Shaw and EVERFI bring learning home during COVID-19

This post is in partnership with Shaw. All words and opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that keep this blog full of fresh content.

Some of the biggest challenges of having children at home right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic is keeping them occupied, keep them active and keep their minds engaged. Trying to ensure they receive the same level of education, or at least something that resembles it. Parents everywhere are struggling to balance schoolwork with working from home among other big challenges. 

If you are like me, you’re also actively trying to fill the void of other people in your child’s life. From playmates to teachers, and coaches to grandparents, to other caregivers, our children are missing a lot of important people at the moment. But that’s okay. This is temporary. Things might never be the same as before but we’re figuring out new, innovative ways to approach learning in the home.

That is why I was pleased to find out that Shaw has made an investment in digital education for Canadian children. Shaw has partnered with EVERFI, a digital learning platform, to supplement schoolwork and help with added activities at home. The best part of this digital learning experience is that it is free to register.

As a reader of this blog, you’ll know I have long been in partnership with Shaw, trialing new tech products and experiences. As a parent, I am proud to work with them as they recognize the challenges of digital education and offer up their support to Canadian children and their parents.

I signed up my five year-old son for EVERFI back at the beginning of the pandemic and he has been enjoying playing the two programs for his age group: Healthier Me: Elementary School and Word Play. He is still learning how to read so sometimes he requires my help to complete certain tasks in the games but for the most part he’s doing great with everything. I’m impressed at how quickly he picked up using the computer; he had only really used iPads/iPhone in the past but he’s managed to adapt quickly.

From his perspective, the programs are a lot of fun! He’s been excited to have a break from his pencil-and-paper schoolwork and incorporate some tech into his day. Some direct quotes from him while he’s been exploring the programs:

It is really cool and it is really helping me learn about what makes you healthy. I am learning about all the different food groups that I need to eat each day. I like the character Chester.

I just really like it. I feel like I am being creative while I do the games — and it is fun to use the computer.

It is helping me learn how to read better while having some fun.

There are seven programs in total that Shaw has sponsored - focusing on everything from healthy lifestyle and financial literacy for grades K-12. 

  • Healthier Me: Elementary School - Students can form nutrition and fitness-related habits that will last a lifetime. Help them learn how to make healthy choices through this game-based course. Grade Level 1-4
  • Healthier Me: Middle School Health Curriculum - In Healthier Me, middle school students embark on fun wellness adventures to make healthy, informed decisions when it comes to nutrition. Grade Level 6-8
  • Vault: Financial Literacy for Elementary Students - Students dive into a virtual world to learn the basic ins-and-outs of finances. Can you help a friend from space learn the difference between needs and wants? Grade Level 4-6
  • Ignition: Digital Wellness and Safety -Technology changes rapidly. Give your students the tools they need to keep up with technology and stay safe online. Grade Level 6-9
  • Mental Wellness Basics -Mental Wellness Basics is a digital resource that introduces middle and high school students to mental health education. Grade Level 8-10
  • Venture: Entrepreneurial Expedition -Students start their own food truck business, and learn to write a business plan, hire a team, hone their pitch, and balance a budget in the process. Grade Level 7-10
  • EVERFI: Financial Literacy - EVERFI’s high school financial literacy course equips students with tools to manage their personal finances in the real world, from applying for financial aid to establishing credit and investing. Grade Level 9-12

As we all continue to adjust to this *new normal* and await news on the future of our children’s education, I feel like the addition of these kinds of supplementary programs to the children’s routines is a huge help to enrich their ongoing teacher-led lesson plans. 

For more information and free registration for EVERFI visit https://shaw.everfi.com/  


This post is in partnership with Alberta Blue Cross. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that are keeping this blog full of fresh content.

If you are a person living on Earth during this lifetime, at this exact moment in history, it is highly probable that you’ve experienced some sort of strain on your mental health due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether you’re worried about yourself or someone you love contracting COVID-19, experiencing financial difficulties due to loss of work, dealing with loneliness, or just struggling to keep it all together for your loved ones, there are so many factors that can heighten your stress, anxiety or depression right now.

