9 Healthful Products That I Adore

As we head into warmer spring days, I felt inspired to share with you some of my favourite finds, foodie items and all-around awesome products that have all enriched my life in different ways. Some of them help me to relax, others make me feel my best, a couple of them have improved my health and some are just for fun!

So if you are looking to treat yourself or someone you love to something special – these 9 items have the patented “Lori Wilson” stamp of approval:

1. Spoonk Mat – I’m not sure if it’s all the time I spend writing at my computer or that fact that I am getting older but I’ve noticed some persistent achiness in my lower back. A friend told me about this amazing acupressure mat so I rushed right out to buy one and it was definitely a stellar purchase. I’ll admit that having over 6000 stimulation points pressed into your body is a little uncomfortable at first but the results are well worth it. Benefits include: increased circulation, decreased pain, relaxation of sore muscles, release of endorphins, improved sleep and stress relief. My husband and I are both hooked!

spoonk 1

2. Saje Perfume – I had dinner with a few girlfriends this past winter and I couldn’t stop sniffing my friend who was seated right next to me – she smelled so darn good! (At one point I’m pretty sure she thought I was hitting on her ; ) She was wearing a pure essential oil  blend from Saje Wellness called “Stress Release” that has a lovely clean and fresh scent. Saje started in western Canada and they are committed to using pure 100% natural ingredients in their products that are all are guaranteed free of “parabens, SLS, SLES, PEGS, glycols, petrochemicals, synthetic colours and synthetic fragrances.” Plus they smell amazing!

saje

3. Joy For Beginners by Erica Bauermeister – I am a regular at our local Chapters book store and I always seek out my favourite employee whenever I visit for book suggestions. Margaret is my go-to girl and she never fails to find me something fantastic – and this book is no exception. It’s moving and thought-provoking and I still find myself thinking about the characters and their unique situations months after I finished reading the book.

joy for beginners

4. Living Libations Rose Best Skin Ever – I know what you are thinking – how the heck does Lori keep her face looking so youthful and glowy? You’d never know she was about to turn 44. Well I’m glad you asked! I’m kidding but I did luck out by inheriting good skin from my mom and grandmother. I also like to keep my skin routine simple – I can’t be bothered with tons of different lotions and potions. My go-to items are Witch Hazel toner and this incredible Rose Oil from Living Libations. It smells incredible and keeps my face fresh and blemish free.

rosebse_1

5. 100% Pure Makeup – it is incredibly difficult to find makeup that is truly clean and safe in addition to working well. I’ve tried a few brands that were guaranteed all-natural but left me looking pretty frightening – mascara running under my eye, concealer the colour of mustard and garish pink lipstick that felt like I was smearing silly putty on my lips. Not flattering! I don’t wear much makeup but for my money the cleanest and most effective brand on the market is 100% Pure. It’s a bit on the pricey side but their fruit-pigmented make-up delivers on quality and looks great on the face. Win-win. (Black Tea Mascara and Berry Blush are two of my favourites)

100% pure

6. Zazubean Chocolate– I’m pretty sure the most amazing thing I’ve learned about healthy eating is that chocolate is actually a superfood! Who knew?! However, I have come to realize that all chocolate is not created equally. Those candy bars that line the check-out aisles of convenience stores are far from super – they are full of high-fructose corn syrup, artificial ingredients and nasty chemicals. But thankfully there are brands that are committed to fair-trade practices and produce delicious organic delights that will make you forget all about that stinkin’ Kit Kat bar. My absolute favourite is Zazubean’s Smooch Bar – decadent chocolate with vanilla caramel and a pinch of sea salt. Heaven!

smooch-bar

7. Strawsome – I don’t know about you but my kids are crazy for straws. Apparently drinks just taste better when you sip them through a tube (or a piece of licorice for that matter…) But I’ve never been a fan of cheap plastic straws – I work my butt of to prepare green smoothies each morning and I hate to see them consumed through something that is made with BPA and other harmful plastic ingredients. Luckily for me I found an amazing company that makes the coolest glass straws on the planet. They come in many funky colours and designs so that we can each have our own unique straw and they come with a nifty device to keep them sparkling clean.

