Embracing (and my big boobs)

Last night, I had the honour of co-hosting 250 people at a special community screening of the documentary Embrace. It was a truly magical event. All of us came together to share the positive energy in the room and to soak in Taryn’s message of body acceptance.

Embrace movie poster

250 is a big number – but it would be wonderful if the message could spread out to reach a wider audience. And the good news is that EMBRACE is now available to watch on Netflix and to download on iTunes – so you can gather up your family and friends and watch the movie in the privacy of your own home!

I had the privilege of opening the evening with a personal story and I thought I’d share it with my readers:

For those of you who don’t know me – my name is Lori Wilson and I want to welcome you here tonight and thank you for supporting this event.

Before we get started, I want to share a little story:

A few months ago, I hopped out of the shower and I scooted into my bedroom with nothing on but a towel around my hair. My teenage daughter just happened to by lying on my bed watching TV and she turned to look at me. Her eyes scanned me up and down and her mouth fell open – “Oh my god mom!” she started.

I braced myself. How was she going to finish that sentence? Was she going to comment on my blubbery belly? Was she going to gag at my saggy butt or my dimply thighs (that definitely don’t have the obligatory gap between them). Was she going to use the dreaded f-word….FAT! I stood there totally vulnerable.

 I steeled myself in the moment and waited for what was coming. My daughter said – “Oh my god mom! Your boobs are huge! I wonder if mine will be that big one day too?” And she turned back to her tv show.

 I had to chuckle to myself. My boobs! She looked my body up and down and her only comment was on my boobs.

I realized two things in that moment. One – when my daughter looks at me – she isn’t seeing the glaringly imperfect person I’ve constructed in my own mind. She is seeing her mom – a woman with big boobs apparently.

And two- despite the fact that I am passionate about promoting healthy body image, I devour whatever reading I can get my hands on on the subject and I preach it to my kids – if I’m being perfectly honest, I am still deeply unhappy with my body. I catch myself hating how my pants fit or cringing when I pass a mirror. Or recoiling with horror when I go to take a picture with my iphone and the camera is pointed right at me!

And having talked with many of you – I know I’m not alone. I think I could comfortably speak for all of us in this room in saying we all know that we should be accepting, but we have a long way to go in making that shift happen.

That is why we wanted to share this film with you. We want to start that shift in our own mindsets and we want to support this shift happening for our friends, family members and all the females in our lives.

And though one movie might not fix the years of reprogramming that we likely need, it’s a great place to start. 

Enjoy the film! Let’s Embrace!

*If you are interested in building upon a local EMBRACE community – email embracelori@gmail.com to be added to our mailing list.

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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.

The Student Becomes The Teacher

Hello my name is Lori and I am addicted to taking courses. I love learning (yep – former brown-noser here ; ), I’m curious about new ideas and I am almost always game to try something new. Just to give you an idea of what I am talking about, in the past year alone I have taken classes in: Voice-Over Animation, Democratic Parenting, Culinary Nutrition, Business Development, Meditation, Vegetarian Cooking, Writing, Wine Tasting, Vision Board Making and Yoga.

I have even gone so far as to get certified in a few of these endeavours. But although I am an eager student, I haven’t yet found the confidence to step into the role of teacher. If I’m being completely honest, I always find one excuse or another to convince myself that I am just not ready. That voice in my head keeps chattering away about the fact that I’m not educated enough or I don’t know as much as other people or that no one will be interested or that I don’t look the right way or act the right way or eat the right way or live my life the right way. It’s paralyzing quite frankly.

icarus deception

On the advice of a friend of mine, I recently purchased marketing entrepreneur Seth Godin’s book “The Icarus Deception” and I had a total break through. In his book, Seth challenges readers to look at their work as art and to approach each day as artists. There were so many light bulb moments for me while reading this book that I had to go back and read it twice so that they would sink in. Perhaps the section that resonated the loudest was called “Pick Yourself”:

“Authority? You want authority to create, to be noticed, and to make a difference? You’re waiting for permission to stand up and speak up and ship? Sorry. There’s no authority left. Oprah has left the building. She can’t choose you to be on her show because her show is gone……Our cultural instinct is to wait to get picked. To seek out the permission, authority, and safety that come from a publisher or a talk-show host or even a blogger who says ‘I pick you’…..Once you realize that there are problems waiting to be solved, once you realize that you have all the tools and all the permission you need, then opportunities to contribute abound. The opportunity is not to have your resume picked from the pile but to lead…..when we buckle down, confront the lizard brain and ship our best work, we’re becoming the artists we are capable of becoming. No one is going to pick you. Pick yourself.”

