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I am so sick of being cold. Really, I am not sure why I still live in Canada (it’s not normal to live in these conditions…I am still trying to figure out why people thought it would be a good idea to settle here in the first place). However, while I am living in Canada, I need to find ways to stay warm while working out.

I love running outside, but winter can be tough. Generally I run with a friend. I start of cold, get comfortable while running, then after our run we grab a coffee. By the time I am ready to walk back to my house or car from the coffee, I have cooled down. There is nothing worse than putting on a damp running jacket before going out into the freezing cold!

That’s why when my friend showed me lulu’s down-filled running jacket, I didn’t even pause to think before going online to order it. The jacket arrived within the week and I was able to wear it before my next weekend run.

The weather today was -4 Celsius (probably not cold for most people, but freezing for me). It was just the right temperature to pull out my new down running jacket without wearing too many layers underneath. I started my run feeling perfectly comfortable. I was toasty while running (but thanks to the spandex panels under my arms, I didn’t get too hot). Then after my run, I was able to walk around comfortably without adding more layers or switching jackets.

I won’t like, as I expected, I did get many looks from other runners; runners whom I can only imagine were judging my running abilities based on my jacket. Less runners exchanged a runners wave with me as I jogged passed and I know they did not consider me a real runner (it’s for this judging…and my total klutziness…that I chose to get the black jacket over the white one). Yet I didn’t care, because I was warm! I love my down-filled running pullover from lululemon!

Aggravations: My friendly cult-like community ignoring me for not fitting the mould

Thrills: staying warm before, during, and after the run

Moral:don’t worry about what others think or say, do what’s best for you!

stay warm even on the cold Canadian runs

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Check out this website to find questions you should ask your butcher or for local, organic, and sustainable food near you. http://ow.ly/2SaXZ

$17.00 USD

A trendy way to practice fire safety.

If you’re like me, you have a moment before you leave the house in the morning when you wonder if your flat iron or curling iron is going to set your house on fire. I am always very careful to leave my flat iron unplugged and on my bathroom countertop without any fire catching hazards around it. Nevertheless, I still have to triple check to make sure everything looks safe before I leave.

My fears have subsided ever since my sister found Vera Bradley’s Curling Iron Cover. Now I can leave my house in the morning knowing my flat iron is safely stored in a heat resistant lining. Even better, I also now have an amazingly unique gift for friends and family!

The curling iron cover is a great way to safely store your hot irons whether travelling or at home. As an added bonus, these handy Curling Iron Covers come in a variety of Vera Bradley’s signature patterns.

A unique gift for yourself or friends that is both cute and practical! I have yet to find these covers with ease in Canada, but whenever I am in the States, I pick up a few to keep on hand for future gifts.

“Safety doesn’t happen by accident” – author unkown

$12.49 Canadian

Every winter I have to prepare my body for the side effects of this season.  

As the cold winds circulate the dry air and my furnace creates a moisture deprived atmosphere inside, my skin starts turning a pre-flake white before the cracking, flaking, and alligator skin comes into full force.

After years of trying all these different moisturizers claiming to give you “baby soft” skin and to help fight the “alligator skin” and after drinking my 8×8 glasses of water a day, I thought my only solace would be to wait for the summer to return at the end of each winter.

This was before I encountered Blue Mountain Soap Company’s Body Butter. One fall day last year, I watched my cousin rub a product on her daughter’s eczema prone skin with a deodorant stick. Curious, I asked her what it was. She told me that it was Body Butter from Blue Mountain Soap Company and it has done wonders on keeping her daughter’s eczema at bay (or at least under control).

Intrigued, I bought some body butter for myself. I was almost instantly sold when my package was delivered with a personalized note and a free bar of soap (off to a good start already). It, without question, took a while to get used to rubbing a deodorant stick up and down my legs (especially after it crumbled a little on the first use). However, after the first use, the body butter rounds at the tip and it glides on much easier. I used this product all winter and to my surprise (I still wonder if other factors could have been at play), my summer tan did not flake off, I did not have any cracks or scales, and my legs were smooth and itch free all winter!

I now keep about 10 sticks of body butter on hand so I can give them out as gifts (esp. to pregnant friends). The only reason I’m hesitant to give out the body butter too frequently is that if I am travelling with friends or if anyone comes over and ends up “playing” in my toiletries, I find that my body butter often stays untouched and unharmed as it is mistaken for my deodorant.

My secret winter weapon against dry skin is safely hidden (unless any of you start rifling through my toiletries).

I was once laughed at in Australia for trying to order a Venti coffee. According to the Barrista, “no one can drink that much coffee.” My guess is that she had never been to North America.

Whether your drink tea or coffee, chances are you drink one of the two at least daily.

Whether you buy your tea/coffee or make it yourself, the Planetary Designs Double Shot French Press allows you to stop buying tea bags and coffee filters, cut down on cleaning various coffee and tea makers, and even get a discount when out for a drink with friends!

My favourite part about this mug (and the reason it makes a unique gift), is the secret compartment that holds extra coffee grounds or loose tea. So now when you’re on the run and need a coffee fix, you simply drop in the coffee grounds stored in the secret compartment, add hot water and go (this comes in especially handy when, like me, you leave your mug at work and find yourself having to make it at work as opposed to at home before leaving for work).

With this mug, my drinks stay hot for a long time, I save money whether I make the drinks myself or buy them at a coffee shop, it fits easily into my car’s cup holders, and the colours make it so stylish that I get comments wherever I go – what’s not to love!

Give this gift to anyone who is stylish, enjoys having a drink in hand, or appreciates saving even a few cents on a daily basis.

$35 CDN – check out retailers at http://www.planetarydesign.us/

I have serious issues with the skinny jean trend. Skinny jeans make bending over and climbing over baby/pet gates even more difficult than in regular jeans. But even worse than that, they don’t make me look skinny – if anything, they make me look fat.

That was before someone turned me on to Yoga Jeans. My pair is made by Second Denim Co. and they are the answer to the tight jeans woes.

After buying my first pair of Yoga jeans, two things struck me right away:

  1.  I could move
  2.  I was wearing jeans that were three sizes smaller than my regular jeans!

Of course after discovering that I had miraculously lost three inches off my waist, I had to buy three pairs (one in each colour). I love these jeans because they’re so tight and they smooth and lift in all the right places. In addition to making my thighs look lean and trim, I can squat down to pick up things that I’ve dropped and even sit cross legged with ease.

Make sure to wash after purchasing with vinegar and salt to hold in the dye.

Find them in Toronto at www.shopgirls.ca or check out www.secondclothing.com for other locations

Hot purchase for kids of all ages this summer – Silly Bandz: http://www.sillybandz.com