20 Hacks for Healthy Body, Mind and Spirit

Buddha meditation inspiration motivation
I have been doing a lot of exploration into health and wellness in the last year. My journey began with a strange episode at Thanksgiving 2014 where I lost consciousness one morning at the breakfast table at my cottage. Around the same time I was suffering from a painful calcium deposit on my shoulder and was trying multiple methods to treat it naturally. Along my journey I tried physiotherapy, made changes to my diet, did osteopathy, massage, fitness training and finally settled on yoga and meditation.

The fainting spell turned out to be anemia. I researched many ways to add iron to my diet naturally. I also learned that red wine can deplete iron in the body. I decided to quit drinking alcohol completely because not only was it not serving me, but it was costly on my pocket book and my emotional well being.

Here are a few tips I discovered:

1. Drink lots of filtered WATER. Avoid plastic bottles. I use a glass bottle when travelling. We have an under-the-counter faucet that I love from Jonli. http://www.jonli.com/

2. To BALANCE acidity in the body: Drink 1 Tablespoon organic apple cider vinegar with 1 cup water first thing in the morning.

3. Enjoy a GREEN drink before breakfast: Combine 1/2 cup coconut water and 1/2 cup water with 1 teaspoon spirulina, 1 teaspoon chlorophyll, 1 teaspoon wheat grass powder or frozen (optional) 10 frozen cranberries in a Ninja Bullet (my favourite compact and convenient blender). Recently I have added 1 organic fig and 10 raisins (soaked together overnight). According to the Eye Yoga regime (see my upcoming post for details) they contribute towards eye health.

4. I start my day with Eye Yoga exercises. I then venture into the sacred space I created in my studio for YOGA. I always do a series of sun salutations and more poses if time permits.

5. I do a series of Bowen Technique SHOULDER EXERCISES to alleviate the pain and hopefully dissolve the calcium deposit. These are great for any neck/shoulder issues. Especially if one uses the computer a lot.

6. I love SPROUTED bread toasted with almond butter for breakfast. I love the Ezekiel brand, available at health stores and Metro and Provigo grocery stores. Keep it in the freezer.

7. I am not an exercise fanatic, but am a big fan of WALKING. I try to have one “no car” day a week and try to take at least one walk per day.

8. I take some SUPPLEMENTS, especially vitamin D. I sometimes take Omega, kelp, and vitamin C, but try to get as much as I can from real food!

9. One way to get MAGNESIUM is to soak your feet for 10 minutes in warm water with 1/2 cup Epsom salts.

10. I always eat a power SALAD for lunch. I simply peel or wash a variety of veggies and grate them in the food processor for ease and speed! Veggies include: organic red and green cabbage, carrots, beets, celery, zucchini, parsnips, turnip, etc. I top it with fresh sprouted beans or seeds and homemade dressing.

11. In the winter I sometimes opt for SOUP for lunch. I simply warm 2 cups water with 1 Tablespoon miso and a bit of Braggs soy seasoning (my favourite) and sometimes a bit of red or green curry paste. I throw in the same veggies as I would for the salad and just heat slightly so as not to kill the vitamins!


12. I put BRAGGS soy seasoning on everything! It is a healthy alternative to soy sauce or salt.

13. I make unsweetened POWER COOKIES and keep them in my freezer. When I need a snack I pull one out and warm it up in the toaster. Quick and easy!

14. I cut out a lot of dairy, but I do eat unsweetened organic YOGURT in the evening to get my calcium. I usually mash in 1/2 banana and top with homemade granola!15. I am weary of the ingredients in commercial almond milk so I always make my own. I make small quantities in the Ninja bullet since it only lasts a few days in the fridge.

16. I enjoy COCONUT MILK in my morning coffee and afternoon tea. For a treat I beat a can of chilled coconut milk (remove the excess water) with 1-2 Tablespoons maple syrup and keep it in the fridge. Can also be used as a whipped topping.

17. I joined OM West YOGA Studio and it has changed my life. I am investing in an annual membership for unlimited yoga for 2016. Yoga at home is great, but there is nothing like fully immersing yourself in a class away from the distractions at home. There is a beauty in surrendering yourself to the guidance and expertise of a trained and experience teacher. The studio is oozing with positive energy and one leaves with an incredible sense of peace and love.