Seth Godin, The Icarus Deception

Hold on a minute – what would it look like if I treated some my interests and passions as art? Then perhaps all of those things that stop me in my tracks – my flaws and imperfections and vulnerabilities – would transform into the very things that make me relatable and human and artistic (dare I say it?) a good teacher.

So I decided throw myself out there and be brave. I contacted a huge company in the US and offered up my skills as a voice over actress…and they hired me! I used a coupon to book some studio time, warmed up my rusty singing voice and recorded my very own CD..and it was a blast!

And I decided to step up from behind my desk and start teaching some of the incredible knowledge I’ve learned over the past 6 1/2 years as a plant-based foodie and the past 4 months as a student of the Culinary Nutrition Expert Program…and I didn’t die! Quite the opposite actually – it was so much fun. I whipped up a green smoothie, fresh almond milk, fresh granola, quinoa salad, rice noodles with cream sauce and chocolate caramels and the crowd went wild. Well not wild per say but everyone seemed to have a great time. Was it perfect? Heck no! But we all laughed and drank and ate and learned from each other.

lori kitchen

Did that annoying voice in my head speak up during my first class? You bet your ass it did! But I drowned it out with the sound of my Vitamix whirring up a smoothie and I kept right on going. Because I’m an artist gosh darn it and I’m finally ready to teach.

*GTA friends – I still have spots available in my April & May plant-based cooking workshops if you’d like to come to my kitchen to see an artist at work : )  I’m teaching about All-Natural Beauty in April and Liquid Nutrition in May. If you are interested – respond in the comments and I’ll send you all the details.

 

 

5 Healthful Gift Ideas for Father’s Day

It’s time to celebrate the wonderful men in our lives – dads, grandpas, uncles, husbands, brothers and friends. This coming Sunday is Father’s Day and I’ve rounded up a few of my favourite manly items to make your gift giving a little bit healthier. Here is my top 5 list that will make your special dad glow on the inside and on the outside-

1. Herban Cowboy Cologne: There is just something so darn attractive about a great smelling man! I grew up breathing in the familiar scent of Old Spice on my grandpa and the sweet aromas of Hai Karate and Drakkar Noir on my dad. But studies done by the Environmental Working Group have identified over 500 synthetic ingredients in perfumes and colognes- and these hazardous chemicals have been linked to everything from allergic reactions to central nervous system damage. (Plus artificial fragrances have always made my husband sneeze out of control.) Luckily the good folks at Herban Cowboy have come up with a wonderful smelling all-natural cologne that is safe to use and lovely to inhale. It definitely ups the sexy factor!

herban cowboy

2. Varidesk Standing Desk: “Can sitting for too long really kill you?” This was the title of an eye-catching article in a recent edition of Canadian Living Magazine. “According to Mark Tremblay, the director of the Healthy Active Living and Obesity (HALO) Research Group at the CHEO Research Institute in Ottawa, Canadian adults spend, on average, three-quarters of their waking hours each day sitting or reclining.” And all of this sitting is resulting in a wide variety of aches and pains, diabetes, heart disease and even death. So what is a viable solution? The incredible Varidesk is reasonably priced (around $300), can be set on top of your existing desk and “boosts circulation, improves posture, reduces risk of disease and improves overall health.”

varidesk

3. Book – my dad is a real thinker and he instilled a genuine love of learning in both my sister and I. He brought us along to seminars given by Og Mandino and Zig Ziglar when were quite young and shared with us the principles of some of his favourite motivational teachers including Dale Carnegie and Bob Proctor. Even today, his bookshelves are overflowing with books about optimism, leadership and positivity. Why not hit up your local book store and find an inspiring read for your dad? Here are a few goodies that I’ve nabbed from my dad’s collection- The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman and How To Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie.

dale carnegie

4. Beer – ok so beer might not be the “healthiest” thing on the planet but if the men in your life are anything like the men in my life – then they like nothing better than to kick back with a cold brewski. And if your guy plans to indulge (in moderation of course) then you should treat them to a Mill Street Organic. This craft beer is proudly brewed in Canada and is “Ontario’s first certified organic lager….adhering to rules that guarantee both the raw materials and brewing process are pesticide and herbicide free.” Ahhhh….clean, crisp and refreshing!

mill street

5. Vegetable Plants or Seeds – there is something very satisfying about being able to live off of the land. Granted, most of us don’t have the property to sustain a full-blown vegetable garden but we can still treat our dads to the joy of growing his own food. A small planter will nicely fit a little herb collection, a larger pot is perfect for cherry tomatoes and even a small slice of property can house cucumber plants, strawberries, peas, carrots and lettuce. Hit up a local greenhouse for your dad’s favourites and get growing – the results will be delicious! (nice garden tools can also be a big hit)

tomatoes

And if none of these ideas fit your lifestyle or your budget – well then might I suggest 2 other options: the gift of time or a homemade gift. Maybe a family bike ride, a nice long walk or a simple card made with glitter and glue and lots of love.

