Magnesium and Your Health

I am all for natural remedies and homeopathic relief of any health problem that arises. I avoid pain killers, and haven’t used one in over 3 months. Instead, when I am in pain I opt for temperature therapy (hot/cold) and drink a lot of water. This has done me well so far, but I do not have any chronic pain issues.

My mother, however, does have chronic pain. She was diagnosed with fibromyalgia approximately 1 ½ years ago (maybe more, maybe less, I'm not 100% sure on that), and has been working forward with her health and general well being even more so now that she understands the source of her pain.

I found this book (The Pill Book Guide to Natural Medicines) at a garage sale this past summer and bought it for 50 cents. I decided to look through it for certain health problems that important members of my family, including myself, suffer from.

Turns out there is an easy way to relieve the pain and tension from fibromyalgia that many people overlook. Magnesium is the easiest and one of the safest natural remedies for fibromyalgia. It is also easy to consume if you eat a diet of whole, unprocessed, raw foods.

Magnesium is also essential for full calcium absorption. In fact, ingesting too much calcium can reduce the capability your body has to absorb magnesium. Without magnesium, even with vitamin D, your body is only able to absorb 500mg of calcium in one sitting.

Many common foods in the “standard American diet” contain little or no magnesium. This leads to an extremely common occurrence of magnesium deficiency. Simple and easy to eat foods contain magnesium including almonds, cashews, lightly cooked spinach and fresh fish such as halibut or pickerel. (more detailed information found at )

How does this relate to my pain, my mother’s fibro, and life in general? Easy. Magnesium is a key ingredient to activating many enzymes in your body, and a deficiency in it can cause fatigue, confusion, heart disturbances, nerve and muscle problems and many other problems.

Want to reduce your pain, increase your health, and generally feel better? Consider adding some magnesium to your diet. Food sources are the easiest to digest, and are highly recommended by yours truly. Alternatively, if you aren’t able to eat enough, or you don’t want to risk it, there is the option of taking supplements. If you choose to take supplements, be sure to take them with food to ensure proper digestion.

Simple ways to increase your health and vitality. Improve your diet by adding magnesium.

Peace and serenity,

Looking for other ways to improve your health through natural remedies? Stay tuned, I’ll be posting more information over time that is based on natural and healthy ways to increase your health and decrease your dependency on chemical drugs. Follow the new Natural Remedies tag for a full listing.

Compassionate Parenting: Receiving Gifts

For children to become givers they need to practice developing their giving skills; which means parents (and other adults) need to practice receiving.

At least once a day this week, acknowledge a gift your child is trying to give and receive it with genuine gratitude.

Receiving gifts can be a challenge for those who are under the impression that they have to earn everything that they have. This is not fact. Life and compassion depend on the exchange of gifts on occasion, both for interpersonal connections as well as personal feelings of self-worth.

Consider: if no one ever gave you anything as a gift, and you had to work your butt off for everything in your life, how would you feel when those around you are receiving gifts from those around them? Chances are, you would feel anger, resentment, frustration, and you would start to wonder why you did not receive anything. It is a normal response.

So accepting gifts, even if you don't believe you deserve them, is a good idea. Because chances are that you do deserve it. You go through life, you work hard towards your goals in life, you provide your family and children what you can, and therefore you do deserve a little treat every now and then.

Teaching your children and others around you, that giving gifts is a good thing for society and cooperation, you will need to show them both how to accept gifts graciously and how to give gifts properly.

Accepting gifts with a proper attitude can make all the difference in how others will perceive you. So if you receive a gift and look at it in dismay, the giver is likely to think you ungrateful for a gift that they put time and effort into. Even if the gift is not what you expected, you should always make sure that the giver is aware that you appreciate the thought they put into you and the fact that they did consider you in their personal lives.

By teaching through actions how to receive gifts, you show your child in a way that words could never describe. When your child gives you a gift, even if it is a drawing that you consider to be terrible, be grateful and show gratitude towards them for considering you for such a gift, particularly if it is something that was made by them. This skill is a challenge sometimes, but it can make all the difference in how they learn to accept gifts from others.

Learning and teaching through actions will also teach those around you that actions DO speak louder than words, and they will begin to learn and consider their own actions and how it reflects their words.

Peace and serenity,


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Wednesday's Small Steps: Go outside!

This week, despite the freezing temperatures and white fluffy snow, our step is to go outside! That’s right, outside; where the snow is (at least where I live!) and the wind and everything.

Why? Well, quite simply because it is beautiful and it is good for you. The fresh air is good for you and the cold air will help wake you up out of the demi-hibernation mode that just about every living thing goes into during the winter months.

The sunlight, despite the fact that the rays are not direct enough to cause a Vitamin D reaction in your skin, will make you feel better immediately. The crisp air will open your airways and fill your blood with fresh oxygen.

Taking this time for yourself will not only make you feel better, but it will help you to appreciate the world around you better. It will also help stave off cabin fever, which occurs in notoriously high amount during cold and miserable weather.

The time you spend outside doesn’t even have to be long. Five to ten minutes is what I would recommend as the minimum, longer is even better as long as you are dressed for the weather. Recommended time to stay out, in my opinion, is around half an hour. Give your lungs and body a chance to acclimate to the weather outside a bit and get comfortable. Reap the benefits of fresh and beautiful air.

No matter what the season is, taking time to get outside and enjoy the air and environment around you is beneficial. It gets you up and moving, you will get some fresh air, and you become more aware of your surroundings.

So take a few minutes to step outside and enjoy the world around you. Get outside!

Peace and serenity,

Simply Me

Want a healthy glow, even in the winter?

There is a new study published December 24, 2010 that indicates that healthy looking skin can be influenced heavily by a nutrient found in colourful fruits and vegetables. Carotenoids are nutrients that are known for being found in carrots and are fantastic antioxidants.
Not only are they very effective antioxidants, but it turns out that they can give you a healthier looking skin tone, which many Caucasians (myself included!) suffer from a lack of in the winter. The lack of strong enough UV to produce a skin reaction and suntan causes many pale people (again, I’m as pale as you can get without having a pigmentation deficiency) to run to the drug stores to buy up some self-tanning lotion.