It can be a lot to take on right now. Who would have guessed you’d be navigating new things like ordering groceries online or braving the shops to ensure your household has food? The one thing I keep reminding myself is that I am not alone in this experience. While we are all isolating, it’s easy to isolate—internally—even further. This is not a time to let your mental health slip. 

As an Alberta Blue Cross plan member, I was alerted to their Text4Hope service at the beginning of the pandemic. For the past two months or so, I’ve been receiving a daily text message in the morning to help set me up for success and support my mental health for the day. I read them aloud for Jack to hear as well, because the message can often help him too. Accessing this free service is easy. Simply text COVID19Hope to 393939 to subscribe free of charge.

Alberta Blue Cross joined forces with Alberta Health Services, the Mental Health Foundation, Dr. Vincent Agyapong of the University of Alberta and other hospital foundations across the province to launch Text4Hope

Text4Hope provides support to Canadians using Cognitive Behaviour Therapy-based messages. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) refers to short-term therapy that helps individuals identify negative thoughts, feelings and behaviours and shift them into healthy thoughts and behaviours when needed. 

When you sign up to the service, you can expect to receive daily advice, support and suggested actions from mental health experts to help you build adaptive coping skills and resiliency. I have found that these texts really set the tone for the day and even offer a bit of a reset if stress has been already mounting in the morning. 

Some examples of my favourite texts I’ve received so far include:

A key to improving mood is to increase your activity. This allows for positive things to happen, which improves your mood.

It is important to find a balance between pleasure and your to-do list. Try to do a bit of both today and see how you feel.

Take a moment to notice how you feel right now. Don’t judge your emotions or try to change them. Just observe them and see your stress levels reduce.

These simple messages are great reminders of how to take care of your mental health during this uncertain time. However, it is still important to stay in touch with friends and family, call your doctor as needed for prescription refills or advice, and get outdoors often for fresh air and sunshine.

For more information about Text4Hope, visit Text4Hope.ca.


I recently had an interesting conversation with one of my close friends. We were talking about women- led households and how in our modern society, typically, women are no longer reliant on marriage and are completely independent. It is not uncommon by any means. Talking more about it, we both noticed that we respectively know more women who are the head of their households than women who are not.

Including ourselves, we know countless women, female-identifying and non-binary people who have made the choice to live alone or co-habitate with fellow women. Instead of following more traditional household roles, they are doing it all on their own. Many of them are self-employed or single mothers, much like myself. I know single mothers who have made the choice to have a child on their own by opting for a sperm donor. Others have full-time jobs with a creative side hustle on the go; some also work in the non-profit world, making our city a better place to live through social programs, the arts and civic work.

One common thread between all of these people is the community of support they have. Setting up various lines of support for yourself is incredibly important for your overall well-being—whether you are on your own or not. The old phrase “It takes a village…” isn’t just for people raising children; it is for all of us. We all need many different kinds of people to help make our lives complete, to feel fully supported and to make sure our needs are covered. Whether it be a psychologist, a parent or a general practice doctor—by setting up and fostering these webs of support—we know that when there is a crisis, we’ll be able to handle it.

One line of support that I have found endlessly helpful is through my ​Alberta Blue Cross​ health benefits. Access to therapy and counseling services means that I can make mental health maintenance a priority for myself. As a self-employed person, having an individual health plan through Alberta Blue Cross has made a world of difference and has helped me to afford a variety of services that would normally be quite costly.

I believe that mental health should be at the top of everyone’s list for self-care. When I was in my early twenties, I tried going to counselling but quickly gave up on it because I thought I didn’t need it after a couple sessions. Turns out, doesn’t matter how big or small your problems are, it is extremely beneficial to talk to someone unbiased who can help you work through whatever you are going through. When I signed up for an ​Alberta Blue Cross​ individual health plan again (I’ve had Alberta Blue Cross twice now in the past seven years of being self-employed and the reassurance it gives me for health and wellness is so worth the monthly payment), I knew I wanted to take advantage of the maximums to see a psychologist and I haven’t looked back. It is just so helpful to talk to someone outside of your immediate circle to keep things in check and work on yourself.

