Anxiety and the fitness studio: How I pushed through The Dailey Method’s 30-day challenge and not only didn’t die, but came out stronger

TDM barre April 13

I don’t talk about it much because I’m afraid how people react and worry that no one will want to be around me if they know, but I struggle with anxiety a lot, particularly social anxiety. (I’m still not sure I’m going to actually put this out there but if you’re reading this, well I guess I have.) And it’s not just new people and large groups that freak me out (‘tho they do) but even the prospect of getting together with a girlfriend I’ve known for years. I worry that I’m not smart enough, funny enough, interesting enough, thin enough (!) — just enough, period. I avoid more things than I try and fret obsessively in the lead-up to the things I’ve said yes to, and then overanalyze every little perceived misstep afterwards. (If I haven’t cancelled at the last minute. Which brings its own set of worries.) It’s exhausting. And isolating. I’m telling you all this because I know there’s got to be someone reading this post who can relate, someone who feels crippled by anxiety like I do, someone who really has to push themselves to try small things. If it’s you, I want you to know that you’re not alone, that you can do things even if you think you’re going to die. And you might come out the other side better for it. (You might still overthink things ’til you’re a wreck, but you might be proud of yourself too.) What do I know about it? Well I’ve spent the past month doing a 30-day challenge at a local barre and cycle studio, The Dailey Method, and as much as it was physically challenging, it was an exercise in mental and emotional toughness even more so. The Dailey Method comped me a free month in exchange for a post, and I want to share some of the things that helped me not only meet my goal, but exceed it, and come out feeling stronger all-round. As the instructors often reminded us, the mind is ready to quit long before the body. Here are some of the strategies I used to help me push on through. I hope they’ll help you too.  Continue reading “Anxiety and the fitness studio: How I pushed through The Dailey Method’s 30-day challenge and not only didn’t die, but came out stronger”

Three picture books kids will love to see under the tree + A giveaway!

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All this talk about last-minute Christmas shopping is making me anxious. To me, last-minute is just before the stores close on December 24, which means there’s still plenty of time to pick up prezzies for your loved ones. And if books are on their list (and even if they’re not, get them some!), here are three picture books sure to be a hit.  Continue reading “Three picture books kids will love to see under the tree + A giveaway!”

Minted More: A membership program for design + discount lovers

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Minted rolled out something pretty fantastic this fall that I don’t want you to miss. Especially if you’re thinking about ordering holiday cards and want to save some dollah bills. If you don’t know Minted, it’s a design marketplace of independent artists from around the world known for its gorgeous assortment of stationery, art, home decor and more. The company is  based in the US and ships to over 200 countries. Now they have a membership program, Minted More, that’ll not only give you major savings on your holiday cards, but on all your purchases year-round, PLUS an amazing box of stationery, wrapping supplies and textiles unlike any other.  Continue reading “Minted More: A membership program for design + discount lovers”

Oil try it: Saje Natural Wellness essential oils and more

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Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t yesterday’s time change supposed to give us an extra hour of sleep? I’m so tired today it’s all I can do to stay vertical. Maybe I’m just worn down. Jamesy was laid up all week and we were beside ourselves with worry ’til we finally got a diagnosis at the hospital Friday night (he’s got a fairly common autoimmune disease called Henoch–Schönlein purpura that should work itself out in a month). James was feeling better today and went to school, but this mama is fried. I’ve spent most of the day on the couch with my tea and my essential oils, watching funny cat videos on YouTube. Continue reading “Oil try it: Saje Natural Wellness essential oils and more”

Book your date with beauty: Shoppers Drug Mart Holiday Beauty Gala + Twitter party

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This Saturday November 5, Shoppers Drug Mart is hosting its Holiday Beauty Gala at stores across Canada — a fun chance to try a festive new look and support women’s cancer charities like Look Good Feel Better Canada. I’ve got a few more details about the gala and the organizations it supports here, and you can also learn more during Shoppers’ Twitter party this Thursday, November 3 at 8 pm EST. Continue reading “Book your date with beauty: Shoppers Drug Mart Holiday Beauty Gala + Twitter party”

Discover The Taste Box + A discount & giveaway!

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The Taste Box is the latest entry into the Canadian food subscription box market. Yes, another subscription box to discover! How much do we love?! Each month Toronto couple Matt and Jenni curate a unique package of food and drink products around a theme and ship it to your door. The first box shipped this month with an assortment of goodies perfect for celebrating yesterday’s World Pasta Day. Here’s a closer look at the Pasta Is Love box (sent to me to try free of charge) and a couple of notes about what’s coming up next.   Continue reading “Discover The Taste Box + A discount & giveaway!”