strawsome

8. Four Sigma Foods Mushroom Teas – Back in the fall, I had the pleasure of getting to hear the president of Four Sigma Foods give a presentation on the superpowers of mushrooms. I was absolutely blown away. Apparently these little fungi are incredible healers, immunity boosters and hormone balancers. And the “Funguys” at Four Sigma are committed to unlocking the maximum power from all of their mushroom products. Each blend is specially formulated to address specific conditions in the body and they have a mild and pleasant taste. Their new XOCO Hot Chocolate is downright sinful!

chaga

9. Headspace – Although I fully realize the positive impact meditation has had on my life, I have struggled over the years to maintain a regular practice. I will go for weeks at a time and then get too “busy” and fall completely off the wagon. This easy-to-use app on my iPhone has made all the difference in the world. I am a huge fan of creator Andy Puddicombe and his easy-going and approachable manner. Somehow he manages to make meditation accessible to everyone – no incense or fancy mat required. You can download the app for free and sample a 10-day trial and then decide if you’d like to buy the full program. I have been especially enjoying the different themed meditation sessions on creativity, anxiety and relationships.

headspace

Those are my current favs and I’d love to hear about yours! What products or services are you loving right now? How are they impacting your life? And better yet – have you got another chocolate to recommend? Please leave your suggestions in the comments.

How You Can Be 10% Happier

“What a bunch of hippy dippy baloney!”

– Lord Business (Will Ferrell) from The Lego Movie

I have always been attracted to the self-help movement. I have gone to countless lectures and read tons of books promising to help me love myself, stop worrying, solve all of my physical and mental woes, find the career of my dreams, become an amazing parent and on and on and on. Although I’ve learned lots of valuable information….to be perfectly honest – sometimes I really struggle to wrap my head around the concepts. And often there is an underlying feeling that tugs at the back of my mind – could all of this just be a bunch of crap wrapped up in fancy language?

Case in point – I’ll never forget the frenzy surrounding Gary Zukav’s  book The Seat of the Soul” after his appearance on Oprah back in the 90’s. I pretty much ran to the bookstore to buy his book and after slogging through the first chapter I grimly realized that I wasn’t going to understand a single word. No matter how many times I tried to persevere – it simply didn’t make any sense to me. Same damn thing with Eckhart Tolle – and I even took Oprah’s online course to help me out. Nothing. All I felt was very jealous of the people around me who seemed transfixed and transformed by “A New Earth“.

More recently, based on glowing recommendations from good friends, I signed up for newsletters from a few new-age self-help gurus. And you know what? Over half of the stuff I receive makes me scratch my head in confusion. Gems of wisdom like: “Only the mind decides on what it would receive and give.” “You can’t fear your way into Love, only with trust does Love blossom” and “Enjoy the in between what was and what will be.” Say what?!

But I am excited to share that I have stumbled upon quite possibly the best “self-help” book I’ve ever read. It was a stroke of good luck that I just happened to watch a video of ABC news reporter Dan Harris talking about how his on air panic attack set in motion a series of events that led him to discovering a way to become “10% Happier”. I was immediately drawn to Dan’s down to earth manner, his irreverent and hilarious skepticism and his brutal honesty about his own journey. I could relate to his struggles understanding “spirituality” and “self-help” and I liked his humorous approach to a subject matter that often takes itself far too seriously.

Click link below to watch the video: (email subscribers you may need to go to my site at http://www.lorileighwilson.com to view)

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-14350/why-i-embraced-meditation-after-having-a-panic-attack-on-live-tv-dan-harris.html

So just like my dash to the store for “Seat of the Soul“, after watching Dan’s video I made a beeline for Chapters to pick up his new book 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story”    

dan harris

Honestly – I read the entire book in 2 days! And I can say as a person who has flown through more self-help tomes than you could shake a stick at – this is definitely worth the read. It’s like having a conversation with an intelligent and witty friend as Dan shares the story of his stressful and competitive career, his ensuing drug use and his struggles with depression and anxiety. He then goes on to interview and report on the top guns in the “spirituality” industry and starts untangling their confusing and often conflicting theories. I won’t give too much away but I will share that as a result of his research, he proposes a very easy and actionable plan that has been scientifically proven to make us less stressed and happier. And it takes 5 minutes a day.

