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The Human Pretzel Experiment

24 Sep

My mother taught yoga when I was growing up, so I’ve been doing it for a lot of my life. The way she tells it, yoga is the reason she can even walk today. She is quite accident prone, which, when mixed with some bad luck, means she’s had a lot of injuries over the course of her life. Including going through the windshield of a car (she says she was brushing glass out of her hair for weeks) and falling down a flight of cement stairs, nearly breaking her back. Ouch.

She discovered yoga after the stairs incident, and began to slowly rehabilitate herself with it. Though at first she had trouble even standing, over time she was able to regain full use of her body – though she’s had back problems ever since.

I started going to yoga class with her when I was about 11. At first I resented it (though let’s face it, at that age I would have resented going on a five star cruise with her, that’s pretty much just how pre-teens and teens feel about hanging out with their parents. They’d rather die.) but eventually I came to enjoy it.

I’ve done it periodically ever since, but when I managed to injure my own back, it was one of the first things to go. It’s taken two years post-surgery for me to get to a point where I feel confident enough about my body’s abilities to so much as set foot in a yoga class. It wasn’t easy to face up to that challenge – mostly because I was scared to discover just how much flexibility and muscle tone I have lost in the last five years.

Thanks to a work colleague and a discounted yoga pass, I’m back in class. And I was pleasantly surprised that my body managed to do more than I expected. I can do most of the poses – thought I need to modify a few – and, most importantly, I’m not in pain if I don’t push too hard.

I think the most valuable lesson I’ve learned through all the pain and frustration is to listen to my body. It doesn’t matter what the teacher is telling us to do. It doesn’t matter that the yoga girl in front of me is doing the splits against the wall. I’m going to sit there sweating it out to get my head halfway to my knees, and I’m going to feel damn proud of myself for it, too.

The most important thing was to learn where my own boundaries are, and to respect them. I now feel better than I have in years and actually look forward to yoga class twice a week. For anyone in the Vancouver area who is looking for a good studio for people recovering from injuries, I’d recommend checking out Treloar. Maybe I’ll see you there!

Wicked Wednesday – “How to Properly Examine a Tattoo Portfolio”

11 Aug

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Getting a tattoo is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make about your appearance. (I’m ranking it right after that terrible koolaid dye-job your friend did for you in high school, apparently right before every single photo that ended up in the yearbook was taken.) So you want to be sure that you’ve not only picked an image that you will not get sick of or come to regret (like your boyfriend’s name on your ass) but also that you’ve found the right tattoo artist for you.

Tattoo artists aren’t like house painters. You can’t just pick any one that works for a reputable company or looks fit and able to climb a ladder. They’re artists. This means that not only their skill and experience, but also their style will vary. You don’t necessarily want the same one who did your best friend’s tattoo if yours is a multi-coloured life-like portrait and hers was Hello Kitty. No matter how happy she claims to be with the final result.

A tweet by Tattoo Artist Magazine showed up today with a link to an article called: “Guen Douglas: How to Properly Examine a Tattoo Portfolio.” I was so impressed with how informative, thorough and bullshit-free it was that I decided to share it with you in the hopes that it will help you to avoid costly tattoo removal or living with “Paco” scrawled on your butt in a two-year-old’s handwriting for the rest of your life. You’re welcome.

Wicked Wednesday: Avaaz.org

27 Jul
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I actually came across Avaaz.org because of my Dad – he forwarded me a link to one of their petitions awhile back, and I have been a member ever since.

For those of you who haven’t heard of Avaaz, it’s an online campaigning community whose mission statement is:    

Avaaz—meaning “voice” in several European, Middle Eastern and Asian languages—launched in 2007 with a simple democratic mission: organize citizens of all nations to close the gap between the world we have and the world most people everywhere want.

For awhile now I’ve felt like the problems of the world are too big and I’m too small. I think a lot of people feel that way – particularly in my generation. Signing petitions on Avaaz is a good way to start to feel like part of a voice for positive change. The best part is that once you sign up, information about world events comes to you – and there’s something fast and easy you can do about it.

Some of the current issues featured on Avaaz include Syria’s disappeared, the call to recognize Palestine as a state, and – closer to home – the mining project that would turn thousands of acres of Canadian farmland into a mining pit, poisoning the water source of millions of Canadians in the process.

If this sounds like your sort of online community, check it out and sign up for their email subscription.

Wicked Wednesday – Canucks Stanley Cup Finals – "Inches"

15 Jun

Okay, I know it’s the second hockey Wicked Wednesday in a row – but really it’s what’s on my mind come game day, and today is GAME 7! The final game in the final series that will determine which team takes home the cup. I’m so nervous I can barely type!

Wicked Wednesday – A Boston Bruins Fan in Vancouver

8 Jun

Juice Beauty – On Sale!!

27 May

I normally don’t go overboard telling people to buy stuff, but I actually really like this company and their products, so I thought I’d share some info and a sale coupon code for anyone who might be interested. If you don’t like hearing about products, feel free to skip this post!

I came across Juice Beauty by fluke when I got a free sample of their Oil-Free Moisturizer with a Sephora purchase. I immediately loved how it smelled and liked what I read on the label, but as I’ve got sensitive skin and have spent years finding products that work for me, I didn’t try it right away. Eventually the yummy scent won me over and I gave it a try. And immediately fell in love with it.

