Monday, June 19, 2017

Simple Ways To Live An Eco Friendly Life

I was never very environmentally conscious before becoming a mother. Once I had children, though, my perspective on most things changed, including my views on the environment, the world I was raising my children in, and what I needed to do to make sure my children were growing up aware of the things they needed to do to keep our planet green and contribute to their environment in positive ways. Thankfully, I've raised some really good people–boys who are smart and know more than I did when I was their age about science, the environment, and how even small things can make a big impact. Taking on a new job in Communications at Environment and Climate Change Canada has opened my eyes even further to how much work is being done around us to keep our air clean, and our communities safe and healthy.

Here are some ways you can be more environmentally conscious in simple ways:

Be Aware: Becoming more environmentally conscious isn't difficult; in fact, living in Canada–a country that does so much already to help our environment–makes it almost easy. Read more, be aware, and find out how you can get involved in your community in ways that give back in small or big ways.

Get the kids involved: The more you lead by example, the more your children will learn. Have your children help with composting, recycling, and donating items they no longer need or use. Teach your kids the importance of conserving energy, why it's important to use less water, why they should turn off lights when they leave a room, and try spending more time in the great outdoors appreciating the environment and the clean air we're so fortunate to breathe.

Reduce what you use: This can be tricky, especially if you like holding on to things like I do. A few times a year, go through all your household items, including your closet (this one can be difficult!) and get rid of what you don't need, what you don't wear, and what you could do without. Donate items in good condition.

Buy less: Think twice before making that next purchase; go through your closet one more time and see what new outfits you can put together so you don't have to keep shopping for the same things over and over again.

Pay attention: Pay attention to how much you're using in your house, including water and electricity. Turn off lights, install energy efficient lightbulbs and, if you can, energy efficient windows, and reduce your daily consumption. Unplug electronics, and use less water.

Plant trees: Even if you don't have a large back or front yard, you can always find room to plant more greenery. The City of Ottawa will give (and plant) a new tree to home owners. All you have to do is request a tree. We did this last year and are enjoying watching our tree grow.

Drive less: I drive to work, because it's the easiest and more efficient option for me, but if you're able, drive less, or carpool. I wish I worked close enough to walk or bike to work.  

Buy energy efficient products: We've switched to energy efficient lightbulbs throughout our home. Energy efficient light bulbs consume 40% less energy than regular bulbs, and last ten times longer, too. Going green saves money, which is a total bonus.

Share: I have a thing for buying new books and I'm an avid reader.  I'm also not a fan of e-readers, because nothing can replace an actual book in my hands. What I do to make myself feel better is lend book to all my friends who are looking for new things to read. At least I'm re-using what I already have! I also donate books to hospitals. Every few months, my girlfriends and I get together for a clothes swap, too, which is another great way to recycle items you're no longer interested in keeping.

My children also love grocery shopping with me and we choose local produce as much as possible. We also enjoy planting our own vegetables and thanks to a mother-in-law who is an expert gardener, my boys have enjoyed learning about plants and how they grow.

Keeping things green and helping our planet doesn't have to be complicated. It's the simple things we do daily that will have impacts for years to come.

How are some ways you're helping the environment?

Disclaimer: This post is part of The Whole Family Happiness Project in partnership with Social Currents and the Low Carbon Economy Narrative Initiative. The Whole Family Happiness Project poses the question, "What is the connection between our individual purpose, our family happiness, and the happiness of the world around us? 

To learn more or to get involved, visit Whole Family Happiness on Facebook. #wholefamilyhappiness

Friday, June 16, 2017

Help Yourself To Faster Airport Security This Summer

It's summer, and if you're like me, you've been planning your vacation for a while. Although the weather here is absolutely perfect right now, there's something exciting about getting ready for a vacation. My favourite summer vacation destination in Greece, because of the beauty and the culture. There is nothing more breathtaking than the Mediterranean Sea! I also love going to Miami in the summer (and winter!) with my family because it's a short plane ride, the resorts are gorgeous, and the beach life is perfect.