18. I discovered MEDITATION in the last 6 months. I am taking an introduction to meditation class and learning many different types including sound, colour, chakras, etc. I also followed the Oprah/Deepak Chopra 21 day meditation experience and try to incorporate meditation in some way each day. Check out the many resources and tools on the internet including guided meditations.

19. I am studying A COURSE IN MIRACLES with a few friends. We have our weekly “book club” where we actually read and discuss the book. It is a sacred time and I have enjoyed exploring the concepts of unconditional love, forgiveness and relinquishing fears and limiting beliefs!

20. I say YES to opportunities for TRAVEL, LEARNING, ENTERTAINMENT and DISCOVERY. Montreal is a rich city with so many cultural events happening. I realize that external stimuli and personal growth is hugely important to one’s level of HAPPINESS and well-being!

Twigs & Leaves Poetry Open Mic west island Montreal

The third Tuesday is always my favourite time of the month! We are blessed to have a lovely family run cafe near our house that hosts community events and serves up healthy food made with love.
Twigs Cafe is located in Sainte Anne de Bellevue in the west island of Montreal.
Last night we experienced another fantastic evening of spoken word, poetry and prose. Everybody was still reeling over the Paris terrorist attacks. The majority of the poets shared a freshly written piece filled with pain or a reminiscent work about past happy Paris experiences.
We all came together as a community of like minded souls to share our feelings of grief and gratitude in a deep and peaceful way.

Catharine Allan read some of her own haiku and an exert from Jeff Brown’s inspirational book Soulshaping

poet poetry spoken word

The sisters that own the cafe always remember my regular drink: Herbal chocolate spice tea with steamed almond milk and honey. It is so lovely to be an acknowledged part of this special community.

My favourite chocolate spice tea with steamed almond milk and honey.

I always encourage my writer friends to come to Twigs and Leaves. Stephanie couldn’t make it last night, but I’m adding this cool photo she orchestrated the last time we came. That night she was commissioned to write a custom poem for one of the patrons to give to a friend for his upcoming wedding. So many creative ways to embrace entrepreneurship for artists!

My friend doing her best poet stance with a silhouette shadow on the wall!

Check out Stephanie Azran’s blog here: http://www.missazranwrites.com/

Start by StARTing Tip: Check out your city for local open mic events. Meetup.com is a great way to connect with like minded people. If nothing is happening, inquire at a local cafe about hosting an event. Start small with a few friends and see how it evolves!

20 Tips to Rock LinkedIn Like an Expert

LinkedIn social media marketing success tips

More inspiration from Lisa Larter’s Money Mindset Marketing conference in Ottawa. LinkedIn expert Melonie Dodaro shared many golden nuggets about using LinkedIn for business.

Top 20 Tips for LinkedIn
1. BELIEVE in yourself and position yourself as a thought leader.
2. HELP your prospects.
3. HIRE people to do things for you if you don’t have time to learn.
4. Don’t be afraid of GIVING away too much (content marketing):
how to tips, video, blog posts, special reports, checklists, ebooks, case studies, infographics, graphics, podcasts.
5. UNDERSTAND your clients’ problems.
6. SHARE content from others (find>>>curate>>>share content)
7. High VALUE content is original, entertaining, solution-based, fresh, non-self-promotional, educational, thought provoking: people are interested in YOUR perspective.
8. STATUS updates should include: relevant content, call to action, positive stories, personal stories.
9. Use appropriate TAGS (authors & celebrities if you share content or reference them).
11. ENGAGE: ask a question (not too often) create a discussion; encourage people to share their comments.
12. Tell people WHY they should read the article.
13. Post content to LinkedIn GROUPS (answer questions, be helpful, engage with group, find new connections) choose right groups (see what groups your clients are members of).
14. Send welcome MESSAGES and stay in contact with new connections add value to them.
15. Check out LinkedIn Publisher to REPOST blog posts.
16. Investigate LinkedIn PULSE (email from LinkedIn).
17. Download Melonie Dodaro’s FREE LindedIn Cheat Sheet www.LICodeCheatsheet.com.
18. Create a unique LinkedIn PROFILE: set yourself apart.
19. Start with your WHY.
20. Speak to “one person” your ideal client/their problems/your solutions. Convey HOW you can help them.