Since then I’ve learned a bit about the company. They use 100% certified organic juice as the base for their products, making them 98% organic. And they don’t contain parabens, petroleum, propylene or butylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfates, pesticides, phthalates, artificial dyes or synthetic fragrances. Since skin is the largest organ in the human body and 60% of whatever we put on it gets absorbed quickly into the body, this is a huge plus!

As if all that wasn’t enough, they are also listed on the PETA website as a cruelty-free company, meaning that they do not test their products on animals. This issue has been close to my heart since I was in my early teens, and I always make an effort to support companies that do not harm animals just to make us look pretty.

Of course anything this good comes at a price – one that often makes them much harder on the budget than they are on the skin! Which is why I was super excited to discover their friends and family sale which will give you 25% off and free shipping (even to Canada!) until May 31st. Just enter coupon code FF2011 upon checkout.
If you’re not familiar with the brand, here are some of my favourites to get you started:

 Oil-Free Moisturizer 
This was the first thing I ever tried and an excellent introduction to the brand. It has a lovely citrus scent with just a hint of sweetness that I find gorgeous. It spreads easily and a little goes a very long way – but it absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave any oily residue – great for those of us who don’t like the feel of heavy cream or makeup on our skin!
 
Green Apple SPF 20 Antioxidant Body Moisturizer
 With summer fast approaching, it’s time to start thinking about how to protect ourselves from harmful UV rays without forgoing everything that makes summer fun. This is the answer. It has SPF 20, making it good for everyday protection from casual sun exposure, and your new summer favourite! It does double duty as a moisturizer so it will keep your skin super soft at the same time. And it doesn’t leave any white residue or have an obnoxious sunscreen smell. If you get just one product in the sale, this should be it!

 
SPF 8 Lip Moisturizer
Don’t forget those lovely lips when you’re heading out into the sun! These lip moisturizers have a great smell and taste, go on without leaving any residue and come in clear as well as two subtle tints for when you want a little more colour! Sold in a package of three and individually.

  And I’ve heard really good things about these:


 Green Apple Peel Sensitive
I haven’t tried this one yet, but it’s sitting in my bathroom, so I will soon! It is formulated with anti-oxidants and will gently exfoliate while smoothing out fine lines and reducing breakouts. Apparently. Also comes in full strength for those with more hardy skin types.
 
SPF 30 Mineral Sheer Moisturizer 
More than any other body part, your face is exposed to even the most diffused sunlight every single minute that you’re outdoors. In the summer, this is likely to be a lot of minutes. From what I’ve ready this is light enough to wear instead of daytime moisturizer but will give you SPF 30 protection so you don’t have to slather heavy sunblock on your face. Sounds like a good idea to me!
Go and check them out while they’ve got they’re sale on – also check out their “kits” if you want to try smaller sizes of a variety of products before committing to anything full sized!

    Apocalypse Later

    23 May
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    I don’t know if you’ve all heard, but over the weekend The Rapture was supposed to occur. For those of you who are not biblically inclined (neither am I, but I’ve done a little bit of research), the true believers are supposed to be sucked up into heaven while the rest of us are left behind with their pets to be consumed in a series of earthquakes.

    Clearly that didn’t happen. Unless it did and I just don’t know any true believers so I haven’t noticed anyone missing.

    The guy who started all this is now saying that he miscalculated and The Rapture is actually going to happen in October. I won’t be holding my breath.

    Wicked Wednesday – Derek Miller’s Last Post

    4 May
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    It feels mildly inappropriate to use the word “wicked” to describe this week’s discovery. Perhaps it should be amended to “Wickedly Sad Wednesday.” At any rate, it’s something you should read. Derek Miller, a local Vancouver blogger, died of cancer yesterday. Having advance warning of impending death and being a dedicated blogger, he wrote his final blog post, to be published posthumously. This is it. (Fair warning – you might wanna grab a box of Kleenex before reading.)

    Wicked Wednesday – Goalie Throwdown

    16 Apr

    In the spirit of the playoffs, here’s one of my favourite moments in hockey. Goalie throwdown. Just watch it.

    Wicked Wednesday – Sad Stuff on the Street

    13 Apr

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    Long-distance relationships are tough, as any of us who have ever misguidedly attempted one know. But, even more than regular relationships, they tend to develop their own little traditions and rituals – ways of surmounting the physical distance by sharing meaningfully meaningless things with one another.

    This blog is a great example of one of these little traditions. Greg (San Francisco) and Sloane (New York) used to date. Greg started sending Sloane pictures of sad things he found on the street, and it soon evolved into a habit. When they split (as most long-distance relationships are doomed to do), they decided to evolve this tradition into a blog to help move from exes to friends and share their discoveries with the world. So they started Sad Stuff on the Street.

    Now, if you’re not as morbid or odd as I am and prefer to look at happy stuff left strewn about the city, there’s no need to feel left out. In fact, you can send your pictures of happy urban shit to GOOD.is before next Wednesday and they’ll add it to their Happy Stuff on the Street picture show.

    Now go get sad. Or happy.