Giving a Little Holiday Cheer

Since having kids and getting a few more grey hairs I've started to really like the idea of giving.  Now I don't mean spoiling my girls with tons of toys and gifts, but rather, giving to others...people I don't know; people who could really use a smile.

So this year I packed up a couple giant boxes for the Women's Community House.  In a previous life I used to sell clothing for a direct sales company and I had been storing a whole ton of brand new ladies clothing that I didn't know what to do with.  Sure, I sold some of it, but I ended up still having a lot of really nice clothing that I couldn't use.  When I started pulling out what I had, I couldn't believe it.  35 plus pieces of brand new clothing! We're talking jeans, jackets, shirts and more.  And then I also had some brand new accessories - jewellery and scarves.  It was a jackpot!

And then after checking out what items were in dire need I starting grabbing soaps, paper towels, toothbrushes and more.  I even found some new Christmas decorations and cards I had never even opened. What was I doing with all this stuff?  These ladies had left their homes with very little and definitely could use some necessities and a little Christmas cheer.  I tossed in a few new kids toys and diapers too.

Soon I had filled 2 big boxes and off I went to the Women's Community House.  For obvious reasons the security is tight at the shelter, but I was able to pile my donations in the lobby along with all the others.  I was quite taken aback by how much was there on a random weekday morning.  And I felt good adding my bit to the bin.

When I pulled away I was practically in tears; I was thinking about those brave women and children and thinking that if nothing else, those items might bring a smile to their faces and show them there still is some good out there.  I couldn't believe how amazing the act  ofgiving made me feel.  I felt grateful and happy and that brought a smile to my face .

Give a little; give a lot....just give and you really do receive!  Happy Holidays!


Festive Gluten-free & Vegan Cookies

Well, it's that time of year...time for baking and icing and filling your face (and your family & friends faces) with all matter of cookie goodness!  But now that I'm staying away from dairy and eggs, I've had to adjust my baking repertoire accordingly.  So I've rounded up a few super yummy gluten-free and vegan Christmas cookies that you can add to your recipe box. Enjoy!

Gluten free and vegan chocolate crinkle cookies. Recipe on theprettybee.com
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies from The Pretty Bee

Gluten-Free Vegan Candy Cane "Oreos" - Fork & Beans
Chocolate Peppermint Oreos from Fork and Beans
Paleo Guilt-Free Pecan Pie Cookies (vegan) - Allergy Free Alaska
Pecan Pie Cookies from Allergy Free Alaska

gingerbread cookie balls
No Bake Gingerbread Cookie Balls from Free People
Chai Spice Snowball Cookies from Cafe Johnsonia

What are you baking this year?  Got an awesome recipe?  How about sharing a link?!  I'm always on the look out for great cookies!


Tampon Tuesday: One Little Box & One Big Decision

Last night I had the pleasure of finally attending my first Tampon Tuesday!  Yup, it's a thing! And oh what a great thing it is!

What is Tampon Tuesday?

Well, here's a little history lesson:

In an effort to support the annual Spring Food Drive, CTV London toured the London Food Bank in March, 2009. CTV London’s Community Relations Coordinator Mandi Fields noticed that there were no feminine hygiene products in the non-food item cupboard. Jane Roy, Executive Director of the London Food Bank explained that people simply do not think to donate them.

The next month, CTV London created “TAMPON TUESDAY”.

Over 20 women attended the first Tampon Tuesday event on April 7, 2009 – they donated one package of feminine hygiene products, enjoyed free food courtesy of Jack Astor’s and discovered an interesting new way to network their business. Due to the response we have been meeting monthly ever since!
To date, over 15000 boxes of product have been donated!

TAMPON TUESDAY is a unique way to gather with women in our community to network & help women in need. Admission - 1 Box of Feminine Hygiene product.  What a great idea!

So my friend Shannon of Sweet Stella's and I grabbed our Tampons and headed out to meet some great ladies.  The speakers this month were Alyssa Jarvis from the Business Cares Food Drive and our new friend Shauna Stewart, Community Director of Forest City Road Races.  

Mandi Fields from CTV introducing Alyssa and Shauna

The evening was filled with food, fun and lots of good laughs...oh yeah and lots of Tampons! I loved listening to Alyssa and Shauna speak about their community organizations and what they do and how we can help. And after listening to Shauna talk about FCRR and all the help they have provided to the Thames Valley Children's Centre and various other organizations I found my self trying to hold back a tear or two. 

It was at that moment when I decided I needed to do something.  I was recently chosen to be one of FCRR's Ambassador's and I have been waffling on what race to do in April. So many questions and hesitations...10k? Half Marathon? Can I do it? What about my injury? 21k is far! But after hearing Shauna speak about all the great things FCRR does and hearing from other FCRR supporters about the event and the sense of community and support I decided to stop making excuses.  