Start by StARTing TIP: I didn’t realize how powerful and multidimensional LinkedIn was as a business tool. If you don’t already have an account, set one up NOW. If you already have an account make sure your profile is complete, add testimonials and ask for referrals.

My Sacred Space

Buddha meditation inspiration motivation

In my quest for pure happiness I am taking a weekly introduction to meditation class. We explore different themes each week. The other week the teacher Catharine Allan (www.river-rain.com) spoke about the importance of having a sacred space.
I had been doing yoga in my living room, and didn’t think I have any available space (other than the cold basement) to devote to my spiritual practice.
I realized that I did have one room that was my which is my art studio. I had already culled much of my surplus supplies and clothing (I also keep my clothes in my studio). I decided to shift the furniture to divide the room in half. The back of the bureaus formed a wall and I created a cosy cubby for my practice.
I filled in the holes in the wall, gave the room a fresh coat of white paint and VOILA…my sacred space.
I will be adding a large art piece with an image of a mandala, but other than that…it is perfect.

sacred place for yoga and meditation

sacred place

Money, Mindset & Marketing

Mindset Money & Marketing

“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right”, Henry Ford.

I recently attended Lisa Larter’s one day conference Money, Mindset & Marketing. I was gifted tickets from one of the speakers and I am so grateful to have said YES and ventured to Ottawa for a day of inspiration. I always take incessant notes and have condensed my notes here:

Inspiration from Lisa Larter (Sales and Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Strategic Planning, Retail and Wireless Expert)

-be careful who you LISTEN to
-you can get TRAINING to enable you to do what you want to do
-take one ACTION to prove it to yourself
-celebrate your WINS & ACCOMPLISHMENTS (write out your wins…we don’t write lists of what we didn’t get done!)
-CHARGE enough…people are investing in themselves and must feel they are worth it
-RELATIONSHIP MARKETING: people remember you the way you last met
-SOCIAL MEDIA: be careful what you say when you are emotional: be conscious how you show up.
-FACEBOOK CHAT can result in SALES when you are SERVING
-we WASTE time consuming what others are doing on SOCIAL MEDIA
-interrupt FOCUS = lose our MOMENTUM
-you need to get in front of people on their PHONE…people spend up to 4-7 hours/day partly because of FOMO-fear of missing out!
-SUCCESS occurs when you take something that is COMPLICATED and SIMPLIFY it for your clients
-SYSTEM = be memorable, likeable & helpful

“Every day you show up your are planting seeds. Don’t abandon it before the magic happens.” Lisa Larter

Inspiration from Kathy Smart (TV Show Host and Chef, North America’s Gluten Free Expert, Dr. Oz Guest, Co- Owner of Live The Smart Way Expo)

1. VICTOR vs victim (no “poor me”, let life make you BETTER not bitter.)
2. Forgiveness: is a gift you give yourself.
3. Be a dolphin: surround yourself with like minded people. Collaborate. Strength and support of the group.

Inspiration from Deborah MacDonald (Lifestyle-preneur, Real Estate Investor, Author)

-cultivate your MINDSET and PERSONAL GROWTH
-don’t hold back; DO IT anyways
-ACTION: as you move to next level you will have more confidence

Inspiration from Pierrette Raymond (Speaker, Author, Life Transition & Prioritization Expert)

-imagine yourself in that business and see how it FEELS
-take a step FORWARD (don’t get stuck)
-go away by yourself (time to think, meditate, write, recharge)
-surround yourself with the right people…SUPPORT systems

Lisa Lajoie (Business Intuitive Strategist, Clairvoyant Success Coach, Spiritual Teacher, Psychic Medium, Speaker)

-we need to HONOUR ourselves and what we are made of
-switch to a place of CONTRIBUTION
-stop trying to convince non-believers FOCUS on the people that WANT and NEED you
-discover the part of you that has SOUL POWER
-discover your INNER TREASURES
-when you don’t know what to do, ASK
-deliver yourself deliberately, be CLEAR
-think of the people you are SERVICING

Start by StARTing tip:
Learn to let go of negative feelings: fear, self-doubt, resentment, anxiety with the help of motivational books/video/blogs or professional coaching. Start with one small ACTION that you can do NOW in order to make your dream become a reality.