Instead of spending your money on these expensive and often non-functioning lotions, we can now opt instead to purchase colourful fruits and vegetables to give us a healthy glow that will go along with a healthier body.

A list of foods with carotenoids can be found at

The abstract of this study can be found at
Not only does this study show that carotenoids bring about a healthy glow in your skin, but it indicates that a large portion of individuals actually prefer the glow that comes from these nutrients as opposed to the glow from obtaining a suntan. Figure that out!

I can say that I will be keeping my eyes peeled for these foods more now that I had previously. Not only is it a healthy nutrient to consume, but it improves your skin tone. It doesn’t cost you anything extra aside from adding a little bit to your grocery bill, so that makes it a more believable source immediately.

So if you think your skin is looking a little bit pasty in the winter, take a trip to the grocery store and pick up some delicious fresh and colourful vegetables and fruit. Your skin will thank you, your digestive system will thank you, and your health in general will thank you!

Monday Musing: Nostalgia

I experienced my first real bout of nostalgia the other day. It was so unexpected and eye-opening, and it took me by surprise.

I was ripping music from my CD's onto the computer so that I would be able to put them on my iPod or listen to them in random with all my other music. I came across a CD that I hadn't seen since before I was pregnant with my daughter, from back in grade 10. It was from a band that was made up of friends of mine from that year; they had made their own CD and sold it in the high school. I started listening to it, and memories of high school came rushing back to me.

This made me think. Nostalgia is typically something that you experience many years after the instance or time in your life, or so I thought. It always seemed to me that people became nostalgic of things that were over 20 years past, things they could never return to. Maybe my impression of nostalgia was incorrect, but it had worked for me so far.

Is nostalgia just wishing for what is past? Can a child experience genuine nostalgia? These are questions that have populated my mind. So I looked it up!

According to, nostalgia is: a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one's life, to one's home or homeland, or to one's family and friends; a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time.

Based on this definition, surely everyone can experience nostalgia, whether it is for something 50 years past or only one.

Memories are surely a very important thing in life, and they keep us looking forward and back at the same time. Nostalgia can be a negative thing, as much as any form of remembering the past. The key is to not let it take over. Remembering the past can keep you from repeating past mistakes, and help to warn you when there is something unsettling around. But they can’t be allowed to take over the primary part of the brain, because then nothing will move forwards.

Allow yourself to remember things that have passed, and think of them fondly. Remember the good times, and the bad times, and use these memories to move forward in life.

Have you ever experienced nostalgia? Did you feel that it affected you positively or negatively?
Peace and serenity,

15 facts! Yay!

I was tagged by Misty Meadows!

Rules: Come up with 15 random facts about yourself and share them with the blog world!
After doing this post tag 5 other bloggers to do this!

Here are my 15 facts:

1. I am very empathic and my moods are often severely impacted by those around me.
2. I am so clumsy and I drop my things all the time.
3. I have an overwhelming obsession with Happy Bunny.
4. I love bright loud colours (such as hot pink and neon green).
5. I am super great at starting fictional stories, but I am terrible at deciding on the ending.
6. I avoid buying everything I can from the USA (especially food). I would rather buy from Mexico or Columbia than the US.
7. I am super indecisive. Or am I?
8. I am also a huge procrastinator of things I don’t want to do. Huge.
9. Some days it’s hard for me to get out of bed.
10. I like making my own jewelry, but I’m terrible at determining size.
11. I am so directionally challenged it hurts.
12. I have an obsession with buying fun coloured yarn.
13. Writing is my favourite pastime.
14. I don’t like taking charge or making important decisions.
15. Despite my self-esteem being at an all-time high, I still hate myself some days.

I find these things, listing fun or random facts about myself, very therapeutic. They force me to look within and accept different things about myself. I try not to overlap or repeat facts each different time that I do one of these. I hope you enjoyed it.

I’ll tag these people:
Monster Girl Writes
The Seventh Circle of Elle
Whoever else wants to do it!

Link it back to me, so I can read all about your interesting facts, or just drop me the link in the comments below! I can't wait to see some new fun facts!

Peace and serenity,

Simply Me

Adopting Simplicity: Enjoy Silence

Silence is peaceful to those who know how to make the best of it. It soothes the mind and calms the thoughts. It is a form of meditation in itself, without having to meditate. It can also be scary if you are accustomed to constantly having some noise in the background.

When you embrace silence, even if only for a few moments, your breathing will begin to slow on its own and you will feel a sense of relaxation. Do not resist this, it is your mind’s way of bringing your consciousness to homeostasis. You will be able to feel and experience thoughts and emotions, but they will not affect you as negatively as they would if you did not allow yourself some silence.

Embracing silence and lowering stress

Embracing silence goes along with taking time for yourself. Allowing yourself even a few sparse moments to relax and breathe among the hectic and chaotic world around you can bring you a sense of freedom and flexibility. You will be less tied down by stresses because you will have the ability to let it slide off of you. This is key to enjoying life and adopting simplicity.

Enjoy silence and life simply

Silence and simple living go hand in hand. Simplifying life brings you external calm, so that your surroundings and belongings portray a less busy and less stressful environment because there are not things everywhere. There will be things that are important to you, things that add real value to your life and your mind. Less excess and overload results in less stress. Silence brings you internal calm. It is a peaceful meadow where your thoughts can roam freely without constraint or fear. When you embrace this, you embrace the truth that is life.

Baby stepping your way to embracing silence

If you are used to rushing around and having constant background noise, it will be very difficult to embrace silence at first. Don’t try to just jump into it, because that leads to the overwhelming feelings that we all know and hate. Start simple and ease yourself into it. An easy start is to take five minutes each day where you sit or work or relax in complete silence. No TV or music in the background, just silence. Enjoy it, allow your thoughts to roam where they choose. Set a timer so that you don’t go too far all at once.

Try it for a week and see how your thoughts react. You will very likely find that your thoughts are clearer, you feel less stress, and you have more time to enjoy things that you want to do. Just give it a try, there really is nothing to lose.

Peace and serenity,

Simply Me

Potential homemade deodorant recipe!

