This Valentine’s Day Give Your Heart to a Worthy Cause

At only seven months my precious niece was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Each day she faces this debilitating and life-threatening disease with courage, strength, and a wonderful sense of humour. She is truly an inspiration and has motivated me to run my heart out for Team Diabetes, a fundraising initiative for the Canadian Diabetes Association.

This Valentine’s Day I encourage you to give your heart to a worthy cause. Put your heart and soul into a charity you are deeply passionate about.

Today isn’t only about Hallmark cards, beautiful flowers and delicious chocolates. It is about love. What’s more loving than working to make the world a better place?

This Valentine’s Day my heart belongs to my niece and Team Diabetes.

What cause will you give your heart to today? Do you already have a cause that is close to your heart? Tell me about it in the comments section below.

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Just Run

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Throughout elementary school I was pretty active. I was lucky enough to take ballet and gymnastics in the fall and winter, and play soccer in the spring and summer.  I enjoyed gym class and liked to play 21 at recess.

Interestingly, all this physical activity did not make me a strong runner.

At my school we were required to participate in track and field. When I ran track it felt like I was running through molasses with bricks tied to my sneakers. Running was absolute torture. I would’ve rather taken a trip to the dentist and had a few teeth pulled than lace up my sneakers and go for a run.

Fortunately, for myself esteem (heh) all my friends were natural runners who always managed to come in first, second and third. My friends would happily parade around school with their beautiful ribbons and I’d be hunched over with severe stomach cramps as I tried to catch my breath.

Thankfully, on Tuesday, September 5, 2000, I entered high school and I would never be forced to participate in track and field again.

Throughout high school and university I remained active by taking dance and yoga classes as well as lifting weights.

A few times in university I decided to subject myself to torture and go for a run. It still felt like I was running through molasses with bricks tied to my sneakers.

Then one night, in the summer of 2011 something strange happened. At the time I was interning for a crisis communications agency and spent my days creating media lists. As I was walking home from the office at 10:00 pm I had this insane urge to go for a run.

When I walked into my apartment I followed my feelings and immediately changed into appropriate running attire. I grabbed my iPod and took off down the street. That night I ran 5k without stopping. Many running experts and doctors would advise against this, but I just kept going. I needed to run.

This run was different from any other run I experienced in the past. I felt like I was being propelled through the air by wings that were attached to my sneakers. Running was absolute bliss. I was right where I wanted to be.

Since that night I have incorporated running into my regular exercise routine. Now, I feel clear and present when I run. It makes me feel strong and energized. It’s also a great mood booster – when I am having a bad day I lace up and just give it my all.

I have to be honest; every run isn’t a bed of roses.  However, it’s the moments during a run when I feel joyful and completely at peace that keep me coming back for more.  I am happy I gave it another shot.

Do you have an activity that you love now, but disliked as a child? Tell me about it in the comments section below.

Recharge with David’s Organic Detox and ‘90s Sitcoms

If you asked me to pick three words to describe December I’d say, “An introvert’s nightmare.”

Contrary to popular belief I am an introvert. Many close to me would describe me as an extrovert (unless you ask my boyfriend, he knows the truth). I love meeting new people and spending time with friends, but I am an introvert at heart.

No, I am not confusing extrovert with introvert. I really am an introvert because I relish my time alone. In fact, I crave it. Also, I need it, desperately, to function like a normal human being. Some people require coffee. I require alone time. I need at least one day a week, or at the very least half a day, to recharge my battery.

Setting the whole introvert/extrovert debate aside, December left very little time for me to recharge.

Like many my month was packed with holiday parties, shopping and traveling.

Now, I am not complaining. It was wonderful to catch up with friends and family, and the food was delicious.

However, by Boxing Day I was ready for a nap and two days later so was my throat. When I woke up on December 28 my throat was screaming, “I’ve had enough. You’re not going anywhere this weekend. Cancel all your plans. Don’t even try to lift your head off the pillow or you’ll be sorry.”

Naturally, I ignored my throat and did some writing. Boy was that a mistake. By the afternoon my chest was throwing a hissy fit. Should’ve have listened to my throat.

Since my throat and chest we’re both verbally attacking me I decided to do something so they’d get off my case. I cancelled my plans, downed some Robitussin and drank a steaming hot cup of Organic Detox from David’s Tea.

Shortly after, my throat and chest were fast asleep.

A few hours later I felt a slight tickle in my throat – it wanted more Organic Detox. I didn’t want my throat to get angry again because he’d yell and wake up my chest.  Without hesitation I went downstairs and poured a cup.

The tea’s ingredients, which include a delicious mix of ginger, lemon grass and juniper berries, calmed my throat.

With my throat completely chilled out, I decided to spend the remainder of the weekend in bed surfing the Internet, watching ‘90s sitcoms and drinking tea. You know just to err on the side of caution.

On Monday morning I was happy I stayed in. Come on, I must have been really sick if I thought my throat and chest were screaming at me.

Do you ever feel run down if you do not have any alone time? If so, how do you recharge? Tell me about it in the comments section below.David's Tea

Whoever Said Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend Never Loved Bogey

BogeyBogey – photos take by David Proc

Recently, while rummaging through the messy Twitterverse (I know the about search feature, but sometimes I just enjoy scrolling along to see if something piques my interest) I stumbled across a quote that deeply resonated with me, “Whoever said diamonds are a girl’s best friend never had a dog.”