And it isn’t just psychologists that you can access through your plan, there are a range of professional practitioners you can utilize in your life to assist with your health and wellness. Massage therapy, acupuncturists, homeopaths, naturopaths and osteopaths are all covered under their Blue Choice and Blue Assured plans—meaning you can afford other ways of finding balance in your personal life.

Beyond what they offer through their plans, you can also search their website for direct-bill providers so you don’t have to pay out of pocket when seeking medical help. Once you are a plan member, you can access their Balance program, which is a rewards program to help you maintain and improve your health and wellness through points and prizes. If you need incentives to help you on your journey, this is a great bonus through Alberta Blue Cross.

Professionally, I believe it is important to always be seeking out higher learning opportunities. This can be found through formal educational institutions or through smaller training events or evening networking opportunities. A really valuable relationship you can introduce into your life is in the form of mentor or mentee or both. In years past when I was first starting out in my career, I was really grateful to have the support of several mentors who helped me see my path a little clearer. It is equally important to give back and mentor others. It doesn’t have to be formal mentorship—I find that there are always people seeking out a bit of knowledge or need a push in the right direction. Being a mentor is so valuable.

Last but of course not least, cultivating your friendships and relationships with family members is key. As a single mother, it is very important to me to have my family very present in my son’s life. Having that support and knowing they are in my corner gives me a lot of inner strength. The same goes for the family you choose—your friendships. I’m really lucky to live in a building that is inherently community-minded. One of my oldest friends lives below me and I have made new amazing friendships with other single women in the building—sometimes it feels like the plot of sitcom! Having a few close friendships where I know that I can call them for anything I need definitely lifts a weight off my shoulders.

As someone who likes to believe I can *do it all* on my own, I’ve really learned a lot about asking for help, building my community and giving back over the past three years of single motherhood. It really does take a village to make a person complete and there is absolutely no shame in that.

This post is in partnership with ​Alberta Blue Cross​. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands and organizations that keep this blog full of new content.

Life & Wellness with Freedom Mobile + iPhone X

Just over six months ago, I made a big change to my personal finances and connectivity; I switched my phone plan over to Freedom Mobile from one of their major competitors. I had been with that company since I was a teenager but they just weren’t providing me with the service I required anymore and I was overspending on my phone budget every single month. Switching over to Freedom has been a game-changer for me - transitioning my account over was entirely seamless and I’ve never had any issues connecting to their network this whole time. Before I switched to Freedom my phone bill was sometimes upwards of $135 - now it is $65 total. The best part is, I have so much data available I never have to stress out over adding more data to my plan halfway through the month. To help others understand what a change this has been for me, I am sharing some of the ways I use my iPhone in everyday life - for entertainment, fitness, connecting with family and making wellness a priority.

With so many articles and news stories telling us that we need to get off our screens and how harmful it is to constantly be connected on our devices it is hard to imagine that actual good can come from staring at our phones. But I am constantly finding that there are ways that my phone usage can actually contribute POSITIVELY to my life.

The new Screen Time feature on the iPhone has been a bit eye-opening in terms of how I’ve spent my time when using my phone. As much as it is disconcerting to see how much time you may have wasted scrolling through social media it is a good tool to change your ways. Phones are an essential part of life, so there is no getting away from that, but setting healthy boundaries and time limits on your screen time is a good way to be more present and avoid feeling guilty when that Screen Time notification rolls around at the end of the week.

One of my favourite ways to use my phone is to discover new music on Spotify. I can get lost on there, going down rabbit holes, from one artist to a new one, discovering beautiful music that speaks to me. In terms of wellness, music is definitely how I unwind and re-centre myself when I am feeling stressed out. I love that thanks to Freedom Mobile’s data plan, I’m able to stream new music wherever I am and not worry about overage charges.

Imagine this, but one of my main uses for my phone is actually one of its intended uses: connecting with family. My son and I use FaceTime everyday to chat with my parents. Even though we all live in the same city, it is so nice to be able to connect daily and see our family. My son loves to call his grandparents every night to say goodnight before bedtime. We also have been using apps like WhatsApp to have a family group text going. My brother was recently in Hong Kong for nearly two months for work and it allowed us to keep in contact, share jokes and see how he was doing despite the 15-hour time difference.

Keeping up with my personal health and wellness is also important to me and I use my phone to constantly track my progress. Using my FitBit watch and app, I am able to keep up with my fitness goals and make sure I am moving enough during the day (a problem for any self-employed person who spends a lot of time in front of a computer). Meditation apps like Headspace are great for creating a calming routine in the evenings before bed or taking a break when things get stressful.

I am always trying to find new ways to use my phone in a way that contributes to my life in a positive way. Ultimately, switching my account over to Freedom Mobile has been a huge part of that. Upgrading my phone to the iPhone X has expanded my creativity and the Freedom Mobile plan has helped me access the tools that I use regularly without worrying about going over my data plan. It is exciting to have so much possibility in the palm of your hands and I’m looking forward to continuing to explore these possibilities with Freedom.

This post is in partnership with Freedom Mobile. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep this blog full of fresh content.

Best Of: Health + Wellness for Freelancers

I often get asked what is the hardest part about being a freelance writer or self-employed. While I might initially say it is the daily grind of pitching, writing and networking, I think the hardest part is actually making time for myself and focusing on health and wellness.

I’ve been working from home as a freelance writer for about six and a half years now and it has definitely been the most fulfilling experience of my working career. While working for yourself can give you an incredible sense of freedom, you can also end up falling into a workaholic pattern and never allow yourself the freedom you had originally expected in this career move. Focusing on your health and wellness should be just as important as invoicing for your work. To maintain your creativity, ambition and energy you definitely need to be thinking about your physical and mental health at the same time.

Since becoming a freelancer, my life has gone through a number of personal changes—the most important of which was becoming a mother. There are so many benefits to being a self-employed parent but it also means constantly evolving and being adaptable with how you work. It is easy to let your health and wellness slide to the wayside while you are caring for another human as well as putting in so much effort and time to your career or business.

In partnership with Alberta Blue Cross, I am sharing a few of my tips for maintaining your health and wellness as well as ways to ensure that you make preventative healthcare measures a part of your daily life. I was previously an Alberta Blue Cross plan member when I was first starting out as a freelancer and have been a plan member again since the start of the year. I feel like ensuring that you have health benefits as a self-employed or freelance person is very important. I treat it just like another yearly business expense and it has given me the freedom to get massages, buy new glasses and contacts, seek counselling when I need it and not be out of pocket for prescriptions. It is a small cost to pay (either monthly or yearly) to have that piece of mind of not having to come up with the cash for prescription medication when you get sick or be thrown by a medical emergency.

Alberta Blue Cross offers an online wellness program for their plan members called Balance. This program  helps plan members take control of their health and wellness by giving them the opportunity to receive wellness-inspired rewards as well as take part in health risk assessments, gain access to health trackers and educate themselves with interactive tutorials.  It is all part of their “Blue For Life” vision at Alberta Blue Cross, and their expanded focus on wellness—to ensure that the individuals and communities they serve are not only healthy but also well.

Besides being a freelance writer, I am also a work-from-home mom. Daily exercise is not only important to me but also to my preschooler. We make an effort to get out of the house every day to run around—whether it is just to run errands or to run around our neighbourhood park or playground. We love going for long walks together so I try to make sure we fit one or two in every week. Beyond the benefits of being active everyday, I find it does wonders for my creativity and motivation to step back from the computer and get some fresh air. Some of my best ideas are visualized when out in nature, exercising or taking some sort of technology break.

Which brings me to rest and mental health; your mind is powerful and it is what your entire business relies on so it is very important to keep your mental health in good shape too. I highly recommend seeking counseling at anytime in your life to talk to an unbiased trained individual about your concerns, whether it be business or personal.

Another way I keep my health and wellness in check is ensuring I make time for myself to seek out inspiration or let my creativity flow. Anytime I’ve felt stagnant or stuck on an idea, it has been because I hadn’t made my creativity a priority. It sounds really simple to carve out time in your schedule to be strictly creative or seek out new ways of looking at or thinking about things, but personally I always feel a twinge of guilt for doing so. It is something I’ve heard from many of my fellow freelancers: it is hard to break free from the “must-always-be-working” feeling of being self-employed. Without taking that time however, you’re only doing a disservice to yourself by not allowing yourself to form new ideas, experience new things and find new ways of doing things. Wellness is a definitely a word that gets thrown around a lot these days and can mean very different things to different people. For me, the definition of wellness is anything you are doing to actively prevent future health issues. It could be anything from taking yoga and pilates classes weekly to seeing a psychologist once a month to reading self-care books. You get to choose what wellness means to you and how it affects your personal health.