I'm a last minute packer, and despite how often I travel, I always pack more shoes than I should–but if you don't plan accordingly, over-packing will be the least of your worries. Since we tend to be so focused on our destination, it's easy to forget about the journey, particularly security screening at the airport. The good news is that being prepared can help you breeze through the screening checkpoint, leaving you more time to shop, eat, or relax before your flight.

The first step is doing your homework so you know what goes in your carry-on (take it from me: pack your beauty essentials that aren't 100 ml or less in your checked luggage–I learned this the hard way!) and what goes in your checked baggage. The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) has some useful tools on its website, including a searchable "What can I bring" list that lets you know where to pack your items and what can and can't fly. It also has a travel-checklist generator and tips for all sorts of challenges, from what to do with large sports equipment and medical supplies to travelling with pets.

According to CATSA, one of the biggest hold-ups at security is having too many liquids, aerosols, and gels. I always have my water bottle taken away from me–maybe this time I'll finally remember not to bring it through security with me. Containers over 100 ml and 1 litre bags that are overstuffed with smaller containers (no seal, no deal) will need to be checked. As for that cup of coffee or water bottle I mentioned: if it's over 100 ml be prepared to chug!

There are some exceptions, like liquids for kids under two years old, and medication. You can check out more here. In all cases, the containers should be taken out of your carry-on and be ready to present to the screening officer for inspection.

Once you hit the front of the line, it helps to have your boarding pass ready to show the screening officer. You can also speed things up if you put loose change, keys, and small electronics (including your phone and tablets) in your carry-on so you can just drop them in the bin. If you're travelling with a laptop or other large electronic devices like gaming consoles or DVD players, you'll need to put them in a separate bin. For more information on what you can put in the bins at the checkpoint, you can find the information here.

If you're still wondering what to do with an item or want more information about security screening, send questions to CATSA on Twitter or Facebook.

Lastly, travel is all about being mobile, so you should definitely download CATSA's free mobile app. It's available on Android, iOS and Blackberry, and can help you with all this and more, including wait times for security at most major airports.

Here's a great little video with packing tips to make your travel time–and getting through airports–a breeze this summer.

Happy travels!

Disclaimer: I have been compensated by CATSA for this post. All views and opinions are my own. 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Getting Healthier From The Inside Out With Align

Finally, warmer days are here! Summer makes me happy, and the warmer temperature and sunshine always motivate me to stay on track with eating well, taking care of my body, and staying on top of my fitness routine. Of course, some days are harder than others, but I find it's easier to stay on track when the weather is cooperating nicely.

Although working out several times a week is important in helping you look and feel great, I believe it's what you put inside your body that has a bigger impact. If you feel good from the inside, you'll no doubt look and feel incredible on the outside, too. The best part about getting healthier from the inside out is that it's not complicated. We all know what foods are good for us, and we know that being physically active is important, too. I like doing activities I love, like cycle and barre classes, and spending as much time in the great outdoors as I can, now that it's nice outside. 

Whether it's swimming, playing soccer or basketball with my boys, or just going for a long walk after dinner, staying active is key.
In addition to eating healthy and working out, taking a daily probiotic like Align helps your body, too. These capsules provide ongoing relief of IBS symptoms like abdominal discomfort, gas, and bloating, and Align contains a probiotic that provides live bacteria that form part of the natural, healthy intestinal flora. 

Now that summer is here many of us will be travelling and keeping busy; and sometimes, changes in our routine, like when we're travelling, can disrupt our natural healthy intestinal flora. Taking Align once a day, every day, provides probiotic bacteria that contribute to making you healthier, and feeling better. The capsules contain Bifidobacterium 35624 TM, a patented probiotic strain.

Align is the number one Gastroenterologist recommended Probiotic supplement, and the number one Doctor recommended probiotic supplement, so you know what you're taking is good for you.

So why not kick up your health care routine this spring and summer, and make Align a part of your daily routine?

Disclaimer: I created this post as a paid ambassador for Align Probiotic. All opinions and advice are my own and I only work with companies I genuinely love and have used prior to being contacted.

*Among gastroenterologists and doctors who recommended a brand of probiotic in an AlphaImpactRx 2016 survey 

Blog Designed by: NW Designs