After a year and a half with Bogey, a Sable German Shepherd puppy, I can confidently say I’d choose a dog over a diamond any day. With every stolen sock, rainy walk and early morning wake up call my love for Bogey grows each day. Looking after a dog is a joy.

However, there are times when it’s tough and it requires commitment, patience, and the willingness function on very little sleep (at least in the beginning).

The first few months were hard – waking up every two hours, so Bogey could go outside and do his business. I felt and looked like a zombie, especially after the first night with Bogey, when he had explosive diarrhea in my bedroom (oh puppy worms). Fortunately, Bogey was smart enough to cry to get off the bed before he unleashed the fury.

I took Bogey to the vet after Mount Tambora exploded in my bedroom. It’s heart breaking to see a sweet and innocent animal so violently ill, so I cried the entire time, naturally. The worst was when the vet told me I had to leave him overnight, he’d only spent one night with me and now he would be sick and alone.

Thankfully, with some antibiotics Bogey was feeling better and back home in no time.

A diamond may not wake you up at 3:00 a.m. with explosive diarrhea but it certainly won’t…

  • Jump for joy and wage its cute fuzzy tail when you come home from work
  • Sit on your feet and warm them up after you’ve spent eight hours in an overly air-conditioned office
  • Force you to stop your Homeland marathon to drag your lazy ass off the couch and out the door for some fresh air in the sunshine
  • Rest its head on your shoulder when you’re in tears after watching a sad documentary
  • Make strange, yet hilarious, sounds when you rub its belly

No, a diamond won’t do any of these things, but Bogey will!

The bond between Bogey and I runs deep. My love for Bogey is unconditional and I am truly thankful to have him in my life.

Oyster Obsessed

The very thought makes my mouth water. A new obsession, I am no connoisseur. Just a girl who knows what she likes. Let me tell you I like, no love, yes love oysters.

My obsession began on an ordinary Saturday night. My boyfriend and I were walking to “A-Restaurant-That-Must-Not-Be-Named” for a romantic dinner. As we approached the restaurant we noticed several people, holding signs, crowding around the door. We continued to make our way towards the restaurant when I noticed a sign that said, “HORSE MEAT ON THE MENU.” I stopped dead in my tracks and blurted out, “We can’t eat here!” For the record, I eat meat, but for many years I was a vegetarian. Do I feel good about eating meat? No. Do I love prosciutto? Yes. I am conflicted. We’ll save my moral struggle for another post. Regardless, I could not bring myself to support a restaurant that had horse meat as a dish. I love horses with their soft noses, beautiful eyes, and giant teeth. I couldn’t eat one. Some may agree with me, and some may not. Whatever your position we did not enter the restaurant.

After walking for sometime we stumbled into Rodney’s Oyster House. I had never tried oysters before, but I thought about it. Finally, I decided after turning my nose up at the first restaurant I better play it safe, so I ordered something I knew I’d like – the mussels. They were perfect by the way. However, I left Rodney’s feeling as though I had missed out on something.

Two days later I was volunteering at an event. A gentleman from Hooked happened to be shucking oysters. I thought, “This is my chance. It is now or never. Tonight I will try an oyster.” A friend who was attending the event was an oyster virgin as well and she was eager to try one. She ran over and grabbed two oysters. One for her and one for me. We gave each other a nervous look and down they went. After swallowing the tasty morsels we smiled at one another. These weird slimy things were heavenly. We went back for seconds, and we tried to go back for another round, but sadly they were all gone. It was safe to say we were hooked.

A week hadn’t even passed and I was back a Rodney’s. This time I didn’t shy away. I dove in and ordered 25 oysters. I wish I could remember what sauces I put on the oysters or where they were from, but they were so delicious I couldn’t think. I was in a state of ecstasy. The oysters disappeared in no time and I was left craving more, but my wallet told I’d had enough.

My wallet will eventually give in and I’ll be off to Oyster Boy. When I return I promise to have a full report…

Bring on the Heat

Seven years ago I attended my first yoga class. Shortly after I discovered Moksha Yoga. Those not familiar with the practise it is yoga in a heated room. I loved the challenge and the sweat running off my body. It felt cleansing, truly detoxifying. As I continued to practise Moksha I met many people who shared my love.

Then my fellow Moksha buddies told me about Bikram, also heated yoga. However, they had nothing positive to say about it. Instructors were described as drill sergeants barking orders at their officers. I understood it to be a torture chamber. It sounded horrifying and I did not understand why anyone would ever do it.

Last year I spoke to a devoted Bikram practitioner. For hours we discussed its philosophy. Long story short if you can handle 90 minuets in the room (torture chamber) you’d be less irritable with everyday annoyances. This made sense to me, so I bravely tried it with two coworkers. Guess what? I was instantly hooked. Physically I felt challenged, but more importantly I felt a deep sense of awareness and connection between my mind and body. I learned an important lesson too. Growth requires moving beyond your comfort zone, or doing things that scare you.

Bikram and Moksha are different, but have equally valuable teachings. You’ll have your preference, and you may not like either, but please do not knock it until you try it. Lucky for you Toronto has many amazing studios.

Moksha Studios:

Bikram Studios: