Ghostbusters, The Breakfast Club and 8 Other Classic 80s Films to Watch Before You Die

Goonies_P Back to the Future_P

Ok am back at the blogface after a brief hiatus… And this week my focus is on that awesome decade of stone washed jeans, leg warmers and ridiculously big perms…yup, the 1980s. The decade I grew up in (well that and the 90s – am not that old yet). So the other month, I was so sad to see the Globe & Mail news alert flash up on my phone about the death of legendary 80s actor/director Harold Ramis.  So much so, I stopped mid-convo and had to share my sudden sadness with the person I was having coffee with – it was a ‘semi-business’ meeting so maybe not entirely appropriate, but I still continued to share my woes and explain what an awesome film Ghostbusters is and how it was a huge part of my childhood. Then only this week, I saw the below post about another truly coming-of-age 80s movie, The Breakfast Club. Yup, that was thirty, yes 3-0 years ago chaps…can’t quite believe it.

Breakfast Club_Polaroid Breakfast Club2_P

Ok, so even if I was four and five respectively when these films came out, and maybe some people are not avid film fans like me. But still, if you were born in the early 80s, Ghostbusters and The Breakfast Club have to be up there as some of the best. My father even mentioned my obsession with ‘Busters (as me and my sis tend to refer to it) in his wedding speech. Because at the age of about seven, I could recite the entire dialogue of each scene. So much so, I have irritated my husband numerous times by spouting out the lines even before Venkman or Ray have said them.

Ahh Bill Murray. Another absolute legend. I was however sad to see he didn’t really respond to Harold Ramis’s death, apart from a very sanitary statement courtesy of his lawyers. Fellow cast members Dan Akroyd and Rick Moranis took to the media and voiced their sadness, along with a host of other celebs. But then Mr Murray did actually redeem himself by speaking about good old Harold during the Oscars when he went up to present an award.  I have to say that ‘Busters is probably in my top five favourite films of all time. Why? Because it reminds me of an awesome childhood and is a film that I share with my sister and my Dad. We’ve watched the films countless times (along with the sequel ‘Busters II) and the comedy one-liners in the film are a solid part of our family vernacular. You can often hear father Cox (or simply ‘JC’ as we like to call him), asking “Oh ok who brought the dog” or “Well ok I’m gonna have a shower”. If you are not a Busters fan you will think this is all rather nuts. It also has to do with the fact that the setting of the film is New York City. Another absolute love of mine. Lots of my family holidays spent in this amazing city due to JC working there throughout the late 80s and 90s. You can imagine my delight, when in ‘Busters II Venkman, Egon, Stance and Winston took to the Statue of Liberty, brought her alive, and strutted her down 5th Ave in order to fight off the ghouls, the pink slime and that bald headed/half mulleted Carpathian freak who sprang forth from the painting. And it was all done to the tune of Jackie Wilson’s ‘You’re Love is Lifting Me Higher’. Honestly it’s the work of 80s comedy genius.

Ghostbusters_P

Now onto The Breakfast Club. I am incredulous when I meet friends of a similar age who have yet to see this film. Our obsession started when my sister played the Molly Ringwald charter ‘Claire’ as part of her GCSE drama project. As you can imagine hours were spent with her practising how to perfect her pout by applying lippy via her boobs, (if you’ve seen the film you’ll know what I mean). The Breakfast Club really is another classic as it takes all the stereotypes of school kids (the jock, the bad ass, the popular girl, the freak and the geek) and throws them together on a Saturday morning dentition. What plays out are brilliant scenes of teenage angst and awkwardness with habitual discussions about popping one’s cherry, who’s still a virgin and a good old session of weed smoking – another teenage experience prerequisite.  Despite the decade, you’ll love it, and apart from the clothing, the movie could be about any era. After all, each one of us has been through it and can relate. Were you the Prom Queen Princess or the nerd I wonder?

This then got me thinking about all the many other comedy films of the 80s bygone era. Films I grew up with and ones that have those classic one-liners and are the subject of discussion during many nights out with friends – with usually some drinking involved. However, there has been the odd occasion when a certain 80s classic film is mentioned and someone in the group hasn’t seen it. There’s usually an outburst with shrieks of disbelief such as “What? Where the hell have you been?” and “How could you have NOT seen it?” Films can of course define a decade, or an era in time and some of the below 80s movies definitely define an era I grew up in and are some of my absolute faves.

So here is my Top 10 List that you might want to refer to next time you find yourself in on a Friday night, poring over Netflix or the Apple TV offerings…from vampires to aliens, to time travel and yet more teenage angst, give one of these a go and you’re bound to be in for one hell of an 80s treat.