I found a super easy and simple recipe for homemade deodorant, and I am looking forward to trying it out. I have all three ingredients that are needed, so all I need now is some patience to actually do it. This recipe calls for baking soda, coconut oil and cornstarch, and apparently ends up the consistency of store bought deodorant.

By the sounds of it, based on the ingredients, this deodorant will not only make me smell less because of the baking soda (always a plus!) but it will also moisturize the skin in my under arms from the coconut oil, and be less irritating thanks to the corn starch.

My under arms are rather irritated right now, as I’ve been using just straight baking soda as deodorant. It keeps the stench away for most of the day, but I find that the skin is quite red and irritated.

The past few mornings, I put some coconut oil onto the skin of my armpits and rubbed it in before applying the baking soda. The irritation was cut significantly, so once I mix these together with corn starch into one product not only will it be way easier to apply (1 step instead of 2-3!) but it will save time. Plus coconut oil has a faint smell to it that I find quite appealing!

If you’re allergic to coconut (as one of my friends is) you could go with any natural oil that is solid at almost room temperature. Some examples include Shea butter and palm oil.

I will confess that this does not slow down the perspiration. You will still sweat. It just won’t stink, because the baking soda kills of the odor causing bacteria. If you find that the mixture isn’t strong enough to remove the odor, try adding a few drops of tea tree oil.

I plan on making this deodorant this weekend, and I will try it out for a few days or a week and let you know how it goes. If all goes well, I will share the exact recipe with you. I wouldn’t want to share it before I know for myself how effective it is.

Peace and serenity,

Simply Me

Waste Management changes in the city

My city is considering changing its waste management contract that expires next year, and no shock that there is a ridiculous amount of commentary. The concept is this:

Currently, we have weekly garbage pick-up, alternating recycling pick-up (1 week black box, 1 week blue box, etc) and seasonal green bin pick-up (every week in the warm months, every 2 weeks in the cold months).

The proposed change would be:

Garbage pick-up every other week, weekly full recycling pick-up (both blue and black boxes each week) and weekly green bin pick-up.

I am all for the proposed change. Why? Because less frequent garbage pick-up will (theoretically and logically) deter people from using their garbage bins as much and cause them to look into other methods of disposal. The green bin has been a pretty big bad guy around here (for a reason I honestly can't fathom) and people tend to avoid recycling because it's hard (or their lazy, take your pick). They will either figure out how to sort their refuse to minimize overflow, have an overflowing garbage bin and whine about it, or stop buying so much crap.

I'm hoping for option #3 on that list, personally. The less junk people buy, the less they will have to throw away. There just won't be as much garbage to worry about. There will be less 'demand' for poorly made products, and people will be able to save more money because they won't be spending it on junk.

Recycling is really not that complicated. Just want to throw that in there. It's really not. Cardboard and paper goes in the black bin. Plastics (hard plastics only) go in the blue bin. Metal goes in the blue bin. Glass (unbroken) goes in the blue bin. You do have to separate mixed materials (paper with plastic glued to it) but it doesn't take that much effort. Really, I promise! Crush your paper and aluminum cans to save even more space.

I hope that the city government decides to go with the proposed changes, I would like to see more frequent pick-up of the more sustainable disposal options. They should also increase garbage bin cost, to prevent people who don't want to recycle from just buying more garbage bins, but I don't think that will happen.

I'll keep crossing my fingers that more people will think of their surroundings when they buy, and when they dispose of their garbage. I'll keep trying to show people that it really isn't that hard. The rest is up to them.
Peace and serenity,
Simply Me

Productivity and you

What does being productive mean to you? We have come to notice that each person has their own meaning and interpretation of the world, so what does it mean to be productive?

Here is what has to say:

Pro·duc·tive prəˈdʌktɪv Spelled [pruh-duhk-tiv] 
1. having the power of producing; generative; creative: a productive effort. 
2. producing readily or abundantly; fertile: a productive vineyard. 
3. causing; bringing about (usually fol. by of ): conditions productive of crime and sin. 
4. Economics . producing or tending to produce goods and services having exchange value. 
5. Grammar . (of derivational affixes or patterns) readily used in forming new words, as the suffix -ness. 
6. (in language learning) of or pertaining to the language skills of speaking and writing (opposed to receptive).

Now what does that mean? Of course, my interpretation will be different, but I’m going to attempt to go at it from more than one angle.

Productive could mean having a high level of output. Churning out a lot of stuff, be it e-mails, notices, articles, blog posts, etc. Just a lot of whatever it is that you’re doing. So if you are a writer, you will write a whole crapload of short articles that touch on a single subject briefly. Or if you’re a veterinarian, you’ll try to process as many sick (or healthy, if it’s a check-up) animals as you can in your working hours.

Productive could also mean getting things done properly the first time. Doing your best to provide the best possible output you can in an appropriate amount of time. So an example of this would be if you are writing up a report for work, putting enough effort in so that it isn’t sent back multiple times for editing. Or if you are a chef at a restaurant, putting the effort in to ensure that each order is cooked as requested to avoid dishes being sent back.

But to me, personally of course, productivity means spending the majority of your time doing things that are important to you. Doing tons of busy work to fill time just seems like a way to kill time. Why do that, when I can spend my time doing things of real importance?

Making sure that any important things are taken care of is certainly important, but do you have to do it all? The short answer is probably no. There is always someone who is willing, and probably able, to do the busy work for you. So hand off the simple things, and focus on what’s really important.

There is a common saying that I see pop up just about every productivity website that I visit, the Pareto Principle, which says basically that 80% of your income/output/rewards come from 20% (the top 20%) of your input/efforts. So if you focus more of your time on the top 20% of your input, you will see greater results. This can apply to just about everything in life.

The simple matter is: the more time you spend on things that are important, the better results you will yield from them. Therefore, the more time you spend writing productive and informative posts and articles, the better the results you will receive from them. Alternatively, the more time and effort you put into your relationship (either with your friends, spouse, coworkers, or child) the better results you will see and be able to benefit from in that relationship.

Spending your time productively, in this scenario, would relate directly to the quality of work and time spent as opposed to the quantity. When you go about your daily life, consider the impact that your work and efforts in even the smallest things will have on those around you. Consider that even the smallest thing you do will have an impact, then strive to create the biggest positive impact you can.

