wellness

BECAUSE KINDNESS STICKS

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

REAL LIFE SUPERHEROES IN THE SKY

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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.

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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.

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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

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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!

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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.

SEEING MORE POSSIBILITIES

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I have never taken my eyesight for granted. It feeds my creativity; it is my main source of productivity as a writer, blogger and photographer; I rely on my eyesight constantly as I seek out the best in decor, design and lifestyle trends for my work. As someone who works in a visual field, I couldn’t imagine not maintaining my eye health.

I spend hours behind the camera every month shooting interiors and products – and then more hours editing the photos in Photoshop on my computer. Once the photos are edited, then I am writing the articles or blog posts to accompany them.

Social media also plays a huge role in my job – I not only use it for promoting my work but also for connecting with like-minded individuals. Instagram in particular is where I find a lot of amazing designers, makers and interesting homes to feature in my columns. Without my “good eye” I wouldn’t be able to seek out these incredible sources of inspiration for my articles.

All of this being said, spending a lot of time in front of screens means I need to also spend a lot of time giving my eyes the rest they need. It is so important to take breaks while working – staring at a screen for sometimes four hours with no break can lead to bad headaches, dry eyes and even blurry vision.

Earlier this year I partnered with the Canadian Ophthalmological Society to share their See The Possibilities campaign and I’ve learned SO MUCH about the role of an ophthalmologist and the impact they have on lives of their patients. Most people don’t know the difference between an ophthalmologist, an optometrist and an optician. Luckily, they’ve given me the full scoop so I can share it with you:

If you don’t know the difference, ophthalmologists specialize in eye and vision care and are the only eye care professionals who are medical doctors. They are trained to perform eye exams, diagnose and treat eye diseases, prescribe medications and perform surgery. They also write prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses. While other eye health professionals can correct vision, only an ophthalmologist can restore it. Ophthalmologists are essentially the medical “quarterbacks” of the eye health team. They work collaboratively with the other eye O’s (opticians and optometrists) and other medical specialists to ensure optimal patient treatment and care.

Optometrists examine eyes for both vision and health problems and correct refractive errors by prescribing eyeglasses and contact lenses. An optometrist receives a doctor of optometry (OD), but is not a medical doctor.

Opticians use prescriptions written by an optometrist or an ophthalmologist to fit and sell eyeglasses and other eyewear.

As part of the See The Possibilities campaign, there are a number of amazing patient stories that share the transformative effect ophthalmologists have on the lives of their patients as well as the lives of their loved ones and family members. It’s so inspiring to see and also such a great reminder to remember how important it is to maintain your vision health. I know I will continue to put an emphasis on my own eye health and also on my son’s eye health. With a family full of people who wear glasses and contacts, I can only expect one day he might have to as well.

 

To learn more and watch inspiring patient videos visit seethepossibilities.ca

 

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This post is in partnership with the Canadian Ophthalmological Society, Eye Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep this blog full of fresh content.

SUMMER SKIN WITH EMPOWER

First things first; when it comes to self-care, health and wellness, one of the most important elements is taking care of your skin. That means regularly cleansing your skin, making sure you protect with sunscreen and moderate sun exposure and moisturizing it daily. Paying attention to your skin type and how your skin reacts to different foods, environments, seasons etc. is all part of that self-care that will ensure your skin feels and looks great.

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I recently was introduced to Empower, a Calgary-based skincare company that creates not only beautiful products but also creates business opportunities for women who are looking to get their start at entrepreneurism. First off, I love that the products include such great ingredients like organic aloe. It really makes a difference when a company cares about their ingredients.

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I tried out five different Empower products: Radiate Body Butter, Nurture am/pm Moisturizer, Organic Aloe Night Treatment with probiotics, Renew Natural Enzyme Exfoliant with Organic Aloe and the Clean Foaming Cleanser.  I was really impressed with all of the products – especially the Organic Aloe Night Treatment; it is so light and fresh feeling and you know it is working some great healing magic on your skin overnight.