1. Ghostbusters – “Let’s show this prehistoric bitch how do things downtown” 

2. The Breakfast Club “Each one of us is a brain…and an athlete…and a basket case…a princess…and a criminal. Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club”

3. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – ” You fake a stomach cramp, and when you’re bent over, moaning and wailing, you lick your palms. It’s a little childish and stupid, but then, so is high school

4. The Goonies – “First you gotta do the Truffle Shuffle”

5. Back to the Future – “Whoa. Wait a minute, Doc. Are you trying to tell me that my mother has got the hots for me?”

6. Stand by Me – “Do you think Mighty Mouse could beat up Superman?”

7. The Karate Kid – “Wax on, wax off”

8. E.T. – “I’ll… be… right… here” 

9. The Lost Boys – “Great! The Bloodsucking Brady Bunch!”

10. Big – “Shimmy, shimmy, cocoa pop. Shimmy, shimmy, rock. Shimmy, shimmy, cocoa pop. Shimmy, shimmy, rock…”

Ferris Bueller_P      Stand By Me_P  Karate Kid_P  ET_P  Lost_Boys_P  Big_P

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Speaking up for the “Skinny” – Thoughts on “Thin-crimination”

Dove_Body

It’s taken me a while to post this, but I feel this is a subject that never really gets much air time – as in the other side of the ‘skinny’…so here goes…

Picture the scene: it’s lunchtime so you decide to head into the office lunch room and you spy a colleague chowing down on an oversized slice of pizza, a chocolate muffin and a can of coke. Would you ever go up to that colleague and with a certain “snoot” in your voice state “Oh I would’t eat that if I were you, you’ve obviously put on a few pounds lately and that lunch choice you’ve made will only make it worse”…umm…No. I thought not. You wouldn’t dare would you? Can you imagine the response you’d get? Especially if said colleague was a female and heaven forbid, a little more on the ‘rotund’ side of things.

Well, welcome to my world. I have had these sorts of comments my entire working life. Only in reverse. For some reason people seem to be so interested in what I’m eating for lunch and I have absolutely no idea why. The snide comments often come thick and fast. That’s why I have devoted this article to ‘Speaking up for the Skinny’ because I am totally fed up of being derided by other females for being slim (or ‘so skinny’ as am often called). Well I’m not, I am simply fit and healthy.

I think perhaps it’s because (again, heaven forbid), I choose to eat differently from them. Note my word choices here ‘eat differently’ as I think the word ‘healthy’ is somewhat overused these days. In fact ‘eating healthily’  to me doesn’t mean a jot, as I eat ‘this way’ all the time. It’s not even an issue. Always have done and always will do. My mother was an amazing cook and perpetually whipped up the best food for us growing up. Nothing was processed and this is what my sister and I were used to. Our dear mother taught us well, not only about natural, wholesome food, but how to prepare and cook it well too – thanks Mother dearest!

So back to the office lunch room. It drives me absolutely nuts that almost every time people see what I have brought in for my lunch (or what I order if we are out for lunch) there is a panoply of snide comments ranging from “Oh you’re always so healthy” and “I can’t believe you always eat like that” to “Oh you’re ordering a salad”. These comments are honestly utterly bonkers. Now I’m not at all against people asking me questions about new recipes – of course not, am more than happy to do this, but it’s the rude and snooty comments that are often hurled my way for no reason whatsoever. And I hate to be sexist here, but yes, you’ve guessed, most of these comments come from females. The way I see it life is all about choices. You choose what you wear every day, you have chosen your career path (in one way or another), you choose who your friends are, you chose your other half, you choose to go for a run or you choose to eat that slice of pizza. It’s YOUR choice and yours only, and quite frankly your choices are no one else’s business, especially when it comes to what you put into your mouth.

Look, we all know the science, you put crap into your body, you will get crap out. It’s not difficult folks. You want to get fitter or leaner? Make better choices with you food and your daily activities. I want to shout out loud sometimes “YES IT REALLY IS THAT SIMPLE”. Why should what I do and eat or not do and eat affect you anyway? A dear girlfriend of mine also suffers from this ‘skinny discrimination’ or ‘thin-crimination’ as I have coined it. She told me a story the other day about how her female colleague said “Ugh! It so annoys me how you bring your homemade healthy lunch to work every day, and ugh! I can’t believe you go the gym each morning at like 6:00am”. This to me is utter madness. How can these things annoy such women? One word. Jealously. It must be! Why else would such negative comments be bandied around? Again though, it comes back to CHOICES. These women have the CHOICE to fill their faces from the breakfast buffet muffin tray at the 8:00am meeting. They have the CHOICE to hoover up the crackers and sweet treat leftovers in the lunch room at 3:00pm in the afternoon.  I distinctly remember three occasions whereby I was once again in the firing line. One: I was ‘ordered’ to eat a cupcake, with the comment “Oh I want to see you eat a cupcake, you need to put on some weight anyway”. Two: “You’re not allowed to use the office gym as you don’t need it.” And three (I saved the best for last): “You skinny bitches” – yes, short and sweet, a nice touch that last comment isn’t it? It came at full pelt, out of nowhere, like a dry slap – torpedoed with venom at myself and another so-called ‘skinny’ colleague.

