New Year’s Resolutions 2016

Inhale

As I look back over 2015, I am pretty happy with the year. My business did better then it ever has and I have more focus for 2016 in regards to that.

I travelled a lot, both with my family and without. Mike and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary in Kona, Hawaii which was a dream destination for me. I visited Cancun with my entire family thanks to my Dad; we went to Whistler a few times, Seattle, Bainbridge Island, Osoyoos, BC in the Okanagan, Harrison Hot Springs, Las Vegas with just Mike and then Turks & Caicos with my sister, Klaudia. Travel solely for work included Toronto, Sturgeon Fishing in the Fraser Valley and Montreal which were all fun and interesting experiences.

But there is always room to improve, so I am documenting my New Year’s Resolutions here.

Make Being Active a Habit.

I’m not a fan of exercise. I have never been. But this past Fall I got my sh*t together and did the elliptical for 2km everyday (or nearly) for six weeks straight. It didn’t change the number on the scale but it made me feel good, like an outlet for stress, like I keep hearing it’s supposed to do. I want to get back on this bandwagon for my health. (And let’s face it, I’d love to lose these holiday pounds in the process!)

Eat Healthy.

I always go through periods of eating well and then eating whatever I want (read: fast food burgers, ice cream etc) for a while. In the New Year, I’d like to make it more healthy, less junky for the majority of the day. I’m a lover of “everything in moderation”, I just need to get back to that again – more moderation.

Work 8 hour Days.

With the girls all in school full-time I can work about five-ish hours per day, but I need to get back to working after they go to sleep at night or fitting in some focus time somewhere else. Some days it’ll be at 6am and some days at 8pm.

Read. Every day.

I used to love to read. Somewhere over the past few years I gave it up for TV or work and I want it back. Reading fiction for relaxation and non-fiction for growth is a priority for me this year.

Create.

I plan to make time to colour, make something or meditate every day.

Happy New Year and CHEERS to 2016!

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It’s EB Awareness Week, and My Feet

This is most definitely not a Pinterest-worthy post, nor will it be featured on my Instagram feed or promoted visually. I struggled with adding the photo below all week. I love pretending I’m totally normal. I wear heals when I can, I love fashionable shoes and boots. Generally I can hide my condition pretty well.

Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) is a rare genetic skin disorder that causes blisters from friction. We develop painful blisters from shoes, walking, clothing, driving, cleaning, standing around, sitting around, pretty much anything that can rub the skin.

I grew up being defined by this. Everyone at school, my church, and extended family knew me as the little girl with blisters.

As an adult I refuse to be labeled by it and try NOT to be different in any way. I don’t want my daughter to be either. (One of my three daughters has it, I had a 50% chance of passing it on with each child)

Which is why I don’t often talk about it publically.

  • It is a genetic disease
  • We have the Simplex form of it
  • Simplex improves with age, which is why I look a lot less affected than Nya
  • It is not contagious
  • Yes, it can be very painful
  • Heat makes it worse, it’s generally a lot better in the colder months
  • There is no cure
  • It is very rare
  • There are currently charitable organizations in many countries around the world called DEBRA.
  • The organization dEBra Canada provides resources and assistance to Canadian families with the disease.
  • In Canada we currently have no research projects for EB underway
  • There are research projects currently happening in the US and Europe

Nya is almost 12. She’s a total trooper, she deals with pain every single day. This is the first school year she’s been able to wear something other than slippers every day at school. She has a custom wheelchair coming soon for those times we want to walk through the mall, go to a Fair or other heavy walking activities. In fact she’ll probably use it (we have a loaner right now) tomorrow for Trick’or’Treating. But on the upside, she refuses to be defined by it – as she plays on the volleyball team for the second year in a row. She blows me away!