Happy Father’s Day to all of the amazing men out there who dedicate themselves to nurturing their families and acting as role models to their children. And to my own dad – thank you for teaching me kindness, generousity, curiousity and an impressive repertoire of killer jokes. I love you!

What Other People Think

As a blogger – it’s pretty rare that I get the chance to talk to a real-live follower of my writing (except for my mom of course) so it was a real treat to bump into D recently at a work out class. She actually reads my stuff and regularly offers her thoughtful commentary on my posts.

This particular morning, D confided in me that she has often thought about starting up her own blog- but she said that she hadn’t gotten around to it because she wasn’t sure what she would write about. A blogger friend had told her that before she started she needed to get very specific about her focus and find a niche that would keep readers coming back to her site. When she started looking around at the seemingly endless number of blogs on the web (on every conceivable topic) she felt unsure about what she could really bring to the table.

D’s words got me thinking about how many times I’ve let someone else’s advice, opinion or well-intended suggestion steer me away from doing what I felt called to do. There was that writing prof at university who said if I didn’t feel the overriding need to constantly fill up journal after journal with my writing that I wasn’t truly meant to be a writer. Or the acting teacher in Toronto who told me I was too “perky” to make it in the acting biz. Or the boss at CTV who said if I didn’t have the capacity to “step on the neck of my competition” that I wouldn’t ever succeed in the entertainment industry. Or the naturopath who told me that a plant-based diet was harmful to my family. Or the voice agent who told me my sound was way “too boring” to ever book a job in voice overs. Or the vocal coach who told me I just “didn’t have the chops” to pursue singing.

I’m embarrassed to admit that in most of these cases – I believed them.

unicorn cartoon

So here’s what I’m learning to do in my almost 43 years on the planet – I respectfully listen to what others have to say and then I process it in my own way and in my own time. Sometimes things really resonate with me and other times I say “thanks for your insight” and then go a completely different way. I love listening and learning from others but I’m also getting better at paying attention to my own gut and making  decisions based on what is best for me (I think that’s because I’m actually more badass then boring ; )

D- for what it’s worth (and remember this is only one opinion) – I think you should go for it! I mean it – just sit your butt down at your computer and write whatever pops up. Don’t worry about your niche or if someone else is doing the same thing. If you are open and vulnerable and write from your heart then people will connect with you. And if they don’t – well then you’ve gotten to know yourself better and nourished your creative side and that in itself is pretty darn amazing.

So what about you – do you want to start a blog? Or write a book? Or run a marathon? Or try yoga? Or open your own business? Or volunteer for a charity? Or travel the world? Or produce your own music? Or take a hip-hop class? Or change your diet? Or learn to paint? Or plant a garden? Or spend more time with your family? Or move to a new city? Well, if it’s what your heart and gut are calling you to do – then step right up and do it and don’t let anyone else’s opinion stand in your way.

Thanks for inspiring this post and for supporting my blog D….and from one writer to another – I really look forward to reading your stuff soon!

 

 

Are You A Life Hacker?

I love ideas. And I especially love people who are brave enough to try something different- to think and act outside the box. Sometimes I find myself going through life doing what is expected of me and following the rules of polite society and then I stumble upon someone who is totally shaking things up and coming at life from a completely different angle. And you know what – it’s refreshing!

I am inspired by writers, inventors, bloggers, comedians, politicians, filmmakers and everyday people who are willing to question conventions- to not accept “no” for an answer and to stand up to stalwart conventions and try something new. “What if” is a powerful combination of words. Wouldn’t it be an interesting experiment for all of us to really examine the things we take for granted in life…the things we stubbornly cling to and “know for sure”…..and to broaden our perspective (if only momentarily) to consider things differently.

You may have seen this video but I think it’s worth posting and watching again. This young man is only 13 years old but is unbelievably wise. He shares the relatively new notion of “life hacking” –

Life hacking refers to any productivity trick, shortcut, skill,

or novelty method to increase productivity and efficiency, in all walks of life;

in other words, anything that solves an everyday problem of a person in a clever or non-obvious way.

I invite you to watch this short clip and then to consider your own life – work, relationships, education, nutrition, health, entertainment, volunteering – and think about any “hacks” you might be able to implement. Heck – if a 13-year-old can do it then so can we!

(email subscribers – you may need to go to my site at www.lorileighwilson.com to view the video)