Can you imagine if the roles were reversed? If we did actually ‘Speak up for the Skinny?’. Let’s try a few shall we:

“Well, I don’t think you need another cupcake do you? I think you’ve had quite enough judging the size of your lard arse behind.”
“Ugh why do you always eat such processed crap? Is that why you are always ‘exhausted’ and in such a foul mood?”
“Ohhhh  so you’re ordering the extra large bacon double cheese burger for lunch I see, well, you might as well glue it to your gut.”

You would have an utter MUTINY on your hands if you dared to say anything like this. Yet us so-called ‘skinny minnies’ – sorry make that ‘skinny bitches’ – are subjected to such comments all the time about what we are eating, why we are eating and why we shouldn’t eat ‘that’ but should eat something else instead. Who gave these negative nellies permission to speak to us like this anyway? What the heck does it have to do with them anyway?

I just do not understand why all this thin-crimination goes on.  Just last week, the winner of the Biggest Loser was subjected to a huge amount of backlash because apparently she had lost too much weight. WHAT? I am totally bemused. Isn’t the point of the show to get fit and healthy? Yet this didn’t stop the Twittersphere and other media outlets lashing out with all sorts of ridiculous malicious comments about the winner. I thought we were meant to embrace body image, it’s something that many brands, celebrities and fashion icons have advocated for years. The Dove campaign from the early 2000s is a great example of how ‘normal’ women were used in their adverts.  Women are taught to ’embrace their curves’, which is all fine and dandy, but what about slimmer girls? Can’t we too celebrate our bodies without being told we are too skinny or have an eating disorder? That’s another thing that riles me, why is it people bandy that term around too, I’ve heard it being mentioned numerous times if ‘said female’ decides to go on a health kick. Eating disorders are a serious disease and just because a person wants to change up their routine by making different food choices and being more active, does not mean they are suddenly anorexic. It is ridiculous and it is just beyond me.

Such comments though don’t just happen at work, oh no. Even in social situations they can be rife. Again, I just simply do not understand why people are so interested in what I eat? Another element I haven’t mentioned is that I suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). I have had to deal with it for about eight years now, so am pretty well versed in knowing what I can and can’t eat.  IBS is an inflammation of the bowel and can be triggered by certain foods, especially gluten. I have got a lot better about telling people upfront about this, thanks to my husband telling me I need to do so. But even then, the comments still come thick and fast “Oh you’re not going to eat that?” – err no, I’m not. And before you make your absurd accusations about calories (I have NEVER counted calories in my life) it’s because if I eat that I will have stomach cramps and will be sat on the loo for the rest of the night. I find that being direct, blunt and anything mentioning “sitting on the loo” tends to work wonders. The other gem I often hear is “Oh yes IBS, I have that too”. It seems to be such a ‘trend’ for women to have stomach issues these days. If it’s valid, that’s absolutely fair, you wouldn’t want to wish IBS, or Crohns or ulcerative colitis on anyone. But I have been particularly flummoxed as have seen with my eyes so-called ‘sufferers’ eating all the foods that I know for a fact you can’t eat when you have IBS. But they tell me “Oh you’re so good”. It’s not even a question of being ‘good’, it’s a simple fact – if I eat that, I will be ill. And believe me, after eight years, I pretty much know these things. I have no idea where such strange comments come from.

Once again, I see that it is ‘women deriding women‘, whether is it from somewhat underhand comments in social situations or in a far more blatant way in the office. I feel that in far too many situations regular, healthy women get slapped in the face with all this ‘thin-crimination’. This is why I say we should “Speak up for the Skinny” be proud and content with ourselves and how we look. Therefore ladies we should say: “I don’t understand why my delicious meal irritates you” or “Why should my work outs or my daily hot yoga sessions annoy you? I don’t comment on your activities”. We should be able to say these things and NOT feel bad about it. We CHOOSE to live the way we live, and that’s why we not only look good but feel great too. That’s the most important thing. And again, I leave you with this: We all have CHOICES to make every day. So next time, focus on your choices and your life, before saying something negative to someone, just because they happen to be thinner than you. Honestly love, what other people are eating really shouldn’t be an issue, there are far more serious things in this world to get worked up about.

Until next time…

Live, love and laugh lots, Mrs T.

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Blast a Cold with this Souper-food Concoction

Mrs Ts Green Soup
I am pleased to say that since my last post I am 100% better and feeling great. I think in all, I had a cold for about three days and I managed to stave off a frightful bout of full blown flu. My last post outlined 9 of my tips to prevent cold and flu and they worked an absolute treat for me. It really does go to show how ‘home healing’ and natural remedies can indeed work wonders.  And you are likely to have all that you need already stored in your pantry and fridge.

