Go back, way back.

I’m tired aka I just typed an entire blog post on my phone and deleted it. I didn’t mean to; I’m tired. 4:15 am is too early to be awake, but as I watched the minutes tick past, and heard the alarm go off, I knew it was time to get going.

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Another airport, another post.

I’m heading back to Calgary this morning. My heart aches as it hasn’t been this full in a while. Visits with family, friends, and two new little babes having me missing Toronto before I’ve even left it.

Here’s hoping I can get some sleep on the plane so I don’t head into the office looking like I’ve only slept 4 hours….like I do now. Viola:

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That selfie was for you, Em. xo

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Another selfie at the airport.

I’m sure there is someone, somewhere that likes my collection of airport posts and ridiculous selfies at those airports.

For that person, here you go:

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I’m over an hour early for my flight from Calgary to Toronto due to over preparedness and the three minute line at security.

The wait has given me time to think, which is usually always a bad situation. We’ve entered April, and I am still goalless for 2013. My “conquered” tab has still not been updated since last year and I haven’t reflected on those goals either. Blame it on laziness? Probably.

It’s never too late to set goals and I’m from the belief a balanced life has five pillars: sleep, nutrition, exercise, support, and self care.

I have a week before I return to reality, which means a week of planning my goals.

Until then, enjoy the selfies and follow my trip on Twitter.

xx

What I’m lovin’ Wednesday: walking.

With nothing but sun and above-seasonal temperatures in store for Calgary for the next week, I’ll be covering a lot of pavement.

I can’t think of a better way to spend my time than walking around a city and exploring. Add a puppy and some music and I’d be ecstatic.

This past weekend, I grabbed two friends and headed outside. On Saturday we explored Prince’s Island Park, Kensington, and make out point the Crescent Heights look out.

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Sunday, we headed to The Rockies and I had the pleasure of introducing both of them to Sulphur Mountain in Banff and Lake Lousie.

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I live in a very beautiful province, and I need to spend more of my time exploring it.

Another reason that heel-toe’n it is so important to me, is because there have been numerous studies that show regular exercise, as low impact as walking, can be successful at limiting many health risks.

Check out my latest article for CLUBLIFE Magazine about the benefits of walking for women:

It’s as easy as putting one foot in front of the other. A recent European study discovered walking could decrease the risk of stroke in women.

Over 19,000 women and 13,000 men were part of the study that monitored physical activity as well as diet, lifestyle habits and medical history. They were all between the ages of 29 and 69 and participated in the study for at least 10 years. It found women who walked for approximately 3.5 hours per week at a moderate intensity were at lower risk of stroke than those who did not engage in regular walking.

But in an age of convenience, how can we possibly walk more…

To read the full article, click here.

A smile is happiness you’ll find right under your nose.

Happy International Day of Happiness!

Do what you can today to share happiness, love and smiles with others, and encourage those who receive it to pay it forward.

One person who will be doing this today, and every day, is Jim Moss. I “know” Jim from our days in the pro lacrosse world. No longer on the turf due to a neuromuscular autoimmune disease, Jim is now the Founder and Chief Happiness Officer of The Smile Epidemic.

The what?! Oh ya, I had to know more. Thankfully Jim answered all of my questions.

The Smile Epidemic is a digital visual adaptation of a gratitude journal. Jim started it as a process of cheering himself up when his legs continued to falter and he need a reminder of how lucky he was. When he first became ill, he used a written gratitude journal and found it helped a great deal. Since then, Jim has done quite a bit of research on positive psychology and the gratitude journal is one of the most studied practices of that type of psychological intervention. It is intended to draw your attention to the multitude of positive things that we have available to us at almost any given minute in our life – even when, psychologically or physically, we feel like crap!

It came about because Jim is more of a visual learner and had a lot of people tell him that they had found his writing about the predicament to be inspiring. He didn’t take the time to write as often as he wanted. This was a way to alter the gratitude journal in a visual representation that takes a picture and combines it with a quick message about what we’re grateful for. It made it quick and easy and therefore more likely for him to do on a regular basis. It was entirely started for his own selfish desire to maintain an upbeat mood, then people started to request more pictures, suddenly people started posting pictures of their own.

Watch this quick video to learn more:

I’m a firm believer that improving yourself is always in fashion, and that you’re never fully dressed without a smile, so when The Smile Epidemic App launched for iPhone, I signed up right away. Smiles and selfies? My two favourite S’s.

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Man, I give some seriously good eyebrow.

The main goal is to spread happiness. Very simply, leave the world a better, happier place. The Smile Epidemic provides a great simple way to share happiness amongst friends and strangers but also on a more complex level it opens up and creates opportunities to have really important conversations about how happiness, well-being and psychological health can be proactively worked towards and not just reactively addressed once in need. The concept of proactively grooming your own disposition is about the cheapest and best way to diminish and or avoid the potential effects of state based psychological maladaptation. That means “understand what, why and how you are most likely to be happier and then just do that instead of leaving it to chance or in other people’s hands”. It also means that we can really impact our levels of resilience and hope and optimism and that can serve us well to protect us from letting our low times get too low. It doesn’t mean we won’t have low times, we need them and they are a fact of life, it just means we have tools to help us control whether they get too low, and to help us return to baseline and above more quickly and easily.

So, how do you get involved? Great question! Download the app for iPhone, Android, and even BB-Z10 and take the 30-day Challenge – I’m on day 17 – and notice what that does to your life. Jim can only tell people to “trust him” because the impact is incredible

If you smile when no one else is around, you really mean it. – Andy Rooney

Sending a smile,

xx Laur

An engaging celebration.