This post is in partnership with Alberta Blue Cross . All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep this blog full of fresh content.


With the start of the school year rapidly approaching now is the time to get your children’s eyes examined by a doctor of optometry.  A comprehensive eye exam from a doctor of optometry is essential for all kids to make sure they are ready (and able) to start the year seeing clearly. Going for a regular eye exam is the best way to ensure that your child’s eyes are healthy. The doctor of optometry will work with you  to tackle any vision problems that may arise. I have partnered with the Alberta Association of Optometrists to help spread awareness of the importance of your child visiting the optometrist each year, how important (and awesome) sunglasses are and ways you can reduce the risk for myopia in your child’s eyes. Myopia, otherwise known as nearsightedness, is a common eye condition where close objects look clear but distant objects appear blurred.

As someone with eye sensitivity, I’ve always worn sunglasses religiously - they are my favourite accessory. Jack has been wearing sunglasses since he was a wee babe - and luckily thanks to my diligence so early in his life, he actually never leaves the house without grabbing a pair of them. One thing that is super important when shopping for sunglasses for your kids (and yourself) is to make sure that they have 100% UV filter protection. Sunglasses should block out 99-100% of both UVA and UVB light.

Here is a crazy statistic that I just learned: researchers estimate more than 80% of our lifetime exposure to UV rays happens before age 18. That is pretty unreal and really drives home the point that children should be wearing protective eyewear since birth!

Did you know that sun protection should be worn year-round when eyes are exposed to the sun? I find that Alberta is especially bright and sunny during the winter with the glare off the white snow; it is super important to keep those eyes protected. Sunglasses aren’t just for summertime! If your child is an avid outdoor swimmer in the summertime, you can also purchase 100% UV filter goggles to help protect their eyes as they enjoy swimming.

The Alberta Association of Optometrists is promoting something that I truly love; swapping screen time for green time. The Association is encouraging families to spend more time outdoors rather than on screens. There have been direct correlations made between an increase in access to advanced technology (phones and tablets) and an increase in cases of myopia in children.

In today’s day and age, we can rely on technology a lot throughout our days - sometimes a lot more than we should. Getting out into the great outdoors, exploring or taking a walk through the neighbourhood is an excellent way to give those eyes a break. Especially with young children, we should all try swapping the screen time for more green time. Myopia typically gets worse with age - so it is key to start paying attention to how much screen time your child is getting as early as possible.

Jack was due for his annual appointment and he did great - but we did discover that he has an astigmatism and may require glasses this fall. He is scheduled in for further testing later this month to confirm that he needs glasses. He starts school in September so finding this out now is such a relief as I want him to be able to focus on learning and not worrying about being able to see things properly. We’ll be shopping for prescription glasses and sunglasses for him soon!         

**This is a sponsored post written by me in partnership with the Alberta Association of Optometrists. All writing is my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support The Archives of Cool!


Summer is in full swing and all Jack and I are doing is planning our next inner-city adventure. From natural playgrounds to outdoor pools to the perfect picnic spots, there are endless opportunities to enjoy these beautiful summer days right here in the middle of the city. I’ve partnered with Alberta Blue Cross to share our favourite parks and playgrounds to inspire you to get out and be active with your family this summer. We walk everywhere (and are getting our bike repaired shortly) and love exploring the city by foot. All of these fantastic parks are in easy walking distance of each other so you can make a day of it or come back time and time again for some fun adventures with your family.

A really exciting aspect of Alberta Blue Cross is how they get involved in their local communities by encouraging people to be active and take preventative measures towards a healthier lifestyle. One avenue that they explore this through is the Healthy Communities Grant Program, which is an annual grant program that supports and promotes active living across the province. Five $50,000 grants are awarded each year to support community amenities and facilities that promote active living. That is a LOT of money that could go a long way to impact an entire community.

So, you are probably wondering what is a valid entry for projects that can be entered into the grant program. Some examples include construction or replacement of children’s playgrounds, outdoor adult gyms, cycling paths and recreational facility improvements, but if you have a really great idea for your community there is a good chance you can make a good proposal for their consideration. The deadline for applications is August 31st so you still have plenty of time to get your great ideas into Alberta Blue Cross! Grants will be awarded in December. Apply now or check out their website for more details.

Like I mentioned, one of my favourite ways to keep active in the city is to explore all of the amazing public parks that we have. Jack and I have such an amazing time heading out on little adventures; the further the park, the more exercise we get and the more fun we have together. It is a win-win.

I’ve rounded up my favourite parks in the city to visit, in no particular order. Perhaps you’ll make them part of your summer or perhaps they will inspire you for your own Healthy Communities Grant Program application—with fresh and innovative ways to improve your neighbourhood parks.

Central Memorial Park is definitely one of my favourite parks in the city—not just because it is absolutely beautiful. While it doesn’t have a playground on site, it makes up for it in sprawling lawns, pathways, flowering gardens and beautiful fountains—including sidewalk fountains that kids can wade in —and is home to the oldest Calgary Public Library location in the city, Memorial Park Library. We love visiting this park thanks to its close proximity to home but also for the heritage aspect, which I feel is another important element to maintain. Many days we will come here for a picnic, to play in the sidewalk fountains and visit the library. With stunning vistas of downtown and the Calgary Tower, it is easily the most picturesque park in the city.

1221 2nd Street SW

Haultain Park, which is conveniently located across the street from Central Memorial Park is a really great recreational park in the Beltline with a huge playground, tennis courts and a field for kicking a ball around. It is located right around the corner from the City of Calgary Beltline Fitness Centre, which is another great resource in the community for active living. It is also home to the historic Haultain School which is Calgary’s oldest sandstone school and the first public school to have electricity and running water. It is now one of the Parks Foundation Calgary offices.

225 13th Ave SW

St. Patrick’s Island is one of the most popular parks in the city, located just over the St. Patrick’s Island bridge from the East Village and just a stone’s throw from the Calgary Zoo. The Island re-opened in 2015 and quickly became an imaginative home-away-from-home for kids and families of all ages. One of the most magical aspects of the park is their commitment to public art with a beautiful sculpture called Bloom. There is also a seasonal “beach” area for wading and fishing, endless meandering pathways and  the amazing Rise which is a hill built into the park that’s perfect for tobogganing or a carefree roll down. Endless fun can be had at St. Patrick’s Island—there is always something new to discover.

1300 Zoo Road NE

Thomson Family Park is located just a quick walk from the bustling 17th Avenue SW. With a super fun playground complete with a giant slide (that can be accessed by climbing a staircase or a hill) this is a great spot to bring your kids for an afternoon picnic. In the summer, they have sidewalk fountains that are an absolute blast for the kids (and dogs) not to mention they cool everyone right down. There is an open green space for play, which actually used to be home to the Calgary Lawn Bowling Club. It is transformed into an outdoor skating rink in the winter—such a great spot all year round!

1236 16th Ave SW

Riley Park is the absolute best park if you want to feel like you’re on vacation right in the middle of the city. Their wading pool waterpark is the best place to hang out on a hot sunny day with some friends—it is complete with a gorgeous little island in the middle with huge trees that provide ample shade for those of us who want to enjoy the warm weather but stay out of the sun. Riley Park is also home to a huge field for getting active and playing sports in.  The amazing playground on site will certainly spark some imaginative play in your child. One of the secret hidden gem parts of the park is the tiny fairy home that some creative soul installed into the base of one of the older trees on the path leading out of the park; it truly makes you slow down and appreciate the small things.

800 12th Street NW

**This is a sponsored post written by me in partnership with Alberta Blue Cross for their Healthy Communities Grant Program. All writing is my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support The Archives of Cool.



**This is a sponsored post written by me in partnership with Zero Excuse Go. All writing is my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support The Archives of Cool.

I cannot stress enough how important everyday movement is - not only for general fitness but for your overall wellness. A big part of my lifestyle is that I walk everywhere; I live in inner city Calgary and it suits my lifestyle to just be walking distance from everything that I need.