Peace and serenity,

Simply Me

Also, I am featured over at Green ABC's today for a guest post on eating locally! Check it out!

Belated wedding gift - A behemoth!

As a belated wedding present, my mother bought me a top-o-the-line computerized sewing machine. I asked for a sewing machine, and I got a behemoth! But seriously, this thing, once I figure it out, will be amazing. It's got like twenty preset stitches, and that much I can figure out how to work. The issue lies in how the heck I'm supposed to thread the needle and stuff! I looked at it, looked at the instruction manual, and I am lost.

Luckily for me, the store that sold the behemoth to my mom offers free beginner sewing lessons. I wouldn't be surprised if it was titled something like "Learn to use the behemoth - Step 1" but who knows! I still haven't called about this. Talk about procrastination at it's best!

My first goal with this new beast will be to make a few handy sized bags. I have some fun fabric scraps that a friend of M's gave me that will be perfect for practicing on. I just need to actually get around to pulling it out (which isn't far, it's on a bookshelf in the living room, haha) and plug it in. Maybe tonight I will pull it out to start experimenting with, we'll see how I feel after work.

In other news, I am planning on moving to my own domain name! I haven't figured out what it will be yet. I am seriously looking forward to the move though, it is very exciting for me and I can't wait to start fiddling around with my new site. I will be getting help with this, from a friend as well as my dad, so at least I'm not going to drown in information!

If you have any ideas, thoughts, or quips about either behemoth computerized sewing machines or owning a domain name, feel free to share them below.

Easy snacks and fun facts

So we just finished the first batch of homemade granola that I made a few weeks back. I used the recipe from the Healthy Snacks To Go e-book at Kitchen Stewardship, and I gotta say it really was super easy. I never would have imagined that making granola was so simple. I am looking at trying to make the energy bars next time, along with some more granola.

The granola I'm going to try to make today, as it only takes about half an hour as long as I have everything (which I'm pretty sure I do). Maybe I'll throw some chopped dried apricots in there as well to add a little bit of additional sweetness.

So far, all that's needed is:

Quick Oats oatmeal (picked up at the Bulk Barn)
Chopped cashews (Bulk Barn)
Sunflower seeds (Bulk Barn, I chose unsalted)
Honey (purchased from a local vendor)
Dried apricots (or raisins, craisins, or other soft dried fruit, Bulk Barn)

I may be missing a few ingredients, but those are the main ones. Katie at Kitchen Stewardship very politely requests that those who do purchase her e-book (which is my favourite recipe book by far) don't share the exact recipes on the web. Instead, let me tell you that this is the best granola I've ever had. It is baked in the oven, so if you are baking something else, make your granola at the same time and save energy!

I've also made applesauce thanks to the simple and easy directions of this e-book, and now I don't even need to reference it anymore to make perfect and deliciously fresh applesauce any day I please. Since apples are in season right now, that's a lot of apple sauce! But it all gets eaten, so I must be doing something right.
What are your favourite easy to make recipes? Do you have certain things you fall back on when you need a quick snack? Do you consider your personal health as well as the environmental impact of your snacks when you choose?
Peace and serenity,
Simply Me
Please note there are affiliate links in this post that will help me earn a small portion on every sale of the Healthy Snacks to go e-book. Thank you for helping to support Simply Green!

Getting organized your way

Ever feel that you are responsible for more things than you have time for? Or that no matter how often you try, you can never find what you're looking for in a normal amount of time? These things are but a few symptoms of a problem that is more widespread that can even be imagined.

Being disorganized is a very common problem, and it is very hard to find a method or system that can organize you. This is because no matter how many experts help you, or how many different methods or organization you try, the fact is that each and every person needs something different to organize their lives.

Personally, I have tried many different methods, and I'm still working on finding the exact solution that works for me. But in continuing to search for and find things that put me closer to being organized, I have come to collect little bits and pieces of various methods. I don't fit into an organizational cookie cutter, and neither will you.

Instead, try different things and keep in mind that just because the whole system may not work for you, a portion of it probably will. Conglomerate a variety of tricks from a range of organizational systems and you will find a perfectly unique system that works perfectly for your life. Don't try to force yourself to fit into a process that does not match your life.

Although I cannot offer a fix-all system for organizing your life, I can provide a few tips on how to start your search for your one perfect mix of systems.

First off, determine why you want to be organized. Is it to find things more easily? Is it to keep track of your goals? Whatever your reason, it is important. You do not need to share your reason with anyone, it's purely for yourself. This is the one thing that will help keep you motivated to keep going, regardless of how many setbacks you may experience.

Secondly, figure out if you are a list-based person or a full-sentence based person. Creating lists seems like a great way to organize yourself, until you want to put in a whole paragraph to explain what needs to be done. There is nothing wrong with wanting to write out specifics, don't beat yourself up over it if you do. Are you perhaps somewhere in between? Try not to confine yourself to the realm of to-do lists. Branch out and decide on how you want to set yourself up for success.

Finally, remember that your idea of organization will be different from others around you. One person may find organization in labeled files and coloured boxes. Another may find piles of relevant and related material all put together is organized. The possibilities are endless. Open your mind and allow your thoughts to lead the way, because they will show you the way to how to sort out and organize your life, your thoughts, and your dreams. Then take the steps to make it happen.

Resolution Update

Despite falling behind on my word goal for last week (1873 it total for the whole week) I am far ahead for this week! As of Wednesday afternoon, my total for the week is over 8000, averaging just about two thousand words per day. This has been facilitated by having new platforms to write on.

I have started writing articles for but I'm still waiting for any of the articles I've written for them to become live. For beginner members, articles take from 7-14 days to be posted live, but they are reviewed by a real person to ensure proper subject matter as well as proper formating. It's a free service that is primarily for sharing information and expanding on your ability to link and backlink. They have fairly strict rules that writers have to adhere to, which helps weed out those who aren't serious about sharing information. So far, this is a very positive platform for me, despite that it will not make me any direct money.