This is what my feet look like right now under my boots and socks. This is pretty sore for me (due to a trip I just took), but they will heal and should stay fairly clear for the winter.

my feet

A wise woman (whom I don’t know personally), Cameron Reeves Poynter posted this on Facebook today and it resonated with me for the most part. Although I have to say I have never thought of it in the way she says “But it’s also beautiful”.:

Someone told me it’s National Epidermolysis Bullosa Awareness Week this week and encouraged me to post something about it. I didn’t know what to share. I don’t have pictures of our blisters (you’re welcome). I don’t have pictures of the guttural sobs that come from my boys. I don’t have a picture of my husband carrying an 8 year old to the bathroom because he can’t walk. I don’t have a picture of loneliness from things we miss out on because of a genetic disease that no one has ever heard of.

I don’t have a picture of what pain feels like.

Even if I did have those pictures, I wouldn’t share them. Not because they’re ugly or agonizing. But because they wouldn’t be the whole picture.

Yes this is a terrible disease. And yes it’s hard. But it’s also beautiful.

Because of it, I had to learn how to be independent at a very early age. I had to learn to be comfortable with being different, with being myself. And although it was painful, it made me stronger. It made me confident. It made me empathetic. It made me appreciate the friends who would hang back and sit on the sidelines with me. It made me understand that what a person looks like from the outside is only a fraction of their story. It made me who I am. And I hope it will do the same for my boys.

And that’s not such a bad deal after all.

For more information and to donate go to www.debracanada.org

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Destination: Whistler, BC

Pin Whistler

Where

Whistler is about an hour and a half drive North of downtown Vancouver, British Columbia on the Sea to Sky highway. There are various shuttle services and rental cars available in Vancouver and at the Vancouver International Airport.

IvyinWhistler

When

We’re not a ski family so I love it in the summer time. The weather is hot, dry, gorgeous, and there is plenty to do up there. In the Winter, as you know, there are a myriad of snow activities! (pictured: the day we did the Peak 2 Peak with the girls for the first time was rainy and quite cool)

Stay

The Fairmont Chateau Whistler is a classic hotel. It’s welcoming lobby is the perfect gathering spot, the outdoor Mallard Lounge ideal for a night cap with space for the kids to roam in large grassy ‘backyard’, and the indoor/outdoor pool area large and welcoming.

Fairmont Pool

Eat

Grab a Maple Bacon Donut from the Portobello cafe inside the Fairmont Chateau, treat yourself to a steak dinner at Hy’s and try the chocolate bar and a warm Milk & Honey cocktail in the Mallard Lounge inside the Fairmont Chateau.

river

 

Do

The Adventure Zone in the Upper Village at the base of Blackcomb offers family fun including the luge ride, go karts, bungy-trampolining and more. The Peak 2 Peak is the record breaking gondola that spans from the peak of Blackcomb to the peak of Whistler mountains.

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Why the Minivan Wins The Family Vehicle Wars

Minivans Rule

It’s a well-known fact that many moms and dads would prefer to drive a cooler sport-utility-vehicle (SUV) over a minivan. I, however, have always been a huge fan of the minivan and I will tell any parent why I think it makes so much more sense than an SUV for my family; for any family.

Not only is it more spacious, but it’s also just as fast, offers lower cost of ownership, and ensures safety as well as any family vehicle can.

I wrote an article over at She Buys Cars about the eight reasons why I love minivans.

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5 Chrome Extensions Every Blogger Needs

Are you a blogger? Do you use Chrome? You should be.

When you get Chrome, do some exploring in the extensions (in the Window menu, select Extensions).

“Chrome Extensions are small software programs that can modify and enhance the functionality of the Chrome browser.”

The icon of the extension appears on your browser toolbar once you’ve installed it within your Chrome as shown here:

 

google chrome extensions

Here are five extensions you must install immediately.

5 Chrome Extensions Bloggers Need

Google Analytics

Did you already know about the Google Analytics Chrome Extension? It will change your life, I guarantee it.

