was the right shade of ashy brown that disappears into and yet subtly accentuates a dark brow.  The eyeliner pencil lasted me an incredibly long time, however, as I got closer to the end, the more difficult it became to sharpen it.  The tip kept snapping off and I was losing a lot of product.  I noticed that the e.l.f. line was on sale at my local pharmacy and decided to pick up the brow compact.  It really looked like a dupe of the Benefit compact with a dark cream shade and a lighter shade to get a natural ombre effect.  And for the price, it really is a steal.  I use an e.l.f. angled brush to apply it and it is so easy and effortless to apply and blend.  I got mine in the shade Medium.  There was only two shades available at the pharmacy, Light and Medium which really surprised me but a search on Amazon showed that there is a  Dark shade available which I likely would have preferred. No more stressing over trying to sharpen a pencil!

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Monday, 10 July 2017

LBH Weekly Roundup: Banana Bread With Pancake Mix Recipe, Le Creuset Terrine



We had a few ripe bananas that needed using up so, on the spur of the moment, we decided to make banana bread.  When I say "spur of the moment", I do mean that as a quick rummage in the kitchen cupboards revealed that we didn't have any flour, milk, vanilla extract or even a loaf pan to bake it in!  However, I had just brought home a Le Creuset terrine and was really keen to use it ( I couldn't find a white one on Amazon but you can get a classic red one here).  It is such a beautiful piece that I didn't want to just restrict its use to pate.  I do find that a new, beautiful and functional addition to the kitchen can inspire one to be a bit more adventurous, don't you?  So we made a few substitutions to the standard banana bread recipe, basically using whatever we had on hand.  Below is the recipe with the substitutions:

BANANA BREAD RECIPE WITH SUBSTITUTIONS

 3 ripe bananas
2 2/3 cup pancake mix (instead of flour)  I used Aunt Jemima's
2/3 cup demerara sugar (instead of white sugar)
1/4 cup soy milk (instead of milk)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 eggs
the seeds of one vanilla pod (instead of 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
I didn't have any nuts on hand but you can add 1 cup of chopped walnuts

Instructions:
Mash the bananas.  Mix in the sugar, milk (or milk substitute), vanilla (or vanilla substitute), and eggs in with the bananas then add the pancake mix and nuts.  Pour mixture into the greased terrine or loaf pan.  If you have flour on hand, you can grease and flour the inside of the terrine.  Bake for 50 to 60 minutes at 350 degrees C.

You will need a 9" X 5" X 3" loaf pan which I didn't have so I used my Le Creuset terrine instead.  The mixture was the perfect amount for it as you can see in the photo above.

The banana bread was delicious!  The texture was dense and firm, very bread loaflike.   The demerara sugar deepened the colour of the bread and gave the top a yummy stickiness without the addition of any caramel frosting.  The molasses in the sugar gave the loaf a rich mellow flavour as well.  And the aroma from the vanilla pod was heavenly.


It was perfectly and evenly baked throughout.  Le Creuset is fantastic for even heat retention which is a boon for baking.  The terrine is a firm favourite now and I know it will be a kitchen workhorse for many years to come.

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Monday, 3 July 2017

LBH June Monthly Favourites: The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension, Natural Moisturizing Factors, Hyaluronic Acid 2%


Welcome to another Monthly Favourites!  The standout for me this month is The Ordinary.  I dare say it is fitting that this Canadian company, which has taken the skincare industry by storm, should be my sole favourite for this particular month which leads into a celebration of Canada's 150th birthday.  Woohoo!  150 years young!  Happy Birthday Canada!
Natural Moisturizing Factors Moisturizer appeared in May's Monthly Favourites which you can read about here. I have also written about the Vitamin C Suspension here.  I am still using the Vitamin C as it is good for combating hyperpigmentation caused by long sunny days.  I have cut back on the Moisturizer as I find I don't need as much moisturizer in the summer and added in something new, the Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, instead.  Hyaluronic Acid is excellent for hydration as it can hold 1000% its weight in water.  There is a little glass pipette that administers drops of the acid.  I just sweep it over my face in the morning before applying makeup and it is enough hydration for me.  There is a slightly tacky feel to it which some may not like and it doesn't provide a lot of slip if you are one of those who like to throw in a bit of facial massage at the same time as you are moisturizing your face.  However, as a simple serum, it is perfectly adequate.
That is it for June!

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Friday, 30 June 2017

30 Days to Wellness Challenge Day 30: Last Day


It is the last day of the Wellness Challenge!  Woohoo!  Honestly, I can't believe I made it to the finish line. Truth be told, there was a point where I thought to myself, "I can't believe how many bad habits I've accumulated.  How am I even standing up?"  I also wondered what I had gotten myself into.  I wasn't even sure I would be able to keep blogging for 30 days straight.  In a way, throwing out a Challenge into the blogosphere was a way to challenge myself, of keeping me honest.  If you have been following along as a lurker, multiple pats on the back all around!  I bet you thought there would be a huge revelation on the last day.  Well, not really.  On the last day, I think we all deserve a free pass, a day of freedom where we get to feel free of stress and worry, a day where we revel in feeling comfortable in our own skins.  I just wanted to add that all the suggestions posited during the Challenge were exactly that, suggestions.  Each suggestion was like a symbolic apple a day.  It is up to each of us to pick and choose what works in our own lives.  Thanks so much to all of you who silently followed along!

Thursday, 29 June 2017

30 Days to Wellness Challenge Day 29: Reusable Glass and BPA Free Food Storage Containers

For the second to last day (!!) of the Challenge, I would like to chat a little bit about food storage containers. I have been slowly weeding out my collection of plastic containers.  We know so much more about toxins leaching out of plastic into our food and once the veil of ignorance has been pierced, there is no going back.  Even Monsieur has come on board and absolutely loves using glass containers for storing leftovers.

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I really like this 22 piece set by Rubbermaid as it is dishwasher, freezer, microwave and oven safe.  Some glass containers are not able to go into the microwave so, if you use the microwave often, this is a feature that you will want to look for.  The lids snap to bases, other lids and nest inside each other for easier organization.  How cool is that?
This one by Glasslock is oven safe and microwaveable.  I like the fact that it is airtight and leakproof.  Like the Rubbermaid set, it is BPA free and, bonus, recyclable.

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Of course, I forget Pyrex, the granddad of all glass containers!  

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The glass is preheated oven, microwave, fridge, freezer & dishwasher safe and the lid is BPA free.
Of course, heavy glass is fine for storing food at home but it is too much to expect a child to lug a heavy glass container to school.

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I like this BPA free plastic set, above, by Rubbermaid because you get 42 pieces and a variety of sizes.  As with the glass version, the lids snap together and to bases.
This BPA plastic set by JLY Canada, below,  has compartments and is stackable.

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Containers are great not just for leftovers and lunches but for meal prepping and menu planning.  This set below by Fit4Life is BPA free and microwaveable.

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Hopefully this post has given you some food for thought!  Come back tomorrow for the last day of the Challenge and celebration time.

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Wednesday, 28 June 2017

30 Days to Wellness Challenge Day 28: Choosing The Right Task Lighting For You


via Amazon
Back when I was a poor student, I rented the attic room in a boarding house.  Because it was the attic room, the rent was slightly less than the other rooms.  At the time, I thought I was getting a great deal.  I had the whole of the attic to myself.  It wasn't until the end of the school year that I realized that I had not gotten such a great bargain after all.  There was only one tiny window at one end.  The room which was panelled in dark laminate and had dark carpeting was in perpetual gloom even if all the lights were on.  I would get severe headaches after long bouts of sitting at my desk.  Eventually I realized the headaches were caused by the constant squinting.  With all the studying I was doing, I ended up permanently damaging my eyesight.  Ever since, I have been quite anal when it comes to proper task lighting.  So for Day 28, I want to chat a little about proper lighting in the home.  Broadly speaking, there are 2 types of lighting, ambient and task lighting.  I live in a condo and so changing ambient lighting which usually involves ceiling lighting is not really an option.  This challenge is about relatively easy, doable changes so I am going to focus on task lighting which usually involves desk lamps or lighting for specific tasks.  First, think about your desk or work space and whether you believe it to be adequately lit for the tasks you perform at that area.  Do you work there during day or evening hours?  Simple tasks performed for a minimal amount may only require a decorative table lamp that gives off 360 degree light.  However, if you are there for long periods of time, a desk lamp that shines a light focused on your work space or electronic devices might be better suited to your needs.  You may also wish to think about adjustability. OttLite is a highly respected brand and the OttLite Executive Desk Lamp pictured above is an example of a desk lamp designed for task lighting. A rotating shade and and height adjustments mean you can angle it to suit your lighting needs.


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There are so many styles to suit all sorts of needs.  I like this OttLite because it comes with a space saving craft organizer.

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I really like this sleek Turcom LED Desk and Table Lamp as it has a USB port, it's dimmable and has a touch sensitive control panel.  The fact that it is LED leads me to another consideration and that is the type of light bulb that the lamp uses.  Ask yourself whether you want the yellowish light of an incandescent bulb or the cooler light given off by an LED or CFL lightbulb. 

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There are so many styles ranging from traditional to contemporary to choose from, it would be impossible to cover them all.  I am sure we are all familiar with the traditional banker's lamp that is often placed over a piano.  I like this modern interpretation by OttLite pictured above.
I hope this has given you some ideas to tweak your work space so that you are able to work with greater ease and comfort.

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Tuesday, 27 June 2017

30 Days to Wellness Challenge Day 27: Picking the Right Office and Desk Chair for You

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At first glance, you would not think that the furniture in our homes ought to be included in our drive towards wellness.  Several years back, I was involved as a passenger in a car accident.  Cue months of physiotherapy and I soon came to realize how important it was to have furniture, especially office/desk chairs, that suited my needs.  Even though I am now recovered, I still think that proper office chairs for working long hours at a desk is a necessity.  They help support the back and legs and stave off fatigue and cramping.  The one pictured above is a gaming/racing style but don't be put off by the name of the style.  Gamers spend a lot of time in a chair so a comfortable chair is a must.  Look for terms such as "ergonomic" and "adjustable."  You want a chair that has as many adjustable features as possible so that you can customize it to suit your body.


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There are so many styles available and they need not be the stereotypical bland desk chair of old.  I like the one above as it has a mesh back so, visually, it has a lighter look.  Bonus is that the mesh back helps keeps you from feeling overheated.

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They don't have to come in standard issue black either.  This white Eames replica aluminum chair has a wonderful modern contemporary look to it.  At the very basic level, height adjustment is key.  Ask yourself whether you require head support or adjustable versus fixed arm rests, padded versus hard arm rests, fixed or adjustable back.  Functionality first, then looks.
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And this luxury executive chair by HomCom even has a retractable footrest!

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Years later, I still use my ergonomic chair every single day when working at my desk and would never dream of using any other type of chair.  So for me, I consider it another "lifetime haul purchase" that was made mindfully and intentionally.

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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!

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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!

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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?

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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.  

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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!

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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.

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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.


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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.

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