Wattpad for Writers

My daughter and I were at Indigo the other day when we happened upon a flock of teens waiting for the featured author to arrive for a Q&A and book signing. My daughter is not a big reader and neither of us had heard of Anna Todd. Apparently she has been phenomenally successful on the platform Wattpad.com. She has over a billion hits on her fan fiction book “After”. The main character is based on One Direction heartthrob Harry Styles.
Fascinated by Anna’s extraordinary success story, we picked up a book for my friend author/artist Patricia Srigley and stayed for the Q&A. This young woman (now 26) wrote the entire book on her iPhone. THE POWER OF THE INTERNET!
She was sweet and humble and happy to hug every attendee and sign countless books!

Anna Todd Q&A and book signing in Montreal.

Anna Todd Q&A and book signing in Montreal.

I was so inspired by Anna’s success that I rushed home and set up my own Wattpad account. I zipped through “After” in a few days. It was very readable and fascinating to see what young adults are reading these days. It’s like a mild Shades of Grey for teens. Women authors have come a long way, baby, since Judy Blume days (“Are You There God? It’s me Margaret?”)
I passed the book onto my friend Patricia…who is now on Wattpad and will be sharing her fantasy novels and short stories.
Author/Artist Patricia Srigley's Scarecrow in the Graveyard.

Author/Artist Patricia Srigley’s Scarecrow in the Graveyard.

I investigated Wattpad and realized there are many famous writers who are using this site to promote and share their work, including Canadian Margaret Atwood. I created my own account with the intention of promoting my friend Patricia’s work, but realized I could also share my stuff on this site! I wrote several children’s stories for my niece and nephews when they were young. Today I decided to share Bag Lady Boots, which is based on a true story. Here is my very first Wattpad post:
Bag Lady Boots by Heather Boyd
Bag Lady Boots

Bag Lady Boots

Start by StARTing TIP: Wattpad is an on-line platform to share fiction, non-fiction, articles, poetry, prose and short stories. If you are a writer and want to share your words with the world, set up an account on Wattpad.com. Start by browsing what’s on the site, follow a few interesting authors and post a little something for the world to see…it’s FREE, EASY and FUN!

10 Tips from The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

There is a lot of buzz around Marie Kondo’s tiny book of miracles. It is an understatement to say that this book has changed my life!

marie kondo book

“Tidying ought to be the act of restoring balance among people, their possessions and the house they live in.” Marie Kondo

I have been on a journey towards optimum physical health for the past year. I have made radical shifts in my diet and adopted a practice of yoga and meditation.

I am from a family of pack-rats and tend to hoard stuff from art supplies to books. Luckily my daughter is a clean freak and my husband is very orderly, so there is a certain amount of peer pressure for me to keep my junk in order. The running joke in our house hold is that my daughter folds her clothes, my husband rolls his clothes and I stuff my clothes into their drawers!

Have a look at what my studio looked like a few years ago:


Things have changed since I discovered Marie Kondo’s incredible little book. This is not just another book about organizing your stuff. This is a bible about minimizing your possessions, respecting your belongings, being grateful for what you have, putting things in their place and magically keeping them there with no effort.

Too good to be true, you ask? If I can do it…anybody can! Here my top 10 Tips from the Konmari Method:

1. When you enter your home say “THANK YOU”. Be grateful for your abode.

2. When considering items to keep or toss, ask your self “Does this spark JOY?”

3. Create a dialogue with your clothes as you fold them. APPRECIATE and care for your belongings. “Inanimate objects can respond to human emotions.”

4. Don’t store off-season clothes. DO NOT DISTRESS your clothing by keeping them constrained in bags/boxes.

5. When sorting books, place them all out on the floor. Touch each one and consider if it brings your joy. “The moment you encounter a particular book is the right time to read it. Having fewer books increases the impact of the information read.” LESS IS MORE!

6. LET GO of seminar notes. “If the content is not put to use, then the course is meaningless.”

7. With regards to SENTIMENTAL items (journals, surplus photos, etc). “Process your past and discard items. Holding on to the past can result in missed opportunities for new relationships.”

8. When you let discard items, let them go with GRATITUDE for how they have served you.

9. ARRANGE hanging clothes in closets from heavy items at left to light items at the right. Fold clothing and place vertically in drawers so all items can be seen. Consider colour and place items with a gradation of tones from light at the front to dark at the back.