So as promised, here is my go-to green superfood soup recipe that energized me back to full health. I might add that my husband has now come down with an sneaky sore throat so am making him gargle with tea tree oil in water (x8 drops) for 30 seconds twice a day. Plus am dosing him up with plenty of vitamins and my morning Smoojuices. So far so good and the sore throat seems to be subsiding.

So chaps, if you find yourself feeling a tad under the weather or you feel an unwelcome sniffle coming on, wazz up this bad boy in your blender or juicer and down a cup of glorious green goodness, like I always say, trust me, it really does work.

Until next time…

Live, love and laugh lots, Mrs T.

Green Superfood Soup
2 cups kale
2 cups spinach
1/2 an apple
Handful of arugula (rocket)
1/2 cup of coriander (cilantro)
1 small piece of ginger
1/4 tsp of nutmeg (to taste as this spice can be rather strong)
1/2 tsp of garlic powder or half a clove of garlic
Salt and pepper
2 capsules of spirulina powder
1 tsp of kale powder
1 tbsp flax seeds
1 tbs chia seeds

Method:
Wazz everything together in your food processor or blender until smooth – or leave it chunky if you prefer chunkier soups. Warm on the stove but DO NOT boil as boiling will destroy some of the nutrients. Add further salt and pepper to taste if needed, serve up and enjoy!

Spriulina_tablets

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How I’m Curing my Cold Naturally – My 9 Tips that have Absolutely Worked Wonders

Mrs Ts Green Soup
I have an absolutely stonking cold.
One that seems to have come out of nowhere and it’s driving me totally nuts. I never usually get ill, I don’t have time for it. Yet my poor nose is running and my sinuses are killing – the worst I think I have ever experienced. Also I consider myself to be a very healthy person in terms of what I eat and the amount of activity I do, so last December when I was struck down with an awful bout of flu, I was determined to get my immunity levels back up to its usual standard. Now, in terms of the flu shot – I have never had it.  It wasn’t common for young, healthy people to get the shot in the UK when I was living there (just the old, the young and the pregnant got the shots), so it’s never really been on my radar as I never got the flu. My mind may have changed though, as the dose of flu my other half and I were treated to before Christmas was in one word, horrendous.  I hadn’t been that sick in easily over ten years, probably more. So I thought “right, maybe it is time to get the flu shot after all”. Yet we arrive back in Canada after Crimbo in the UK, only to be told by various media outlets and friends and even my own doctor, that Calgary was clean out of the vaccine, lock, stock and barrel. Bloody marvellous.

So I embarked on ‘ramping it up’ in terms of my health and wellness – big time. There was no way I was going to get that sick again.  However, after somewhat burning the candle at both ends last Saturday (as one does when out with a girlfriend you haven’t seen in ages), and having one too many glasses of Prosecco (why do we always have that extra glass more?), I wasn’t feeling the best on Sunday, and by Tuesday I had a fully fledged cold.  I did manage to stave off any ‘flu-like’ symptoms by getting about 9 hours sleep a night (yes I am a HUGE sleeper, it’s one of my talents), and I had a wondrous Epsom salts bath. It was divine.  I could almost feel any hint of those foulsome flu bugs drifting away in the steam as I relaxed with face mask on and breathed in the joyful scent of Jo Malone’s ‘Roses’ candle.  An item that is a ‘must have’ for me in my bedroom and bathroom – much to the annoyance of my husband. He is always complaining about all my “lotions and potions” and how I often “smell like a Pharmacy”.  Well if smelling clean, fresh and natural like Jo Malone is like a Pharmacy, that’s one Pharmacy I want to visit. Her products make you feel like you have brought the spa home – totally blissful.

I also took a trip to one of my favourite shops – Community Natural Foods, to stock up on super foods and supplements to help me on my way to regaining a gold standard of health.  I have to say, after doing all of the below, I believe that my immune system will award me a Platinum level as I cannot believe how much better I feel! Try my top tips out below, I promise they worked wonders for me. Also share with me your top tips for beating the cold and flu season? I say it’s ‘power in numbers’ when you feel you are getting sick, so you need to really bash those bothersome bugs and viruses on all sides. Stay warm and stay healthy chaps.

Until next time…

Live, love and laugh lots, Mrs T.

9 Tips to Boost Your Immune System for Colds and Flu:

lemon

1. Love Lemons – I’m sure you’re all aware of how amazing lemons are for you. Not only are they great for your  digestive system (we all know about lemon squeezed in warm water and drunk first thing in mornings), but they are brilliant for your immune system as well. Lots of vitamin C, D and Zinc.  I swear by this little concoction below when I feel a cold coming on.  The cayenne gives it a nice kick, so you may need to experiment with how much you like.  I love mine spicy, great for the metabolism as well.