I made two lenses (so far) on and plan on adding more. This is a fun little social networking site that is fully focused on specific topics. It's fun, and very user friendly. I recommend checking it out, especially if you're looking to expand your circle of writing a little bit more. It's very easy, and is mostly automated. It's also got levels, so the more active you are on a regular basis, the more special things you can unlock, such as themes. It is also possible to make money through squidoo through advertising clicks as well as Amazon and eBay affiliates. You can also choose to donate a portion (or all) of your revenue to a charity of your choice. I'm still experimenting with this, but so far it has been a very positive experience.

I also have two articles (so far) up on Unlike ezinearticles, helium articles post immediately with no need for any verifying before they become live. They are two separate platforms that I'm experimenting with right now. It is also a free service, however it is possible to make some money (slowly) through posting articles here through traffic. Other users can rate your article in comparison to others, and the higher your rating the higher your possibility to make money. From what I have read, it is not a quick or easy way to make money though. It is for more of a pastime and enjoyment writing, but it also expands my writing abilities and the reputation to my name on the internet.

I'll be adding direct links for my writing to the sidebar shortly, so stay tuned if you're interested.

This is just one way that I am working towards my passion of writing. It is also a very productive pastime (link) that may save or even make me money. I am all for that, as I am working on becoming self-sufficient through my writing!

Sharing my thoughts, information, and perspectives is one of my favourite things to do, so if you enjoy my writing, I hope you'll follow along!

Also, I am making preliminary motions towards having my own domain name, so that is exciting news! If you want to share your positive, negative, or helpful advice or experiences with owning a domain name, feel free to share them below!
Peace and serenity,
Simply Me

Create Beauty

Creativity is often thought, or presumed, to have only to do with arts. Graphic arts, digital arts, or verbal arts, but always arts. There are many ways to display and emphasize creativity without being artistic.

This may seem a little bit odd coming from me, as I declare myself as a creative artist. But simply because I am an artist, does not mean that I think any less of the other forms of creativity.

Music is an art. Drawing and painting are arts. But creativity is everywhere. Creativity is adding your signature at the end of a note, or decorating your living room. Your personal flair is what creates and amplifies that aspect of life. Don’t hold it back.

Creation requires creativity. If you want to create something, from something as simple as a filing system, you need creativity. Each and every person I have ever met has the potential to be creative.

Most individuals were not given the chance to show their creativity. It has been shot down, blocked and subsequently repressed. It is time to break it out. Set it free.

Anything that you add your personal touch to has been affected by your creative nature. Holding this back will leave you feeling that your input is not relevant, or not important, but it is. Each person’s personal and individual interpretation on anything is what makes it come alive.

Life is beautiful, and it is miraculous. It is creative and inventive. Life has an open mind to the imagination, and the freedom to become what you want it to be.

Beauty is a subjective thing, so your view of beauty will invariably be different from your neighbour’s or your family’s view of beauty. Creating beauty can be as simple as having affection for something that you have created. Your influence on the world around you will create beauty all on it’s own, and adding your conscious efforts into that will magnify the level and quality of the beauty that you have created.

Peace and serenity,

Simply Me

Wednesday's Small Steps: Weekly 'Earth Hours'

Everybody heard of Earth Hour? It’s the last Saturday in March where the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) organizes and sets up a time (8:30pm) where everybody who wants to participate turns off their lights for one hour.

Seems pointless, right? This is one example of small changes adding up to big effects. The first year it ran, it was in Sydney, Australia and approximately 2.2 million residents turned off all non-essential lights. Fast forward to March of 2010, and over 120 different countries participated with a minimum of 100 million people having participated. 90 million of them were in the US alone. Large and well-known structures are taking place in turning out their lights, including Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, and the Sydney Opera house to name a few.

If you’re still sitting there thinking it’s only one hour, once a year, take the next step. Pledge to participate in a weekly ‘Earth Hour’ and turn out the lights for one hour once a week. Give yourself some family time or alone time, and enjoy the natural light of candles or sunlight. Go for a walk, play some board games, read a book, or tell scary stories.

Each week set aside one hour where you will turn off all electronics and focus on real life. Turn off the cell phone, log off the computer, and unplug the television. Spend time with your family, friends, or with yourself. Let your mind flow where it wants to flow without restricting it. Allow yourself to try new things and to do things outside of your routine. Enjoy the freedom.

Small steps will save the world. All it takes is one step in the right direction. Enjoy your time, save energy, just once a week.

Peace and serenity,

Simply Me

Enjoy the Small Steps series? Let me know what you think below.

Compassionate Parenting: Communication

To encourage more connection and heartfelt co-operation between you and your child, communication needs to be a two-way street.

In the coming week, notice the flow of communication between you and your child. Is it one-way or two-way? Are you doing most of the talking? Do you notice that sometimes your child isn't even listening?

Communication is a two-way street. I remember hearing that as far back as I can remember. Many years ago, my parents were trying to get some information out of me that I did not feel like sharing. What the subject was is now irrelevant, especially since I can’t remember, but feeling intimidated into speaking I remember. I have a better and more heartfelt connection with my parents now than I have since I was very young. I can communicate with them, and have conversations with them as an equal. It is very empowering to feel this way.

As a child, you already know that you are smaller than adults, and that you have more expectations that you feel are unfair. To also be spoken to and talked down to as a lesser being just makes the situation worse. I’m not saying that every parent talks down to their children, because that is obviously not true. I am merely suggesting that those who do choose to talk down to their children ‘because they’re children’ should reconsider their line of thought.

When you were younger and your mother or father would nag at you to clean your room, do your homework, be nice to your grandmother, etc did you really want to follow these rules? Or did you just ‘yeah yeah’ and continue with your day? Personally, I didn’t really listen to the words that came out of my mother’s mouth when she was droning, because it didn’t feel like she was actually talking to me. It felt like she was just talking for the sake of talking, and she wasn’t trying to engage in a conversation. Probably because she wasn’t.

Don’t take me for a fool, I love my mother and I know that she did exactly as she thought was right. I’m proud of who I’ve grown into, and I know that I can thank her for a decent portion of it. My level of self-worth may or may not have been affected by the nagging tone I got from her, but let me assure you that I’ve heard the nag from a fairly high percentage of my family members. They nag because they care. But do you want to make others feel the way you do when someone nags at you?