There are only a handful of couples I know that I’d even care to emulate. They are loving, but joke around like friends; they are passionate, but don’t cling off each other in public (or post make out photos on FB); they are strong in their beliefs, but don’t air their dirty laundry in public.

My good friend Mary, and her significant other Brent, make up one of these couples. So when they designed the ring – and he popped the question – I couldn’t be more excited.

To celebrate, us girls took Mary to High Tea at the Fairmont Palliser.

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With busy and conflicting schedules, the five of us rarely get the time to catch up.

Cups of strong tea, flutes of champagne, mini sandwiches, and delectable desserts fueled our conversation of wedding dresses, bridal colours, and the amazing venue of Lake Lousie next February.

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These are the moments I cherish, where we can come together and just be us – pretty dresses included. The laughter and the cross-table looks have burned memories in my mind.

Congratulations, Mary! We love you. xx

Have you ever been to High Tea? What do you and your girlfriends do to celebrate?

Gotta get down on Pi Day.

It’s Pi Day, Pi Day. Gotta get down on Pi Day!

In all the silliness that is March 14 (3.14) I indulged my inner baker and went bananas over coconut to celebrate.

Pie was on the menu, of course. Mini Banana Cream Pies, to be exact.

Thanks to Pinterest, I found this super simple recipe from Kiki & Company:

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Mini Banana Cream Pies
1 pkg. instant banana pudding
2 bananas
1 small tub of cool-whip
1 pkg. refrigerated pie dough
Optional: coconut

First, take your pie dough and lay out on your counter. Cut circles using a large glass (the top of it).  Place each circle in one hole of a cupcake pan. Cook according to the pie dough instructions.  While the shells are baking, make the pudding according to the instructions on the back of the package. After stirring, slice bananas in the pudding and when it is set (about 5 min.) gently fold in 1/2 the tub of cool whip. Optional: Toast coconut in the oven and place on top.

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They’ll make a perfect treat for coworkers, and the girls tonight before we head to Telus Spark for Adult’s Only Night at the Science Centre. It’s a Pi Party, right down to the pie-throwing contest.

I woke up early this morning, with the apartment still smelling like bananas and decided to whip up a batch of muffins for breakfast.

I used this recipe from Swerve:

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Banana-Coconut Muffins
2 very ripe bananas
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup coconut water
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1 tsp coconut or vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, mash together bananas and sugar. (A potato masher works well.) Mash in yogurt, coconut water, canola oil, egg and coconut or vanilla extract. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the banana mixture along with shredded coconut (and stir just until blended. Divide the batter between 12 paper-lined muffin cups, sprinkle with more shredded coconut and bake for 25 minutes, until golden and springy to the touch. Makes 1 dozen muffins.

I opted for vanilla Greek yogurt instead of plain and used CoCos-Pure coconut water. One of my favourite brands: no pulp, and no weird tin aftertaste. While paper liners look nice, I always find they are messy to get your muffins out of. Next time, I’ll grease my muffin tin and just pour the batter in.

I’m far too productive today already! Off to deliver mini pies.

xx

Are you celebrating Pi Day? 

What I’m Lovin’ Wednesday: Bathing Suits

Bathing suits!? I haven’t temporarily gone crazy – that happened a long time ago – but lately I can’t help but rave about Swimco.

As a new addition to my ‘hood, the storefront always looks so cheerful on cold and snowy Calgary days. It’s even better when they decide to throw a tropical party on some of the coldest days.

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A few weeks back, the lovely ladies of Swimco 17th taught me how to pack for paradise with tips on what to include in your carry-on and how to not over pack (something I ALWAYS DO).

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I may not have a tropical vacation booked, but thanks to Swimco I was going to look the part. First up, a spray tan by Tan Luis. As a spray-tan virgin, I was terrified. All I kept picturing was Ross from Friends getting attacked by the booth spray. As I stripped down to my intimates and got cozy in a mobile tent with a stranger, I realized the process was much more personal than that. I didn’t even have a chance to drink my prosecco to feel more at ease, thankfully the process was painless and friendly, and I emerged perfectly sunkissed.

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Posh de Luxe complemented my new glow with neon pink nails. I was even stopped on the walk home by two different people to tell me how great my nails looked.

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Sadly, with my freshly spray-tanned face, I couldn’t get my makeup touched up from Madd Pretty, but I’ll be visiting their salon in the near future. I stared while others got their hair and makeup done, and dreamed of owning their gorgeous pallets.

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The whole night was capped off with a fashion show, debuting the newest Spring looks. Bold colours and Hawaiian print are back. 

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So when I needed a bathing suit for my weekend in a hot tub the mountains, it was no surprise I ran to Swimco. I haven’t bought a full bathing suit since high school – the beach or hot spring visits were styled with random tanks or sports bras and bikini bottoms – so I expected the process to be painful and tearful. With the help of a consultant, I was able to find the most adorable and retro polka dot Lauren by Ralph Lauren suit.

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picture her blonde and with more curves – I’m adorable. 

Paired with Swimco sunnies, I was a bathing beaut all weekend in the Delta’s outdoor hot tub.

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Thanks to Swimco and Anneke Forbes for the great photos!

My #1 vacation tip: always remember the SPF!

Fun part for you: You can win one of two pieces of Roxy luggage courtesy of Swimco. CLICK HERE TO ENTER.

Make sure you tell them who sent ya!

Are you going anywhere tropical? Can you take me with you?