As someone who has seen their body fluctuate in size and weight (hello pregnancy + the after effects combined with major and stressful life changes) I know how hard it can be to find a path of health, weight loss methods and a fitness routine that works perfectly for you. But as a (fairly) young mom with a growing young boy, I know how important it is to maintain my health through nutrition and exercise.

Zero Excuse Go is a new Canadian E-health online program that uses Telemedicine to work with clients on their major weight loss goals. This isn’t for people who just want to lose a few pounds - it is for people who want to overhaul their entire outlook on weight loss (typically at least 40 lbs) and actually see major results.

Just a quick disclaimer that I have not used Zero Excuse Go (on average it is about a year long process) but wanted to help spread the word about this Canadian-based service that has the possibility of changing people’s lives drastically by improving their movement, nutrition and overall outlook on their health.

So, you are probably wondering what is Telemedicine and how does it work? How do you lose weight using Telemedicine? Essentially, it is the remote diagnosis and treatment with a team of trained health professionals consisting of a psychologist, dietician, fitness trainer and nurse through telecommunication technology. When you sign up for Zero Excuse Go to achieve weight loss by telemedicine you are monitored by their multidisciplinary team that is in contact with you every single day, meaning they can track your weight, physical activity, blood pressure, blood sugar level and beyond. So, how do they get this information? As part of the program, you are sent a scale, fitness tracker, blood pressure measurement device, glucometer among other devices depending on your individual health needs. The data from all of these gadgets is sent directly to the clinic where the team will analyze it in order to make suggestions and provide guidance and coaching to you.

There are two parts to how the team will monitor you: telesurveillance and video conferencing. Telesurveillance is the remote patient monitoring, where they count your steps and other info. The data comes in on a daily basis. Video conferencing is done with a team of professionals on a rotating basis. Each week the patient meets with one health professional (nurse, dietician, psychologist etc) and the topic is around the health professional’s area of expertise. For example, the meeting with the psychologist may be about motivation or how to set goals.

Based on your results, the team will create a weight loss program unique to you complete with a plan for healthy eating and exercise. If you have over 40 lbs to lose, this will be an amazing asset to your weight loss journey. With the constant regular monitoring they are able to check in with you to see where you are at and make changes or adjustments based on your progress. The program can last anywhere from four to 12 months, depending on your needs. Once you meet your target weight, there is an optional maintenance program that works with clients to make sure they don’t regain weight after the initial program is over. Accountability is a huge part of the program; the patient’s accountability to themselves by looking at their progress on their phone and fitbit and the patient’s accountability to their team of health professionals which adds motivation.     

I’ve read and listened to the client testimonials and it is really inspiring and impressive to see how these people have transformed themselves - in really quite a short amount of time. It shows me that when people are being coached and guided by professionals, they are capable of truly improving their health and changing their entire lifestyle - with real results. I also think it is great that it is a Canadian-based company - and actually the first of its kind in Canada.

If you’re looking to lose some weight and revolutionize the way you approach eating and fitness, Zero Excuse Go could be a game-changer for you. To get information about the program, pricing and how it would work for you, simply sign up on their website, or check them out at their Facebook page here.


Let’s end bullying in schools - once and for all. It sounds like a daunting yet inspiring task, doesn’t it? The idea of quashing the kind of negativity that SO many of us were faced with (if not all of us) during our formative school years is downright thrilling. My son won’t be in school full-time for a couple more years, but I’m already wondering what things will be like then. Hopefully our schools will be more than equipped with bullying prevention programs and it won’t be an issue anymore but we still have a long way to go to get to that point.

That’s why I’m partnering with Shaw to bring attention to their Kindness Sticks Grant Program, which rewards youth who want to make a difference in their school. From now until April 30th, students across Canada can apply to earn 1 of 10 grants of up to $5,000 to bring a positive initiative to life. Working together to apply for the grant is a great way to get your kids involved in making their school a better place and encourage them to spread positivity in their community.

