Wednesday, 19 December 2012


With the holidays upon us, I've noticed a lot of my favourite (lifestyle) bloggers* publishing their annual gift guides for him, her, and whoever else. Whether you're short on ideas for what to get that guy who has everything or you're just the worst at coming up with gift ideas period (like me), these gift guides are not only a great source for what to get that special someone, but a fantastic way for bloggers to showcase new and upcoming products.

That said, instead of come up with a list of my favourite gift ideas, I wanted to do something a little different. Like I said, I'm not the best gift-giver. Just ask R. I tend to get things that people need and not the things that they want (it's a bad habit, really).

In addition to holiday gift guides popping up in magazines and on websites, it's also that time of year when we start to list the bests of the past 12 months, whether they're songs and celebrity gossip or trips and Twitter trends.

I wanted to share with you some of my bests for 2012.

Let's face it. Amidst the chaos that is the holidays, we could all use a little more (self) loving. Invest some time and care, and treat yourself this holiday season with some of – or all of – my 2012 bests of health & wellness products:

1. Bamboo Bristle Brush, $3-4
For a healthy glow all year long, there's nothing more that you need than a good ol' brush! It's only within the past year that I've become a fanatic about moisturizing and preserving the youth of my skin. However, one trick that I've been using all year and now swear by is dry brushing (with a brush, just like the one linked above). And let me tell you, it makes the world of difference. When I used to only moisturize, I found that most lotions would either sit on the surface of my skin or that I would need more than an adequate amount of moisturizer in order to experience even minimal results. After dry brushing for almost a year now, I find that (1) I need less moisturizer and/or to moisturize less often, and (2) the overall feel and appearance of my skin is softer, fresher, and healthier. For maintenance, I dry brush three times a week. Not convinced? Read more about the benefits of dry brushing here.

2. GT's Synergy Kombucha, about $4 per bottle
I've known about kombucha for a while now, but only tried it for the first time this past summer. And, oh my gee. I love this stuff. Not necessarily for its somewhat unusual taste, nor its price tag...but for how good it makes me feel! Now, I realize that GT is a brand of pre-bottled kombucha (you can also make your own at home), so I'm not so much as recommending this brand as I am kombucha, in general. The whole kombucha tradition has some history behind it, and there's a science to why it's good for us...but simply put, it's known to be a natural detoxifier of sorts. If you've never tried the stuff, I highly suggest doing so. While I was hesitant at first (it's fermented what?), I now long for this super drink. It is a bit on the pricey side (for me, at least) to consume regularly, but I swear that once you try it, there's no going back again, not because of how it tastes, but because of how it makes you glow from the inside out.

3. J.R. Watkin's Natural Apothecary Lavendar Hand Cream, $9
This is a find from later this year, as in the past couple of months. As I mentioend before, only recently have I become obsessed adamant about moisturizing. I now despise dry skin. While I've always been fairly satisfied with the body lotions that I've used (St. Ive's, Aveeno), I've never really been happy with hand creams that I've tried. They always turn out greasy or oily, or aren't long-lasting. This formula by J.R. Watkin's is awesome. You need very little for soft and supple hands. It's not greasy or sticky, and comes in a variety of scents. My favourite is lavendar! PS. I know I said this wasn't a gift guide, but what a great stocking stuffer this would make!

4. Nutiva Coconut Oil, $12
You may already be familiar with my love for coconut oil and/or what seems to be an infinite number of uses for this yummy stuff. Within the past year, I've enjoyed coconut oil in place of butter or other oils in recipes and as an overall body moisturiser. More recently, though, I've come to love coconut oil as a hair treatment. Once a week, I like to deep condition my hair by combing a small amount of coconut oil through it. I will then pin my hair up and rest for 15 minutes or so, at which point I will shower and shampoo my hair. Since starting this regime, my hair is shinier and softer.

5. Pukka Teas, $4-5
Delicious, soothing teas and pretty packaging? These teas might as well be lipstick for the make-up lover. I won't lie. What first drew me to the Pukka Teas brand is the cute, patterned packaging that popped out amidst tens of other brands of teas. But, what has kept me coming back for more are the brand's delicious blends. My favourites are Three Ginger, Relax, Revitalise, and Cleanse.

What are your favourite health and wellness finds for 2012?

*See sidebar for my some of my favourite links!

images via poppy's naturally clean, max wellness, happy healthy belly, and pukka herbs

DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist, physician, or any kind of health professional. Everything that you find on my blog is based on my own knowledge and opinion. If you require specific health and fitness advice, please seek a qualified health professional.

Monday, 17 December 2012


Whether you're traveling this holiday season and leaving your usual exercise regime behind, or you've worked so hard at the gym in the past few months that you don't want to fall off the bandwagon in between bites of chocolate truffles and eggnog turkey and stuffing...or you're just looking for some new moves to help get you beach-ready for your annual winter vacation, I wanted to share some of my favourite lower body exercises to keep you in top shape this season. These moves are great for taking on the road, or for anytime you may find yourself without a workout class or fitness equipment.

As you may know, I'm a forever-fan of squats and lunges, but keep in mind that there are a number of different variations for both of these exercises (not to mention tons of other lower body moves that are probably as equally effective). Whether you're working towards strengthening your leg and glute muscles or just looking for a little extra toning, here are eight moves that I highly recommend:

Side Lying Leg Raises

Sliding Side Lunges

Try This: Depending on the exercise, you can also pick up your pace to increase your workout intensity (for example, jump squats and sliding side lunges). 

Without the use of weights/resistance, I recommend completing enough repetitions of the given exercise/s to the point at which you exhaust the muscle.

If you do have access to dumbbells, add weight to any of these exercises to make it more challenging!

For more, check out my Lower Body Blast 500 workout.

image via google

DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist, physician, or any kind of health professional. Everything that you find on my blog is based on my own knowledge and opinion. If you require specific health and fitness advice, please seek a qualified health professional.

Monday, 3 December 2012


Hi, everyone! First, I wanted to mention that I wrote a guest post for my friend and instructor, A's, blog the other day. The post is called Paleo Confessions and it's about my experience during the Whole30 (and now, my transition to Paleo), and any challenges that I've encountered. My goal with writing the post was to reveal some truths about my own struggles with diet – many of which my own friends and family have a difficult time believing.

Aside from that, I just wanted to share one of my favourite finds as of late. On my former blog, I used to have a weekly series called WE LOVE. Some weeks, I'd list off an array of favourites that would include anything from home decorating to fashion trends. Other times, a unifying theme. Or, I'd even showcase a favourite celebrity (a chef was ideal). 

In keeping with the WE LOVE series, I wanted to share with you a fabulous website that I came across thanks to blogger and YouTuber, Cadie. The site is called Vitacost, and it's an amazing on-line shopping resource for all your healthy living needs – everything from vitamins and supplements to beauty and home products (and at fabulous prices!).

Now, I haven't actually purchased anything from the website yet, so perhaps I shouldn't be hyping it up so much – but I couldn't resist! There are a few products that I have been meaning to try and have either not been able to easily find here in Toronto, or have found them but not been able to convince myself to fork over the extra dough to pay for them. Vitacost sells a  lot of recognizable brands and for great prices. 

I'm about to place an order, so I'll let you know what I truly think about Vitacost when that product arrives on my doorstep. But for now, check it out for yourself!

Do you know of any other great on-line resources to purchase health and wellness products?

image via cupcakes omg

DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist, physician, or any kind of health professional. Everything that you find on my blog is based on my own knowledge and opinion. If you require specific health and fitness advice, please seek a qualified health professional.