Half Marathon here I come!

In case you didn't know, Forest City Road Races is 100% volunteer and all the proceeds go back to the community.  Your race registration fees go straight to the Thames Valley Children's Centre and you can also choose the organization you wish to raise funds for!  There are 25 different organizations that you can pick from and FCRR will send your money right to the group of your choice.  How amazing is that?!

So I just want to say a big thank you to Tampon Tuesday and Shauna for helping me realize that I CAN do it!  You can learn more about Tampon Tuesday here and if you want to join Forest City Road Races click here(and you don't have to be a marathoner to join! There's a Fun Run, 5k, 10k and Half Marathon) 



Finding My Balance {pHenOH 7.4 Sports Drink Review}

The Holidays are fast approaching and I find this time of year it's easy to get wrapped up (no pun intended) in all the Christmas magic and to forget about taking care of yourself.  And I admit I am guilty of this! So what I've been trying to do is maintain balance...with my body, my mind, my family and well... life in general.

 But how do I do that?!
  • I balance my diet by making sure to eat lots of fruits and veggies to make up for any Christmas treats I indulge in.  Don't deny yourself a few little goodies, just make sure you balance out all the sugar with some greens and nutrient dense foods.
  • I balance my mind and spirit by making sure to schedule some time for quiet.  Whether it's a warm bath, reading a book or heading out for a run.  Sometimes you just need to shut things off for a bit and enjoy a little peace.  And with all the festivities, family and friends visiting this time of year, I find it absolutely necessary to keeping my sanity.
  • Keeping my family balanced can be tricky.  The kids are all about Santa and Christmas and presents and cookies!! So I try my best to let them enjoy the season but also work in some good old fashioned fresh air and exercise to combat the Christmas crazies.  A walk in the woods, playing at the park or looking at Christmas lights helps everyone to wind down and just enjoy the season.

On top of all this I've also had some help from Phenoh 7.4.  What's that you ask? Well, Phenoh 7.4 is a paleo-friendly drink made with JUST 7 natural ingredients each playing an important role in promoting health and wellness.  Phenoh 7.4 is made with the finest organic Aloe Vera, sweetened with naturally low glycemic organic agave nectar, and is high in potassium with no added sodium.  Phenoh 7.4 is also fortified with magnesium and vitamin C to promote healthy metabolism and help build a strong immune system. At just 30 calories per 8oz serving, Phenoh 7.4 is your healthy beverage alternative to sports hydration and everyday refreshment.

I've grabbed one of these delicious drinks as a post-run boost and even just as a mid-afternoon hydrating pick-me-up.  Phenoh 7.4 has a nice light taste without being overly sweet and I've found it works great for quenching my thirst.  I also love that it's not packed full of sugar and that it's alkaline so that I'm not adding any more acids to my diet, especially this time of year when we're surrounded by all those sugary treats. 

What's the big deal about pH anyway?

Well, your body functions best if it's slightly alkaline or having a pH about 7.4. Most of us have diets that fall more on the acidic end of the scale.  Things like sugar, coffee, alcohol and processed foods all make our bodies more acidic and that can leave us more susceptible to some unpleasant things.  Parasites, yeasts, toxins and even cancer cells prefer and acid environment so that can mean we end up with more illnesses and inflammation.  Yuk! But by keeping our diet on the alkaline side we can help avoid some of these diseases.  

So whether you're working out hard or just trying to make it through those busy holiday days, Phenoh 7.4 is a great natural way to boost your energy and help keep you balanced.


Disclaimer  This post is sponsored by pHenOH 7.4 through my Ambassadorship with Fit Approach. As always, the opinions and view expressed are my own.


Blueberry Vanilla Chia Overnight Oats #Glutenfree #Vegan

Want a quick and delicious breakfast that you can prepare the night before in just minutes? Then you gotta try my Blueberry Vanilla Chia Overnight Oats! They are so simple and delicious you'll want them every morning.

Blueberry Vanilla Chia Overnight Oats


1 cup Oats
1/3 cup Chia Seeds
1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
1/2 - 1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 - 1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (optional)
1.5 cups Non-Dairy Milk (I used a mix of Soy and Coconut/Almond)
1 tbsp Pure Vanilla Extract
2 tsp Flax Oil (optional)
1/2 - 3/4 cup Blueberries (fresh or frozen)


In a large mason jar or container with a leak-proof lid add all your ingredients together except for the blueberries.  Put the lid on and shake your booty...and your jar until everything is well mixed. Then divide into  2 containers (with lids) and top with blueberries.  Seal your jars or containers and place in the fridge overnight.

And just like that you have breakfast for the next morning.  The recipe makes 2 servings and is packed with loads of great nutrients.  You'll feel good and full from all the Chia and protein and if you add the Flax you'll get some great Omega-3's.  What a great start to the day!

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