  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 piece of ginger, thumb sized – peel and cut into small pieces, then boil in water on the stove top for 15 mins drain and add to cup of hot water
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbs organic maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 grind of black pepper
  • 5 drops of bee propolis

2. Spirulina a Super Hero
This little bad boy is actually an ‘algae’ and is literally the best thing you can put into your body, whether or not you are feeling under the weather. Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you eat a load of pond scum, so stick with me here. It’s official name is ‘cyanobacterium’ and it is absolutely jam-packed with all sorts of goodness like protein (65%) and amino acids and a whole host of other things – you can check this other great blog ‘Wellness Mama’ to find out more. You can buy spirulina in either capsule or powder form.  I like the capsules, because you can take them as is, or you can open them and add them to all sorts, I often add them to my Smoojuices or soups, you can’t taste it, and it makes a really nice deep green colour. I honestly have felt a huge difference in my overall health and energy since taking spirulina. So make sure you check it out and start ramping up your own superpowers! 

Spriulina_tablets

3. The Neti Pot
The Neti what? Yes that was my reaction when I first heard about this, what on earth is this odd sounding, supposed ‘remedy?’  Then I Googled it and thought it looked even odder – basically a Neti pot looks like a very small jug with a long spout, a small watering can if you will.  You fill the Neti pot with warm water or a saline mixture (available from drug stores), bend over the sink, tilt your head to the side and then pour it into one nostril so that is drains out the other.  See? Isn’t it totally bizarre? It’s basically like doing a ‘nasal douche’, but far far better than the other sort of douche (something that I have never done or understood for that matter I might add). But it really does work. The idea behind the Neti pot is that it gives your schnoz a darn good clean out, sweeping out bacteria and relieving your sinuses. It does feel a bit odd the first time, but bear with it as it can work wonders. Visit this great blog I found giving you more info about a) signs that you need a good ‘neti potting’ and b) how to use this joyous little jug.

Neti_pot

4. Sleep it Away
As I mentioned earlier, I am a huge sleeper. I can’t always fall asleep and the quality isn’t always 100%, but I pretty much make sure I’m in bed by 10:00pm most nights.  As my dad always says “sleep is body maintenance” and it really is. When you’re feeling under the weather it’s so important to get even more sleep time under the duvet. You’d be amazed how much better you feel if you switch off the TV or put away your smart phone and just hit the hay.  It’s important your room isn’t too hot or cold, plus it must be really dark.  Eye masks can really help with this, we like to have a lot of natural light in our bedroom, but at night you want it really pitch black, so an eye mask for me is a must. So bounce to your boudoir early, because again, it works wonders for your health.

5. Even More Water
We all know by now that we should be drinking eight glasses of water a day.  But when you’re ill it’s even more important to up your H2O levels. You need the fluids to flush out the virus/bacteria.  Hot green tea is also a good option, looks for ones infused with Echinacea or add some drops of Echinacea tincture. You may find yourself heading to the loo more often, but this is a good thing, you’re clearing out the system, so drink up!

6. Optimum Oils – Oregano and Olbus
Two amazing oils.  The latter I have used to help me through colds since I was a little kid.  Olbus oil was introduced to me by my Granny and the smell always reminds me of her. Olbus is a combination of eucalyptus oil, menthol, cajuput oil, clove oil and juniper berry oil.  It is superb at clearing the sinus, just add a few drops to a tissue or add some to your humidifier or oil burner. The smell is wonderful and you can feel your nose clearing instantly.

I recently learned about the magic of oil of oregano.  It was very new to me, as I’m used to tossing the dried variety into my spag bol when cooking, but in this format you take a few drops of the oil in water or directly in the mouth.  Oregano is a powerful, natural antibiotic and also has antiviral properties.  Many health studies have shown how the oil has had great success in helping to ward off colds and flu. When you feel the symptoms coming on, be sure to get some of this in you.  But be warned – ensure you have a nice ‘chaser’ ready, such as a sip of coconut water or some fruit as it tastes really terrible.  But again, it really does work.

Olbas_oil

7. Simbacol
This to me is ‘liquid health in a bottle’. I was recommended this by the lovely sales assistant at Community Natural Foods.  They are not only very helpful there, but very knowledgable too. It is a syrup that has extract of black elderberry, an ancient plant that was used by Hippocrates for it’s antivirus and antiviral properties.  When you take Simbacol, the natural properties of the black elderberry attach themselves to the virus cell and ‘inhibit’ it from causing havoc in your body.  You can get a more scientific explanation and learn more here.