So if you are interested in becoming 10 % happier (not a bad return on investment right?) – then grab a copy of Dan’s book. I would rate it a 10 out of 10. And I promise – there’s no frilly language, hard to understand theories….or hippy dippy baloney in sight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Suggestions for Savouring The Summer

We are just over mid-way through our summer break here in Ontario and I know it sounds cliché but time really is flying by. I treasure this time at home with the kids and we’ve been enjoying a good mix of lazy days by the pool, playdates and fun family getaways (of course punctuated by a few “I’m bored’s”, toddler freak-outs and overblown sibling fights just so I don’t get too comfortable ; )

I’m planning to make the most of this last month and to be in the moment as much as possible. Trust me, this is no easy feat for a worrier like me (I’m already fretting about the fall) but I don’t want the time to disappear without savoring these long warm summer days. So for inspiration as the glorious month of August stretches out in front of us, I thought I’d share a few things that have made this summer pretty darn good so far:

1. Darien Lake– I have been vacationing at Darien Lake since I was a little girl and I still get wildly excited as our yearly summer stay draws near. It’s loud, crazy, cheesy and tacky and I enjoy every minute of it! There is nothing like a couple of days at an amusement park to make you feel 10-years old again and I love watching the kids whooping and screaming on the roller coasters and thrilling rides. And what set’s DL apart from other theme parks? A few things – a cool variety of on-site accommodations that allow you to chill in your own space, walk to the park and have a roaring camp fire at night , a wicked laser/water/music show each evening with fire works and my husbands favourite part – you can walk around the park with a cold beer in hand! Fun, fun, fun!

darien lake

2. Food Bloggers – despite my well-intentioned attempts at recipe creation, I wouldn’t actually consider myself a natural cook. And because summertime is more unstructured and easy going, I just haven’t felt inspired to whip up many new dishes and so I’ve been loving getting amazing ideas from other food bloggers. I mean seriously – some of these people are really freakin’ talented! And the food combinations and dishes that they dream up and then photograph beautifully are amazing. Check out some of my favs: Healthy. Happy. Life., Oh She Glows, Chelsea’s Healthy Kitchen, Honk if You’re Vegan, Jaclyn Desforges and Live Blissful.

health_happy_life_logo-800

3. Green Beaver Sunscreen– As a society we’ve been taught to  avoid the sun which helps our bodies naturally produce Vitamin D and  instead slather on chemical-laden lotions in hopes of reducing one type of  cancer (skin) that’s not commonly fatal. As a result, North Americans are now vitamin D deficient, which can lead to a multitude of health problems. According to the Environmental Working Group, allowing our skin 20 minutes of direct sun exposure is generally a safe practice and beyond that we should cover up, stay in the shade and eschew traditional sunscreens with questionable toxic ingredients and instead opt for “physical” sunblocks that use zinc oxide or titanium oxide as a base. In my family, we love Green Beaver brand the best.

green beaver

4. Coconut Water Lemonade– wanna stay hydrated in the summer heat? Whip up this drink in your blender to quench your thirst. It’s sour, sweet and delicious and even the kids loved it. I might also add that I slipped a shot of gin into my own glass from my latest batch and it made a lovely summer cocktail.
2 cups of coconut water, 2 cups of regular water, the juice of 4 lemons, 6 tsp of powdered stevia, a dash of sea salt and a tray of ice cubes. (1 shot of gin optional)

lemonade 2

5. Kindle App for Iphone and a few awesome reads– Thanks to a great tip from my sister, I am absolutely loving the Kindle App on my iPhone. I don’t even own a Kindle but this app allows me to buy books from the Kindle store on Amazon and then read them on my iPhone or iPad. We are smack dab in the middle of a rough sleeping patch for my little man (no napping, no more soothers, night terrors, yeesh!) so it’s super handy to have a book that I can read in the dark (the iPhone is backlit) and I’ve read some fantastic novels in the last few weeks. If you want a good read – check out The Middlesteins, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Me Before You, This Is Where I Leave You and Defending Jacob.

me before you

6. Jim Gaffigan – Mr. Universe– I was sorely in need of a good laugh recently and my husband suggested a stand-up comedy show on Netflix. We stumbled upon Jim Gaffigan’s show Mr. Universe and we honestly laughed our heads off from start to finish. He speaks to parenthood, working out, junk food and many other everyday topics in such a witty and hilarious way – it’s a must see! Check out a little clip below to get a taste of his style (email subscribers – go to www.lorileighwilson.com to view the video)

7. Traumeel, Arnica Gel and Lavender Essential Oil – summer always seems to come with a fair share of bumps, bruises, bites and tears and l like to have something on hand to ease the pain and/or the itch. I have been using the homeopathic cream “Traumeel” since my oldest was a toddler and it works so well on sore spots that we call it “magic cream”. I also love soothing Arnica Gel for bumps and bruises and a couple of drops of lavender oil on a cotton pad works wonders to remove the itch from nasty mosquito bites.