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Empower has made it really easy to follow a skincare routine that is fairly simple and uncomplicated while also feeling great on your skin. Their three-step program starts with the Foaming Cleanser which is loaded with all natural plant and fruit based ingredients. After you gently cleanse your skin you move on to the Natural Enzyme Exfoliant with Organic Aloe. Natural enzymes from ingredients like papaya and pineapple give your skin a youthful glow as you exfoliate. Lastly the am/pm Moisturizer is going to hydrate and smooth out your skin. The formula is creamy without feeling heavy or greasy. It absorbs into your skin very quickly, leaving your face feeling light and hydrated. Overall the whole lineup is fantastic and I can see why this company has gained such growth.

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I caught up with the amazing entrepreneur behind this great company, Deb Bateman, to chat about how she started Empower and some of the amazing things about her journey in entrepreneurship, skincare and working with women. Empower is more than just a skincare product line, it is also a company that allows women to become their own boss, work from home and sell the product themselves.

Tell me a bit about how you got started with Empower.

I was a single mom with two small children, running hotels and I wanted more balance in my life. I wanted to find my passion. I quit my job in 2000, three weeks before Christmas and decided that I was going to start a training company based on my love of working with people. My company was called The Affinities Group. Over the next ten years, I was really fortunate to have the privilege to meet and work with many First Nations people through my work. I always wanted to create something that would help women start their own business.

I met with several groups of women that I knew well and trusted with my business ideas, and I said “if I were to start this company – what do you think it would take to be successful?”. They responded with: confidence, strength and honour. That is what I ended up calling our three Empower collections. Our skincare is confidence, bodycare is honour and haircare is strength – the last one out of respect to First Nations people and the importance of hair in their culture.

What was most important to you when starting Empower?

I wanted to create a company that would empower women to run their own businesses that don’t have the initial skills to start their own company. I wanted to help them get from point A to point B. A lot of people want to be entrepreneurs but they don’t know where to start. We’ve grown a lot since we’ve started – I believe that our company’s vision is truly powerful. Our focus is definitely helping people with the entrepreneurial side of things with amazing skincare and bodycare products. We have some amazing women who are working with us doing amazing things for themselves and their families. It is truly awe-inspiring to see.

If you are interested in getting involved with Empower and becoming an Independent Business Owner simply click through and sign up for more information or call 1-855-465-0819.

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

SEE THE POSSIBILITIES

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I have always had somewhat poor eyesight. I still remembering being in grade school and squinting at the chalkboard trying to make out the words. I still remember getting my first pair of glasses in grade four and suddenly being able to see so clearly. My eyes continued to get worse all through my childhood and into my twenties. Now they’ve seemed to finally slow down and stay somewhat consistent – a big relief to me as my contact lens prescription is already pretty high.

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Working as a writer and photographer requires me to take good care of my eye health. With a career that focuses on décor and design, my eyesight is super important to me – otherwise how would I experience life the way I do – or even make a living? In almost every part of my day to day I rely on my eyesight to create, write and share with my readers and followers.

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By partnering with the Canadian Ophthalmology Society to share their See The Possibilities campaign, I’ve learned a bit more about the role of an ophthalmologist and the impact they have on their patients. Most people don’t know the difference between an ophthalmologist, an optometrist and an optician. Here is what you need to know:

Ophthalmologists specialize in eye and vision care and are the only eye care professionals who are medical doctors. They are trained to perform eye exams, diagnose and treat eye diseases, prescribe medications and perform surgery. They also write prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses. While other eye health professionals can correct vision, only an ophthalmologist can restore it. Ophthalmologists are essentially the medical “quarterbacks” of the eye health team. They work collaboratively with the other eye O’s (opticians and optometrists) and other medical specialists to ensure optimal patient treatment and care.
Optometrists examine eyes for both vision and health problems and correct refractive errors by prescribing eyeglasses and contact lenses. An optometrist receives a doctor of optometry (OD), but is not a medical doctor.

Opticians use prescriptions written by an optometrist or an ophthalmologist to fit and sell eyeglasses and other eyewear.

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Now that you know the difference between these three professions, you can see how important it is to have all three to care and maintain your eye health. As part of the See The Possibilities campaign, there are a number of amazing patient stories that share the transformative effect ophthalmologists have on the lives of their patients as well as the lives of their loved ones and family members. It’s so inspiring to see and also such a great reminder to remember how important it is to maintain your vision health.

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To learn more and watch inspiring patient videos visit seethepossibilities.ca

 

This post is in partnership with the Canadian Ophthalmology Society, Eye Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep this blog full of fresh content.

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