What this extension does is allow you to find out your statistics on ANY page on your website. Simply by clicking the button while you’re on the post you want to view stats for. No more searching for specific post URLs in Google Analytics’ dashboard. It will look like this along the top of your screen:

google analytics

Hootsuite

You can share and schedule tweets (and other social network shares) directly from your post. Yes, all you do is click the little Hootsuite button in your browser and schedule from there. It inserts the Hootsuite ow.ly link automatically for you (linking to the page you’re on when you click the Hootsuite button).

Social Analytics

You can view social shares (Facebook, Twitter, etc) for any website or page on the internet, again like the Google Analytics extension – it’s a game changer. Especially if you’re tracking any site in addition to your own.

Grammarly

This extension checks your spelling and grammar on all sites you visit. Facebook, writing a blog post, crafting a tweet or email – all of it. It will underline spelling and grammar errors for you always – no need to spell check or worrying about sending an email with terrible grammar in your next big pitch.

Pinterest

The Pinterest extension allows you to pin to your carefully curated boards at any time from any site. Simple as that!

So are you using Chrome yet? Get to it!

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Blush Fun

I was inspired by this very pretty Dior polish that my sister-in-law Shari recently recommended. It made me want to find more pretty blush.

This colour is perfect for September’s pre-Fall weather.

blush for cp.com

 

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Instagram for Tween Girls

Instagram for tween girls

I will start this off by saying that legally your child needs to be 13 to have an Instagram account.

You may be wondering when to say yes (or if you should) to your child asking for an Instagram account.

Instagram is a photo sharing social networking site. Girls are using it to publicly declare friendships, as a “barometer of popularity”, shame and bully, and as a result, it can affect self-esteem.

If you decide to let her have an Instagram account…

Two Safety Tips

  1. Make the account private and ensure they know all of their requested followers in real life before approving them.
  2. Have their location services turned OFF (in Settings) so people cannot track their location or contact them by searching photos by location proximity. Yes, that’s a thing.

When Should Your Child Be Allowed To Join Instagram?

When do you say yes? How do you know?

I don’t think there is a specific age or formula for deciding this. I think, as with all parenting decisions, every family will have unique decision-making factors and will make the appropriate choice for their child.

When my daughter asked me for the first time, she was 10. I told her she would have to show me 5 accounts of people she knew on Instagram that she would be following before I would let her join.

It took several months before she had those five accounts to show me, so that worked. Yay for the delay!

When she finally showed me those accounts I was pleased to see innocent accounts of girls and boys from her grade at school showing pics of pets, food and fun.

Things To Watch For

There is more than innocent photos of pets and the occasional lipstick selfie to Instagram. Unfortunately. It is often used to measure one’s own popularity, public displays of affection or friendship fall-outs. This article scared me into watching more closely what Nya is up to on Instagram.

Quizzing

A lot of kids have a link to a quiz as her bio link. What you find when you go through their quiz is really a question of ‘how well do my friends know and like me’. The boys are also doing this. I’m not saying this is necessarily a bad thing, but I wonder about how it makes a child feel when either nobody takes their quiz, or even their closest friends aren’t answering the questions about them correctly.

Publicly Declared Friends

A list of initials within one’s Instagram bio page is very common. It may look like a cryptic or random use of the account owner’s description, but it is actually a way to declare one’s tightest group of friends by listing their initials for everyone else to see. This also means that when a disagreement or fall-out occurs, someone’s initials get deleted. Imagine how hurtful it is to have a group of friends publicly dismissing a member of the group. Girls can be mean.

Rating

Girls often post ‘Rate Me’ type images that encourage likes based on how people view them; for example “4 likes = okay 6 likes=decent 8 likes= pretty 10 likes = cute …. ” you get the picture. It’s horrid to think that our girls are defining their beauty by how many likes an Instagram image will get. I encourage my daughter to understand that this is not reality, only a fun game.

Stay In Touch With Her In Her Space

Every parent is going to handle it all slightly different. Watch your children’s social networks for ‘mean girl’ behaviours and ask them how it’s making them feel on a regular basis.

I would not let my girls use a social network that I am not active on myself.

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