Sambucol

8. Green juice and soup
This is another go-to of mine when I feel out of sorts. I went to the supermarket and loaded up my trolley with a veritable forest of green goodness with luscious leaves such as swiss chard, kale, spinach, collards, coriander (cilantro) and mint. They all contain a huge amount of vitamins (A, D, C and K), not to mention an abundance of iron and folate. I feel like I have literally ‘juiced myself back to better health’.  I made different combos of both cold juices and warm soups, and will post my recipes on here soon as I experimented with some delsih concoctions! As you drink them you feel energized almost instantly, yes it can feel like you are drinking a meadow, but throw in an apple and some lemon and you won’t even notice all those greens. Find my ‘Souperfood Soup recipe here.

Mrs Ts Green Soup

9. Vamp up your Vitamins
I take vitamins every day, as I’m of the belief that they can help to improve your overall heath. Since moving to Canada my vitamin D levels were rather low, so after some blood work done with my doctor, I was advised to up my intake.  I ramp it up even more when I am sick too.  Below is what I have been taking and again, I can vouch that these are really helping me to feel better.

  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin C
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium and Calcium combo tablet – if you take vitamin D, magnesium it is also essential to take as it helps the vitamin D get absorbed into the body

Vitamins

Hope these hints have helped you – What are your go-to home health remedies to that you use to ward off or fight those pesky colds and flu??

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An Ode to Gwynnie: Talking Teff and Female Celebrities we Love to Hate

GP_Teff

Gwyneth Paltrow.  When you hear that name what thoughts does it evoke in you? Poor old Gwynnie has had a lot of negative comments made about her of late – she seems to be becoming the British version of Marmite, you either love her or hate her.  A nation divided over a woman who started out as an actress and was pretty much “Brad Pitt’s girlfriend” during the 90s. Until, in 1999, she irritated some women further as she donned that puce ballerina ensemble for the Oscars and blubbed her way through her acceptance speech.  Fast forward a few years and she’s now a wife, mother, model, actor, writer, singer and pretty much all encompassing domestic-goddess-slash-yummy-mummy-slash-supermum.  Yet so many women loathe her. Why is this I wonder?

Just this week dear Gwynnie has been splashed all over the news media touting the tremendousness of teff – the latest superfood that is about to change our lives and improve our nutrition.  Apparently quinoa is so 2013 chaps. And instead we should all be talking about teff, and more to the point, tasting it. Like quinoa, teff is an ancient grain that is popular (and grown) in Ethiopia.  Like so many other superfoods, teff is high in iron, calcium,  magnesium, zinc, and thiamin and it is a great source of fibre.  It is apparently more calorie dense than quinoa, but packs a better punch in terms of the vitamins and minerals it gives us.  I have yet to try teff myself, but this website I found has some interesting recipes, so I might just give one or two of them a whirl.

Now back to Gwyneth.  Is she really that bad? I know she has come under fire for some of her comments and articles on her health and lifestyle website ‘Goop‘. Again, the news media went nuts over her admission that she doesn’t feed her kids gluten – shock horror, I suppose we should be feeding them all a McDonald’s Happy Meal instead?  She also came under the gun regarding the items and eating plans she recommends on Goop are way out of the budget of the lowly female, living the average life and working the average job.  Well, I’ve been on Goop several times, and honestly, what is all the fuss about? Of course she’s going to mention more higher end items, after all she is a celebrity, I can’t see her shopping in Lidl can you?  Once again, it is the classic case of women deriding women.  It’s been going on for years and years.  But let’s face it, all women love a good bitch.  Even more so if said female they are bitching about is successful, happy and heaven forbid attractive and thin.  How dare she have all these qualities!  Why can’t women celebrate and embrace other women instead? For example look to Gwyneth Paltrow and be inspired by her cooking and her heathy lifestyle. I know I do.

The much talked about book ‘Lean In’ by Sheryl Sandberg was given iconic status as a breakthrough in the gender biases that women face in today’s working world. I have yet to read the book (is it worth a read?), however, I think the huge elephant in the room that needs to be addressed is how women are treated by other women in the workplace. Meredith Fuller has addressed this in her book Working with Bitches: Identify the Eight Types of Office Mean Girls and Rise Above the Workplace Nastiness.  A rather stand-out title that caught my eye.  To me THIS is exactly where we will find the issues that need to be addressed.  A male boss of mine once said to me “Females are always much harder on females” and yes, I believe him to be right in a lot of cases.  Now I’m not saying that all women in workplace are bitches, of course not.  In fact I think the title of the book rather dilutes the really important points Fuller is trying to make.  Women need to champion each other, we need to stick together and not moan and bitch about said female colleague in the office, just because she happens to have lost weight / have a new designer bag / won the pitch for the team / got praised by the CEO / is naturally thin (delete as appropriate) – this list can go on and on.  Several of these I too have experienced first-hand, and it has flummoxed me for years.  Whatever happened to “sisters are doing it for themselves?”