There are endless possibilities for your kids to dream up - all it takes is some creative brainstorming! I’ve been dreaming up a few ideas myself that I would have loved to see at my school when I was a kid:

  • How inspiring would it be to bring in some live music for a concert centered around positivity and kindness? Getting the school band involved would be a great way to get everyone participating in the event.
  • Another fun idea would be to have a ‘free lunch’ day and organize a school-wide picnic, encouraging students to bring a picnic blanket, make new friends over delicious snacks and enjoy some sunshine during the day.
  • Why not start a kindness club whose members perform random acts of kindness throughout the year? Those acts of kindness could be anything from providing students with some great snacks to get them through busy exam time, or small thoughtful gifts like flowers in the cafeteria - there are so many ways to make someone’s day!

If you are looking for a way to help inspire positivity and bullying prevention at home, it can be as simple as creating daily initiatives that bring happiness to your child’s life or even for your own well-being and self-care. You can then take those ideas out into the world and implement them at work, school or anywhere you go. My idea is to leave little notes with daily affirmations and positive thoughts around to brighten the day of anyone who might see them.


There is a lot of opportunity to spread good will just through words or actions. I looked on Pinterest and started collecting inspiring quotes and affirmations that I knew would help me start the day with a positive outlook and inspire others to pass on the good vibes. I used the sticky notes Shaw sent me for Pink Shirt Day in February (another great bullying prevention initiative!), but any sticky note will do. If your kids can’t read/write yet, you can help them practice writing words like LOVE, KINDNESS, GENTLE, NICE, or simply draw symbols like hearts, happy faces and rainbows. It is a super fun way to get them involved and spreading positivity in their own way.

If you’re interested in learning more about the program and entering your child’s great idea for creating inclusive, supportive environments at their school, be sure to read more about the Shaw Kindness Sticks Grant Program here! Don’t forget that the deadline for entries is April 30th so be sure to enter soon to be considered.



Life can change in an instant and services like STARS Air Ambulance are the ones who can truly STARS provides critical care in life and death situations.

In the early 1980s, studies showed about half the deaths due to trauma could have been prevented if patients had received critical care sooner. When Dr. Greg Powell lost a young mother, who was being transported from a rural area to Calgary by ground ambulance, he decided something had to change.

That’s when he founded STARS. STARS first launched off the ground in 1985, the year I was born, so as a born-and-raised Calgarian, I know how important and essential it is to keep this life-saving service available in our province. Every time my son Jack and I see STARS in the air, we do a cheer for the real life superheroes on their way to help save someone in need. STARS air ambulance is now an integrated part of the Western Canadian emergency response system operating six bases in communities across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

For family day, we received a truly special gift from STARS which included this beautiful wooden STARS helicopter that Jack absolutely treasures as well as a note from one of STARS’ patients. Read the note here - it was really heart-wrenching to read because it puts these tragedies in perspective - this is a real child who endured a traumatic, life-changing experience but was saved thanks to the medical professionals that were able to reach them in time.

Dear friend of STARS,

Being in a car crash is scary. When I was six, I was thrown through the windshield of our family car onto the highway, close to my home. I was on my way to school.

My body was very sore and I had a really bad brain injury. My family was very worried about me. Our house was far away from a big city, so the paramedics knew to call STARS so the helicopter could carry me to the hospital quickly.  I was in a coma for three weeks and more than 400 people came to visit me.

Today, I am so much better. I go to school where my favourite subject is math. My teachers and my grandmother help me do my school work. I also play lacrosse and bug my brother a lot.

Even though being in a helicopter was cool, I don’t think I want it to happen again. I know that it took a whole bunch of people to save my life and that makes me happy.

  • Casey

They are currently in the midst of their big fundraising campaign; here in Alberta, a significant amount of STARS’s operating budget comes from charitable sources, including the lottery

Fundraiser. If you feel so inclined, I’d love for you to check out their lottery tickets. This lottery fundraiser is crucial to the ongoing operation of STARS and tickets start at only $25. There are some seriously incredible prizes up for grabs including cars, vacations and more. The ticket sales deadline is March 22. Get your tickets here!

In the meantime, keep an eye out for those real life superheros up in the sky and give them a wave! If you’ve been touched by STARS in some way be sure to share your story on social media using the hashtag #ISupportSTARS.

This post is in partnership with STARS however all words and opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting such an amazing cause like STARS here on The Archives of Cool.