If you want your child, or your friends, or your family, to listen to your point of view then you will need to engage them. Get a conversation going, and turn the subject onto the matter you want to express. Discuss the pro’s and con’s. Maybe it will seem stupid to have a conversation about why your child’s room should be kept clean, because it’s obvious to you. But it isn’t obvious to them. They are young, and they don’t know the rules of life, it is your responsibility to teach them. So teach, discuss, inform. Don’t demand without explaining the why, they’ll never retain the information this way.

The same goes for others in your life, whether they are your age, older or younger, because everyone deserves to feel included. Everyone deserves to feel that they have a say, and everyone deserves to understand why certain things are expected of them.

Open the lines of communication, and relish in the new depths that your relationships with achieve. Others will feel valued around you, and they will want to spend more time with you. Your children will feel important and worthy of your attention because you take the time to express yourself. Your time now is worth more to their future than you could ever imagine. So take the time.

Peace and serenity,

Simply Me

Enjoy the Compassionate Parenting series? Click the link for a full list from the series.

The Three R's - Recycle

The third, and final, part of the ever-important 3 R’s of eco-friendly living, not to mention less stressed living and more frugal living, is recycling. Recycling is typically known as being those little blue and black boxes that you fill with your plastics, your metals, paper and glass that gets picked up every week (alternating weeks for us Ontarians) along with the garbage.

Trust others to deal with your trash?

Does that seem safe? As much as I would love to have trust in the government to keep us safe and properly process our garbage, I must admit that I just don’t. They are all-too-often only looking out for themselves, and they like to keep us little people in the dark. I’m sure they do take the blue and black boxes away, and maybe they do process them down and make something new with them. They must, for we see post-consumer recycled content in many things, from McDonald’s take out bags to toilet paper.

All too much I’ve noticed that the items containing recycled content are not things that you would hope to see. Recycled content seems to have become synonymous with down-cycled content. Why does our recycling turn into something less than it once was? Why can’t it become equivalent or even become something more?

Think outside the box

It can. It takes some effort, and it takes innovation, but it can. The process is called up-cycling, and personally I much prefer it. It may not always be feasible, but it is an option for many things. Taking something that you no longer have use for, maybe it’s even broken or its use has been erased. Turn it into something useful, or even decorative. Create beauty from refuse and trash, and showcase it.

Recycling plastics – hoax to make you feel better about consumption

In order to recycle plastics, they need to inject and release just as many toxic chemicals into it as there was originally placed into it upon production. The energy reduction (or amount of energy saved) by using recycled plastics as opposed to producing new plastic is around 5%. That hardly seems worth the chemicals and toxicity that it brings into the planet. It is for this reason that I completely advocate getting rid of unnecessary plastics. They are a detriment to the environment by every angle. Not only this, but when you recycle plastics, it loses quality. It can no longer become what it was recycled from. A plastic bottle from bottled water can not become a new plastic bottle, it is too low-quality. It will become plastic lumber, netting, etc. Then what? You cannot recycle a plastic once it has hit that low quality mark, it just becomes garbage.

Recycling other materials

Recycling should be promoted for things that can actually be recycled and maintain their current quality. Glass, metal, and paper can all maintain their quality once recycled. They can become what they once were. A glass bottle can be melted down and made into a new glass bottle. An aluminum tin can be melted down and made into a new aluminum tin. These items can go full circle and start again. They are worth the effort of recycling, because they save a considerable amount of energy by recycling them as opposed to creating new materials.

Last and definitely least

Remember that there is a reason that recycling is the third on the list. It should be your last option. Just because you have curbside recycling available doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to reduce and reuse first. The purpose of recycling is to catch the remainder of what cannot be reduced or reused, so use it as such. If you are buying things that you know are excessive, and validate it by saying “well, the container is recyclable” you are just doing yourself and the planet an injustice. Rely on yourself, don’t buy more than you need and can use, and the planet will be grateful.

Peace and serenity,

Simply Me

This post is part of a series. Part 1 - Reduce and Part 2 - Reuse

The Three R's - Reuse

The next item on the list of primary and essential ways to follow green living and lessen your footprint on the earth is also simple: Reuse.

By reusing things that have further use to you or someone you know, you pass on and increase that item’s value. Reusing your belongings, possessions, etc is very easy and does not have to take up a lot of time or space. It may actually save you both.

Examples of choosing to reuse

For example, instead of using single use paper towels, grab a cloth rag. You will be able to use that one rag infinite times more than you could dream of using a paper towel. They are not even comparable in cost, as you have to buy paper towel, but you can make a rag out of any piece of fabric. Another example, instead of buying the single serving size cups of yogurt for your lunch, invest a few dollars into small reusable containers (I’ll bet you can find some at your local second hand store!); this will allow you to spend less money on the larger tubs of yogurt (way cheaper by weight/volume) and you’ll get enough to last you longer.

There are a few other obvious examples of reuse, such as investing in a stainless steel water bottle and stop buying bottled water, or bring a set of utensils with you when you go out for lunch so that you don’t have to get the single use plastic utensils. Countless options for you to follow that will lower your impact on the environment exist, all you have to do is pick one and get started!

Find a way to take something that you were going to throw in the garbage to either make it into something new, or to reuse it. Challenge yourself a little bit every day. Don’t be afraid to try new things, you might find something that was more efficient than you imagined!

Good example of a chronic reuser

If you want some very fantastic and interesting ways to reuse objects, check out Rob’s World. Every few days he posts a new project that he’s just completed, and honestly it’s all pretty simple stuff. Not only that, but you can guarantee that no one else will have the exact same copy of what he has made.

Spend your shopping dollars where it counts

My favourite method of following reuse is by choosing where to shop. Whenever possible, I choose second-hand stores (such as Value Village, but not the Salvation Army) because that will keep these items from being trashed. These items that are donated to these stores are still perfectly good. The clothes are still (usually) in great shape, the utensils and dishes often unique and elegant. You can also find some very high quality vintage items for dirt cheap. Not to mention supplies for just about any do-it-yourself project!