So back to Gwynnie and other successful and attractive celebrities who are often in the firing line from other forthright females – a la Joan Rivers style.  Why are women so passionate about ‘hating’ those female celebrities who seem to have their fingers in every pie and do seem to be successful at it? Is it because they believe that these types of ‘domestic-goddess-do-it-all-yummy-super-mummys’ paint an unrealistic world for the average Mrs Joe?  Perhaps, but again, you show me a working mother who is not ridiculously busy and trying to do it all.  Even mothers who are at home, (who by the way, I like to call ‘Home Managers’ as they have so much on their plate to deal with on a daily basis, it can make an 8:00am Board meeting look like a cake walk) are still ‘doing it all’ whether they realize it or not.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting to better yourself, whether it’s in work, at home or emotionally, physically or spiritually.  I don’t think these celebrities are to be loathed just because they are successful, instead they can inspire the average Mrs Joe to go further, achieve more and be their very own version of Domestic-Goddess-Yummy-Mummy-SuperMum – whatever that may be.

Each female is different and on her own path.  I am all for championing women, we need to help not hinder each other.  So next time you want to spout off, see what you can learn about you and ask yourself “why does this anger/irritate me?” as I am sure you will find that, deep down, you may actually want to be just a little bit like dear old Gwynnie, teff or no teff.

Live, love and laugh lots, Mrs T.

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February 5, 2014 · 9:58 pm

Hot Yoga Newbie? “I felt like I was inside a fart” – Quick Tips (read before you take your first class!)

LMC Yoga Lake Edith

Hello chaps – Happy Saturday! As I sit here with my morning Nespresso (shameless PR mention), I am reviewing a laugh out loud article about the virtues of hot yoga that was sent to be me by a friend earlier in the week.  It is from the Huffington Post and you can take a look and have a good old laugh at it here.  These comedy comments about hot yoga with quips such as “I could see my pubes” and “I felt like I was inside a fart” have inspired me to write a follow up to my previous post ‘Hot Yoga – Why should you try it?’

I realize now, that although I go into the benefits of practising hot yoga on a regular basis, I didn’t actually go into detail about what you can expect if you are an absolute Vinyasa Virgin.

So here goes, am trying to be as honest as possible, but remember – perseverance is key! Do not give up, and before you know it you will be practising the perfect pose in no time, sweating it out and enjoying all that downward dogging.

Hot Yoga Newbie Tips:

1.  Dare to bare
Wear as little as possible.  Ok, am not saying you have to don a bikini, as the person behind you will not appreciate the full view of your who-ha as they bend into dancers pose, but DO wear a light, strappy top and either shorts or capri pants. For men, just a pair of shorts will do.  You will die if you wear a t-shirt.  Just make sure they are made of fabric that will wick away the sweat.

2. Sweat Central
Yes, hot yoga is like doing a ridiculous amount of odd sounding moves in a mix between a sauna and a steam room.  You will sweat a shed load.  This is a good thing for detoxification. It’s called ‘hot yoga’ for a reason, don’t fight it, accept it, end of.

3. Downward Doggy Style
‘Downward dog’ is the mainstay pose of hot yoga.  And YES it is meant to be a ‘resting pose’.  This will sound ridiculous in your first few classes as your arms and shoulders will ache like hell, it won’t feel like  a rest at all.  But remember, back to that thing called ‘perseverance’ – after a few weeks, it WILL feel like a rest, as your head is below your heart (good for getting the oxygen flowing and slowing down the heart) and you can always take child’s pose or lay our flat – there is nothing wrong with that at all.

4. Bodily Aromas
For some of you, you may indeed feel like you are ‘inside a fart’ as there can be some unusual smells and sounds in yoga.  Yes, some people are inclined to let a few go.  And yes, it’s not pleasant if you are in the firing line.  Some people cannot help it due to the poses and the fact that they are ‘releasing’ not just their muscles but their organs as well (Eeew. Sounds foul I know).  These occurrences are few and far between I have to say.  What you do want to watch out for though, are the ‘great unwashed habits of the public’ (as my father would say) – meaning that some people do stink.  And it is very unpleasant to be next to that person who has forgotten to have their daily scrub.  I recall one time a girl ahead of me ‘whooshing’ up into wheel with all her might and well, being downwind of that was just horrendous. Fortunately most yogis know the etiquette of hot yoga and studios are quick to have a ‘quiet word’ with those who are found to practising with that foul, unwashed whiff.

5. Get Out of My Space
Some classes are packed out.  So be prepared to literally have your mat about two inches from your neighbours.  Again, this is something that you will get used to, and soon you wont even notice they are there – unless you are experiencing point 4 (see above).  Just focus on yourself and find a spot in the mirror where you can concentrate.