10. When we love our home and are surrounded by things that bring us joy our aura radiates HAPPINESS.

Folded undies!

Folded undies!


I roll my t-shirts like sushi and place them from lightest to darkest in the drawer.


My orderly pantry is full of healthy, unprocessed products. I hide the labels as much as possible. “Don’t overestimate the NOISE of written information (ie. labels). Decrease the visual information and you will have more peace.”

Start by StARTing:
Get and read Marie Kondo’s book. Just do it. Read it. Thank me later!

10 Tips for Avoiding Alcohol on Vacation

Our view from our balcony at the Sandpiper Beachfront Motel.

I just returned from a girls’ getaway for a friend’s 50th birthday at Old Orchard Beach, Maine. My friends know how to party and I knew that I would be faced with challenges sticking to my new non-drinking lifestyle. It’s been 7 months and my mind and body are filled with gratitude.

Life is constant stream of “coincidences”. When I returned home from our trip I was delighted to see a timely post from a fellow blogger I met at the BConnected Conference in Ottawa. Julie is a wife and mother who is a recovering alcoholic. She writes a humorous and inspirational blog called SoberJulie.com. Here is her recent post Tips for Sober Travel:


Julie’s post got me thinking about how I coped with being the only non-drinker on our trip. Here’s my list of ideas:

1. REFRIDGERATE: Book a hotel room with a fridge. Stock the fridge with healthy food and drinks. We kept fresh fruit and veggies, dips, cheese, sprouted bread, soda water, ice, and juice. Instead of going to a bar we made our own drinks and snacks. We chilled on our balcony or on the terrace beside the beach.

Fresh fruit and veggie plates.

2. BE INDEPENDENT: Travel with like-minded people that are open to doing their own thing. We congregated for supper, but during the day we often did our own thing.

3. BRING HOBBIES: Bring books, knitting, painting, cards, homework as an alternative to sitting around drinking. We stayed at a beachfront motel with a casual atmosphere. I brought my paints and enjoyed painting the ocean waves on the balcony.

Painting on the beach.

4. GET PHYSICAL: Take advantage of your beautiful surroundings and do yoga on the beach, in the forest or in your hotel room. Take advantage of the exercise room at the hotel and the swimming pool or ocean. Go for a run or a long walk with your friends or on your own.

5. MEDITATE: I love Gabby Bernstein, aka the Spirit Junkie, for her simple meditation techniques. Have a seat on the beach or in the nature and try some simple breathing techniques.

Backpack Meditation:

How to Meditate:

6. BE A BORN AGAIN VIRGIN! Join your friends in a celebratory drink with a virgin Pina Colada or Caesar when you are out.

Virgin Caesar on the beach!

Virgin Caesar on the beach!

7. HYDRATE: Drink lots of water. Stick with pure water on ice. Lemon water can destroy the enamel on your teeth, so be sure to brush your teeth or rinse your mouth after drinking lemon water. Other than water, be sure to choose sugar-free drinks juices.

Keep your fridge stocked with healthy options.

8. LAUGH, DANCE AND SING: You do not need to drink to have a good time. Be sure to participate in the celebrations and let go of your inhibitions the natural way.

9. THE EARLY BIRD GETS THE WORM: You will be filled with gratitude when you can wake up early (with no hangover) and enjoy the sun rising over the ocean. I enjoyed getting up at 5am and wandering to the beach to see the sunrise.

Sunrise on Old Orchard Beach, Maine

10. EMBRACE YOUR IDENTITY AS A NON-DRINKER: Be proud of your decision to be a non-drinker. It is much easier to stick to the program when your identity depends on it!