Continue the second-hand cycle by donating your goods that you no longer needs to your local second-hand store (again, try to avoid the Salvation Army) so that someone else may be able to make good use of your old treasures. When you are slowly decluttering your home and life of excess stuff, drop the items that are still good off there. Clothes that don’t fit anymore, or that you just don’t like, drop them off. Continue to fuel the circle, and it will continue to provide for you.

Peace and serenity,

Simply Me

This post is part of a series. Part 1 - Reduce and Part 3 - Recycle

The Three R's - Reduce

Maybe you’ve noticed, and maybe you haven’t, that I have kind of drifted away from the green living topics. It’s not that I have changed my lifestyle, if anything I’ve gotten a bit crunchier. Every day I look for opportunities to improve my life as well as lessen my impact on the world around me, and that will never change.

Most of the subjects that are very useful information related to green living have been pretty well done. I read enough different blogs, articles, websites, forums, etc to feel that anything I have to add would be fairly minimal on these subjects. Sure, I have my own opinion of things, but who wants to read the same thing said twenty different ways?

The true and simple concept behind any and all true green living practices (as opposed to green-washing, which just makes you think you’re benefiting the environment while lining the pockets of different corporations) can be summed up in three words.


First and foremost

Reduce is the first mentioned on the list, and for a very good reason. It is the first line of defence in protecting natural resources, time, and energy. By reducing, you are taking the time to consider the need of items, and making sure that you only take what you need. It is the easiest and most effective way to have a positive effect on the planet when used properly. Using less stuff will lower the demand for raw natural resources. With a lower demand on natural resources there will be less destruction of ecosystems and natural habitats. Less destruction of ecosystems will lead to the planet reaching it’s balance once more, as it will not be being actively torn apart by man’s constant want for new.

Reducing the amount of stuff you have in your home/office/life will also result in less stress. Stress about money or stress about where to keep all of the stuff, and how to keep it all clean and maintained. Stress that the body does not need or deserve. By having and wanting less stuff, you will not only save money by purchasing less, you will also save money by having better health due to lowered stress levels.

Start simple, think big

Reducing may seem intimidating at first, but don’t let it scare you. Starting simple is the easiest way to go about it, and starting with something small is a great way to tiptoe your way into the environments graces. Don’t take big leaps unless you think you can make it, and don’t try to push yourself too hard, because you will just increase the likelihood of burning out. If you’re looking for somewhere small to start, keep an eye on the small steps series I have been creating. Cut things out one at a time, and in time you won’t even miss them. You may even find life more enjoyable when you have less stuff to worry about.

Peace and serenity,

Simply Me

This post is part of a series. Part 2 - Reuse and Part 3 - Recycle

Compassionate Parenting: Needs Explained - Celebration

Celebration: to rejoice in or have special festivities to mark a special day. To observe or commemorate with ceremonies.

By being able to celebrate and commemorate large or moving events in our own way, we learn to sort out and validate our own emotions. Rejoicing in the larger occasions and instances of life make them more memorable and they can help to create smaller celebrations.

Large celebrations

The larger celebrations, such as birthdays, baby showers, bridal showers, bachelor parties, etc, create a fun and somewhat spontaneous atmosphere that helps people to relax and accept things beyond their normal routine.

Celebrating birth, birthdays, Christmas or other holidays, is a great way not only to commune with others who is also a large part of the celebration, but a wonderful way for to feel like a part of something more.

Celebrating the passing of a loved one, be it a family member, friend, or beloved pet, can also assist in the healing process. Being able to freely grieve a personal loss, or even an impersonal loss, in an individualised way can make it easier to rationalize emotions and remember the memories more fondly.

Small celebrations

Smaller celebrations can be anything that isn’t lifestyle changing, or has a very small affect on lifestyle. For example, celebrating the completion of a short story’s final draft, or being able to out-drink friends at the bar. It can even consist of smaller victories than that, such as eating a healthy meal or writing a journal entry.

Anything that marks a pebble on the path to achieving a goal, no matter how small, should be celebrated.

Celebrations do not require going out and getting hammered, or even buying a chocolate bar or trinkets. A celebration can simply be to do a little happy dance (see the lotto 649 happy dance) or doing something that normally would be saved for a larger success. Each and every success in life, and even the failures on the path to success, should be celebrated and rejoiced in

Celebration and personal freedom

The act of celebrating, for either a small or large event, allows for some personal freedom and also opens the door for conversation. It also offers the personal choice on how the event affects each person’s present and future.

Celebrating the known aspects of life, such as birth and death, allows each person to accept the unavoidable with a more pleasant and positive attitude. To accept change and celebrate it increases and solidifies the quality of self-talk as well as the level of self-worth that each person has.

Create the silver lining for each dark cloud, and they will seem more void of despair and hopelessness. Consciously choose the response to life and its events based on what type of outcome is desired.

Peace and serenity,

Simply Me

Enjoy the Compassionate Parenting series? Click the link for a full list from the series.

Link Share!

Time for another link share! Here are some links I've come across in the past few weeks that really struck me as interesting. It's hard to narrow it down, because I find a lot of good sites, but I'm trying not to double up too much on the same hosts.

Homemade Disinfecting Wipes - The handiness of quick cleaning wipes in a more environmentally friendly aspect. Making your own takes little time, and will even save you money!

Are your germs pink, or blue? - Gender stereotyping beyond the normal realm. Kids only take on the limitations that we give them, so placing them in a box even in terms of illness is quite sad.

Hidden BPA... On money? - Is there anywhere this pervasive and hurtful chemical can't end up?

Boiling Frogs - An appropriate analogy. Frogs will not jump away or fight or do anything if they are boiled softly and slowly. Isn't that what we're doing to the earth? New look on climate change.

If you enjoyed these pages, please leave them a comment, I'm sure they would appreciate to hear your feedback! As always, I enjoy receiving your feedback as well. Webpage statistics are one thing, but real people responding is something completely different.

Got any links you think I'd find interesting, or that you'd like me to share? Let me know.

Peace and serenity,

Simply Me

Working out with a partner

Getting physical exercise is known to be good for your health. Keeps your blood pumping and increases fitness. It also releases endorphins, which create the happy and satisfied feeling that you get after exercising or eating something like chocolate.