traumeel

8. Avocado Oil Potato Chips – friends popping by for a little visit at the last minute? No problem! I always keep a chilled bottle of Prosecco in the fridge and a few bags of Avocado Oil potato chips on hand to satisfy the munchies. Although these babies are far from healthy, they are a healthier option when it comes to chips and taste amazing!

avocado oil chips

9. Despicable Me 2– I have to admit that I’ve been to the movie theater to see this particular animated gem twice now and I enjoyed it both times. Even my 12-year-old found it funny and the 3-year-old sat through it without making a peep. I absolutely love the new character Lucy voiced by the hilarious Kristin Wiig and the kids got a real kick out of the crazy antics of the Minions. A great family outing for a rainy day.

despicable me

10. SloPro App– thanks to a great tip from SavvyMom, we are addicted to the free SloPro app on my iPhone that takes any video and turns it into a slow motion clip. Suddenly, cannonballs and cartwheels are much more entertaining when they are slowed down and we can laugh at each and every detail (including how funny and deep voices sound when they are slowed way down.)

slopro

I hope your August is filled with lots of family time, vacations and wonderful memories! And don’t forget to put down the camera, take a few deep breaths and enjoy the moment.

How do you savour the summer?

A Swift Kick in the Butt

“Realize you are on this Earth for a reason and the world needs that special gift that only you have.” Marie Forleo

Have you ever felt like you have a ton of potential inside that you are not able to fully actualize out into the world? Do you dream of being a writer, a pilot, an actor, an inventor, a humanitarian, an entrepreneur, a parent, a farmer, a blogger, a yogi, a chef, a teacher or a marathon runner? Have you ever started meditating, working out, creating a vision board or writing in a gratitude journal and then abruptly abandoned your plan for self-improvement? Do you feel like you are living your life to your highest potential? If you were diagnosed with a terminal illness tomorrow, how would that impact the way you live out the rest of your life? Would you take more chances? Follow a different dream? Rethink your current situation?

war of art

I recently finished reading and re-reading (and re-reading) the amazing book “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield and I have spent a lot of time pondering the questions above and thinking about what stops me from taking the necessary steps to boost my career and my life to the next level. According to Pressfield, “Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.”

Oh yes, Resistance. There were more than a few of these tactics that I could relate to including: procrastination, fear, self-dramatization, self-doubt and rationalization… to name just a few. Pressfield makes a case that every single one of us faces Resistance in some form or another and that it is literally the most toxic force on the planet.

“How many of us have become drunks and drug addicts, developed tumours and neuroses, succumbed to painkillers, gossip and compulsive cell phone use, simply because we don’t do that thing that our hearts, our inner genius, is calling us to do? If tomorrow morning by some stroke of magic, every dazed and benighted soul woke up with the power to take the first step toward pursuing his or her dreams, every shrink in the world would be out of business. Prisons would stand empty. The alcohol and tobacco industries would collapse along with the junk food, cosmetic surgery and infotainment businesses, not to mention the pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and medical professions from top to bottom. Domestic abuse would become extinct, as would addiction, obesity, migraine headaches, road rage and dandruff.” Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

He makes a very strong case for honouring your own personal calling and identifying exactly what is stopping you from answering the call. He then offers up a number of concrete ways to overcome the obstacles in your path. The most exciting thing about this book is that after reading it, I truly felt like I had some solid strategies for combatting my own Resistance and for simply getting down to work.

I honesty cannot say enough good things about this book. It is short, funny and written in an easily digestible style. It starts out with a clear definition of Resistance and all of the manifestations this enemy of creativity may take in our lives. The second half of the book is devoted to clear-cut methods for combatting Resistance like; turning pro, acting in the face of fear, accepting no excuses and asking for help. And the final section looks beyond Resistance to a higher realm of inner genius and inspiration.

If you are looking for a summer read that will make you think, challenge your beliefs and possibly move you one step closer to realizing your true potential – then pick up The War of Art.

“It may help to think of it this way. If you were meant to cure cancer or write a symphony or crack cold fusion and you don’t do it, you not only hurt yourself, even destroy yourself. You hurt your children. You hurt me. You hurt the planet.
Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.”  Steven Pressfield, The War of Art