The Real Reason I Quit Drinking

In the past year I have bean on a quest towards optimum health. I am approaching my 50th birthday and am seeing too many women my age suffering the effects poor eating habits, unbalanced hormones, stress and sadly disease.
I have always been known to have a sweet-tooth and giving up sugar was a daunting task. I never thought it possible, but when I started opting for healthy foods with adequate protein, vitamins and minerals, my desire for sugar diminished.
A week before my 49th birthday I went out with friends for drinks. As much as I intended to avoid it, I drank too much wine. Not only did my wallet regret it, but my body suffered the next day.
Drinking has been a skeleton in my closet for as long as I can remember. Although I never considered myself an alcoholic, many of my loved ones have struggled with alcoholism and it has destroyed several relationships in my family.
That night of drinking with my friends was my last one. I decided a week before my birthday that I was done with drinking. Maybe I have an all-or-nothing mentality, but for me the easiest way to say ‘NO’ is to say a definitive ‘Hell, no!’.
Since making my decision I have not questioned my choice. My body feels better, my brain is clearer and my wallet is fuller.
And what is the real reason I quit, you ask? I have finally recognized that my loved ones’ decision to drink is their own business. I can suggest, but have no control over their choices. I have come to terms with that. I relinquish all guilt and resentment on the subject of drinking. Everybody has their own journey to take, their own path to follow. I am grateful to be taking a healthier route and hope to inspire others to do the same.

Start by StARTing tip: If you cannot imagine life without sugar, alcohol or other addictions, imagine that it IS possible to live without. I remember when I quit smoking 25 years ago thinking that it would simply not be possible to spend time with my smoker friends.. It was like smoking was all we had in common! Sometimes our minds do crazy things to convince us to keep up our addictions!

BConnected Blogging Conference

A week ago I went to the BConnected Conference in Ottawa in search of inspiration with regards to blogging. I had been last year shortly after starting this blog and was very impressed with the content and relevance of all the speakers.

I didn’t go empty handed to the conference. I had been commissioned to custom make earrings and necklaces for the organizer, Lyne Proulx, and donated jewellery for door prizes.

bconnected conf jewellery

The atmosphere at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Gatineau-Ottawa was lovely and the food was delicious!

bconnected conf 1 food

My Top Ten take-homes from the BConnected Conference:

1. Chantal Bechervaise: “How to Make Yourself More Pinteresting” Convert your PINTEREST account to a Business account to enable verification of your website and to access analytics.

2. Dino Dogan: “Breaking into Media”. Simplify your message. Pare your message down to it’s bare essential so it becomes uniquely yours. Go on a relevant show with a specific message and a product to sell. (ie. book)

Dino Dogan wants to see you on TV!

Dino Dogan wants to see you on TV!

3. Elaine Lindsay “Google+ Hangouts on Air are the hottest ticket around” Hangout on Air videos are FREE and can be reused as content for your website or blog. Host your own TV show!

4. Vanessa Chiasson “So You Want to be a Travel Blogger?” Advice for better blogging: Create a provocative title. Explore storytelling. Add history/context if relevant. Vary your adjectives. Organize with subheadings. Post great photos.

Turnipseed Travel talks Travel Blogging

Turnipseed Travel talks Travel Blogging

5. Jennifer Pinarski “SEO from Start to Finish” Sign up for Google Adwords and Alerts. Optimize and republish old blog posts. Optimize your images (title, alt and description tags). Follow trending topics.

6. Tammy Plunkett “The Care and Feeding of Bloggers” 4 Keys to Optimum Health: Mind, Body (water, sleep, nutrition, exercise), Relationships (community) and Purpose. Take stretching breaks every 1/2 hour (set timer). Put self care on your to-do list.

7. Panel discussion: “Rules of Engagement: Bloggers, Brands and Sponsorships” Be your brand. Be professional. Engage with brands. Don’t be afraid to ask. You are never too new or small. Have a search bar on your website so brands can check your content.

Rules of Engagement for Bloggers and Brands.

Rules of Engagement for Bloggers and Brands.

8. Tony Perez “Navigating the Online Security Landscape” Use different passwords for every platform. Perform all software updates. Remove old plug-ins. Be mindful of external links on your blog (your blog can be at risk).

9. Julie Harrison: “Does Grammar Matter” Don’t use semi-colons! Proofread. Read your post out loud. Triple check headlines. Triple check apostrophes. When in doubt, look it up.

10. David Bird “Google Analytics: Uncovering your Blog’s Secrets” Acquisition, Behaviour, Conversion. Set up GOALS in Google Analytics. Track terms people search for on your site.

Start by StARTing TIP: Get on the mailing list for the BConnected Conference or a similar conference in your region. These conference are inspirational and fun and a great investment in your personal and business growth!

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