Now, if you want to further increase your endorphin levels, as well as reinforce an interpersonal bond, try exercising with a friend or partner. Working out with your partner, especially, has a healing and bonding effect on your relationship. Not to mention the one-on-one time the two of you will have, and the common ground you will both share.

This past week, M and I have started cooperative exercising. We take turns leading the exercises, and mix it up. It’s a lot of fun! I show her a few yoga poses, and we both get a great stretch and release. We toss weighed balls back and forth to work out our arms and shoulders. We did sit-ups, and tandem squats with interlaced arms.

This may sound incredibly dull, and if I were doing it on my own, it certainly would have been. But with M, there’s an added challenge, as well as company. She is right there with me, and so we work out together.

Not only did I manage to actually work out (an accomplishment for me!) but I actually enjoyed it, and look forward to the next time we will be doing it again.

Because of the release of endorphins during exercise, the two of you will have synchronized chemical reactions where your endorphins will both create the feeling of happiness as well as evaporate stress. These feelings will create a more open relationship and you will likely find yourself drawn nearer to your partner once more.

Now, if you are exercising with a friend, similar reactions will happen. You will feel a closer bond with the friend, and you will begin wanting to spend more time with them. If you are already in a relationship, I would recommend mixing up your exercise partner to avoid any undue stress or accusations that may occur, particularly if your partner is known for being jealous.

Exercising with a friend will create a more open friendship as well, which will lead to a deeper connection between the two of you, and you will feel more able to open up to them. It is always good to have a friend you can talk to about anything, and regular exercise with this friend will create simple opportunities to begin a conversation.

Working out with a friend will also give you time for yourself to spend time with someone aside from your partner, which is very good as many people have difficulty doing activities without their partners.

Instead of just drilling away in the gym, or in front of the workout video, invite someone to join you. Reconnect in a way you could never have previously imagined. Relish in the openness of your newly rediscovered relationship.

Do you work out alone? Consider inviting your friend or significant other to join you. What sort of coupled or partnered exercises do you like best? Share your preferences, and learn something new!

Peace and serenity,

Simply Me

Looking forward to 2011 – Goal #2

For now, I will be creating only two goals for the new year, with smaller goals popping up periodically.

My second goal for 2011 will be:

Make one small change per month towards a greener or simpler lifestyle.

This will be easy enough to track, and I will definitely be making updates at least once per month. I will be working on deciding which changes to make as the times progresses.

For January, my small change will be:

Spend less than 200$ on eating out/entertainment that is fallen back on for laziness sake.

M and I, as bad as it is, tend to fall back on eating out when we’ve had long days, and it usually isn’t particularly healthy food we choose either. Vacations will be different, not that I foresee making a ton of those in the next few months, but they are no excuse to go all out.

We also have a tendency to buy movies and video games that attract our eyes, despite having more than enough to watch/play that haven’t even been touched yet.

Small changes are the easiest to make, and they also provide the doorway towards larger jumps. Moving towards a simpler, more sustainable lifestyle is a long-term goal for me, and each step will take me closer to that ideal lifestyle I’m looking for.

Peace and serenity,

Simply Me

Looking forward to 2011 – Goal #1

This year, I’m going to try and create resolutions (or goals) that can be followed up on and reported on. I will be checking in at least once per month (probably around the beginning of each month) with an update.

This year, my first goal will be:

Write at least 1000 words, 5 days per week.

This is relevant to my writing dreams, and will hopefully push me towards expanding my skills and abilities in the writing field.

Seeing as I write each article in Microsoft Word (or whichever word processor is handy on the computer), it will be very easy to keep track of the number of words I write. By the end of the week, my tally of words should be over 5000.

I believe this is a realistic and attainable goal, but it will also be a challenge in terms of finding time to write as well as inspiration. I will not be confining myself to any particular subject for the writing, so long as the words are written.

I am not permitting myself to ‘word buffer’ or repeat words over and over again unless they are relevant to the subject I’m writing about. I plan on writing 100% original content, no matter what I write.

These 1000 words per day will not include any freelancing jobs that I pick up, they will be fully on my own personal time.

Starting January 1st, I will be putting this goal forward and working towards it each day.

Those who read this blog will have the pleasure of reading a very large portion of what I write, but if you are interested in any of the creative writing I will be doing or any non-blog relevant writing, drop by my other site or send me an e-mail.

I look forward to pursuing my writing further this year than ever before.

Peace and serenity,

Simply Me

Looking forward to 2011 - Making resolutions

Each year, countless people make resolutions that are both non-concrete and immeasurable. A resolution is simply a goal, and to make a goal that will be followed through on, you need certain things.

Goals need to be S.M.A.R.T. By S.M.A.R.T. I mean the following:

Specific – The goal needs specifics determined, so ask the 5 W’s. Who, what, when, where, why, and how. (Example: General goal “Lose weight” Specific goal “Lose five pounds per week” or “Reach 140 pounds”) Particular importance lies on the “Why” because if you have no concrete reason, or purpose to the goal, then you will be less likely to stick to it. Find the why, and then determine the rest.

Measurable – The goal needs to be able to be tracked. Pick certain traits regarding your goal that will aid in assessing your progress. (Example: BMI or measurements for weight loss, physical abilities for fitness, etc)

Attainable – The goal has to be something that is possible to attain. A goal that says “I will not hurt anyone” is unattainable, it is impossible to avoid hurt as it happens sometimes without us being aware. A better example would be “I’m going to help three people each day without expecting anything in return”

Realistic – By realistic the goal has to be both possible to attain, and you also have to be willing to attain it. Self-destruction is one of the top ways that people stop reaching for goals. It is generally easier to attain higher goals, because you will know that there is more work involved and you will find yourself thinking success because of the challenge.

Timely – A goal needs to have a timeframe. If you want to lose weight, saying “Lose 10 pounds” is not finite, you could be giving yourself years to complete this. Instead, think “Lose 10 pounds by June 1” or “Write first draft of novel by March 1” etc. Give yourself a due date, and stick to it.

With these qualities, you become that much closer to success, because your goal will be something real, something that you have put a lot of thought into and prepared yourself for the steps.

Now, let start making goals!

Peace and serenity,

Simply Me