Our mini vacay in beautiful Mont-Tremblant

My guys are pretty happy to spend the summer riding their bikes up and down the back lane with their friends, running around at the park and (let’s not kids ourselves) playing on the Nintendo DS and the tablet, but sometimes Mama needs a change of scenery. So when my mom offered to take the three of us for a little getaway a couple of weeks ago, I immediately suggested Tremblant. In all the years we’ve lived in Ottawa we’ve only been twice and it’s just a two-hour drive away, practically on our doorstep.

tremblant adventure is waiting

The first thing we did was take the panoramic gondola up the mountain. It’s the highest view in all of the Laurentians but a pricey trip (about $70 for the four of us) so you know, not something you do all the time. Apparently you can hike it in about three hours but it would probably take twice as long with my kiddos (and honestly, I don’t have the patience!) so we took the easy way up. The candy coloured rooftops you’re seeing here are part of the charming pedestrian village where we stayed.

tremblant top of the mountain tree tops

tremblant lily and james top of mountain

We wandered around up there for a while, taking in the views and the kids climbed some rocks. There’s a cafeteria where you can grab a hot dog but we’d packed plenty of food and made sandwiches instead. (We purposefully booked a hotel room with a wee kitchen to save on meals.)

tremblant waiting for gondola

There’s another gondola at the base of the pedestrian village that you can take to the top of the shops and back down to the bottom for no charge, and we took that a couple of times a day. The ride’s all of two minutes and it’s an easy walk but my guys love it so up and down we went. The line-up to get on can be long but it moves quickly.

tremblant going up the gondola

tremblant our pool

Hey, it’s our hotel pool! We stayed at the Marriot Residence Inn, which was comfortable, reasonably priced (about $170/night after a 35% discount for 3+ nights) and included a hot breakfast buffet with make-your-own Belgian waffles, pancakes, sausages — you name it. There are several comparably priced, family-friendly hotels to choose from but my daughter especially liked the pictures of the pool when we were researching online, so that’s the one we went with. We’d happily book it again. (Bonus: next year they’re renovating.)

tremblant another view from the gondola

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tremblant musicians

We arrived on the first night of Les Rhythmes Tremblant, a 10-day music festival of free outdoor concerts each afternoon and evening. My mom and the kids took in several shows while I took some time for myself to browse the shops or relax in our room.

tremblant walking in the village

It’s such a pretty spot to walk around. We had dinner out two nights (Casey’s and Pizzateria), take-out on another (poutine from Beaver Tails) and ice cream at the popular Oh la vache!. I don’t know why I didn’t think to take any pictures, but everything was delicious.

tremblant hanging flowers

tremblant Lily and James mini golf

Two days we did 18 holes at the mini-putt, probably the highlight of the trip. And not just because all but one of us got a hole-in-one (I won’t say who, but her name rhymes with Silly), although that was part of it.

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While most of the shops and restaurants in the village appear to be thriving, this one has been closed for some time. It used to be the restaurant L’Avalanche Bistro-Lounge. Don’t you love window boxes and the shiny red roof? I could move in.

tremblant feet pool

I have some adorable pictures of my mom and the kids in the pool and going down the super fun skyline luge but we try to keep my guys’ faces off the Interwebs so you’ll have to look at my feet instead.

tremblant top of the mountain

And that view again. Just the change of scenery this mama needed.

Have you been to Tremblant? Tell me about your favourite mini-vacay!

How does it work? Garnier’s Clean+ Makeup Removing Lotion Cleanser for Sensitive Skin

I learned how to put on makeup by watching my mother, just as I learned to take it off. For years she swore by baby oil and nothing else, squeezing a generous squirt on a cotton ball to remove the blue-black mascara and eyeliner that framed her eyes. And I did too, up until a few years ago when the oil started to irritate my skin and I’d wake up in the mornings with puffy eyelids that wouldn’t deflate for hours. Since then I’ve tried a number of eye-makeup-remover products, some of them effective but way out of my budget (mine were trial-sized), others more reasonably priced that don’t work as well. So when Garnier Canada sent me its new Clean+ Makeup Removing Lotion Cleanser for Sensitive Skin (hey, that’s my skin!), I was game to test it out.

Garnier clean plus makeup remover lotion for sensitive skin

Because it’s a lotion I applied it like I would any other cleanser: on my fingers and then directly on my eyelids. (One at a time, mind you. And the directions advise you to put it on dry skin.) Before I go further, I should say that I use Benefit’s They’re Real mascara and push-up liner, which are not waterproof, but still notoriously difficult to remove. (Benefit sells a remover, but I haven’t tried it.) Because of this, I spent a good 15 seconds rubbing the product around each eyelid and on my lashes just to make sure it would come off.  I used a wet cloth to remove the cleanser completely (my makeup had disappeared! it worked!) and a cotton swab to wipe off the faint line of mascara residue along my bottom lash line. (I don’t use eyeliner under my eyes.) That done, I rubbed a dime-sized amount of lotion on my cheeks and chin to remove my blush and BB cream and again, wiped with a wet cloth.

As an eye makeup remover, Garnier’s lotion worked really well. It felt gentle to use, removed the makeup easily and didn’t irritate my eyes overnight. (My sensitive skin approves!) But as a face cleanser, it’s not my fave. My skin did feel really soft for the three days that I tried it, but I couldn’t help feeling like I needed to use a toner to remove some residue. It wasn’t greasy exactly, but I definitely felt like there was something there.

I would definitely use the lotion to remove my eye makeup over the wipes I use now. For overall cleansing however, I’ll continue to use my regular brand.

Have you tried Garnier’s Clean+ Makeup Removing Lotion Cleanser for Sensitive Skin? What did you think?

To read more reviews, click on the image below or follow the hashtag #GarnierSensitive.

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The opinions and language in this review are my own and in no way do they reflect Garnier Canada.