6. Lululemon on Parade 
If you take hot yoga in Canada, you will be privy to a full fashion show of all the latest and greatest from yoga apparel conglomerate ‘Lululemon’.  Though they do make great clothes for hot yoga – be warned they are expensive.  You don’t need to prance about in all the latest Lulu get-up, Nike and Underarmour and other sports lines make just as good stuff.  But be warned there will be plenty of ‘Lululemononite’ girls floating about the studio – perfectly toned and tanned, primped and prepped.  If you are a guy, you will love it, and it will take your downward dogging to a whole new level.  If you are a girl, just use them as energy in your class as they are usually the pros and take up the whole of the front row.  Remember yoga is all about showing the love and sharing the energy – happy thoughts people!

7. You will want to Eat a Horse
Warning – the majority of you will be STARVING after your class, not to mention completely knackered out.  You will feel like you have been pummelled through a washing machine by a big and burly Sumo wrestler.  Hot yoga really does whip your ass.  But after you have showered and dressed, and as you wend your way home, you will start to feel  great – trust me.  You will have incinerated tons of calories/fat and will literally be ready to eat a horse. Just make sure your ‘horses’ are healthy choices of course.

8. The Morning After Yoga Hangover
Like most good things, the ‘morning after’ brings a variety of delights.  Your shoulders will ache like hell, your butt will know it’s had a work out and your legs will feel well and truly buggared.  But like most post workouts, that feeling will be a good one.  And before you know it, your flexibility (and maybe even your height) will have increased and you will be a fully fledged yogi!

Stick with it, get through the heat and those ‘whiffy smells’ will soon become a distant memory. Namaste.

Live, love and laugh lots, Mrs T.

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SuperBowl – SuperCharged not SuperFat!

Avo Guac Date Bars

Are you having a bit of a do for the Superbowl on Sunday? I must say all this Superbowl fervour is rather new to me, as it doesn’t seem to be such a big deal in the UK, it’s more about footy, tennis and cricket over there, either swilling beers in the pub or supping Pimms and champers at Wimbledon.  However, ‘when in Rome’…and I’m all about trying new things, plus Calgary seems to have Superbowl fever, so I will be heading to my first Superbowl party on Sunday. Now my fellow North Americans, I am well aware that wings and nachos are order of the day, however, I thought I would give Superbowl Sunday a bit more of a healthier spin.  It doesn’t have to been a processed food feasting fest, hell no.

In fact I’m going to share with you two of my recipes that I happened to concoct in my kitchen just this week.  And yes, of course they are healthy and bloody delicious too!  While I am all for a chicken wing or three (make mine extra hot please), am not a fan of that yellow goop that is meant to be ‘cheese’.  I was even more horrified to learn that this so-called ‘cheese whizz’ comes out of either a jar or a can. Eew. No thanks, not for this Brit, give me a helping of Marmite please over that stuff.  So instead, why not try some of my delish Pea Guacamole? This recipe came about as I didn’t have enough avocados so I thought I’d try a few frozen peas as a substitute, and yes, it was delish.

During half time, and the salt and protein fest of the wings and nachos is over, I’d be hankering for something sweet, so instead of the habitual chocco cookies, why not try these bad boys – my ‘Coconut Date Bars’.  They work best if you keep them in the freezer, as they are a bit too soft if you keep them in the fridge. Full of good stuff, no processed crap, gluten-free, grain free and no sugar.  It’s so easy when you know how – they won’t taste like cardboard, promise.

Enjoy the game, I no doubt won’t have a clue what’s going on, and if you really over do it, you could always burn off those extra calories with a sweat sesh of hot yoga followed by a cup of Smoojuice 😉 Just the ticket after all those wings – oooppphhh. Am sure your body will thank you.

Live, love and laugh lots, Mrs T.

Pea Guacamole 

Avo Pea Guac 2
What you’ll need:

3-4 avocados (nice and ripe)
1 cup frozen peas
2 small tomatoes
1/2 cup cilantro (that’s coriander to us Brits)
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp paprika
juice of half a lemon or lime
salt and pepper
a good slug of Frank’s Hot sauce or a few drops of Tabasco

Note: I love my guacamole really hot, so you may want to lessen the spices

Method:
De-skin and roughly chop up the avocados, roughly chop the tomatoes, run hot water over the frozen peas to thaw. Place all into food processor. Add the lemon juice, cilantro, spices and hot sauce – whizz up into a chunky mixture.  Taste.  Add more lemon / spices if needed.  Place in the fridge before serving so it’s nice and chilled.
Tip: If you have any leftover and want to store it in the fridge, place in a bowl and give the top a good squeeze of lemon to prevent the dip going a yucky brown, then cover with cling film.

Avo Pea Guac 1

Coconut Date Bars
Coconut Date Bars 4

What you’ll need:
1 cup pitted dates
1 cup mixed nuts – any nut will do, walnuts and almonds work well (not peanuts)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
3/4 un-sweetened shredded coconut
1 tbs organic coconut oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 tsp ground flax seeds/flax meal
2 tsp maca powder mix – see here for the product I use, you can also use raw cacao powder
2 tbsp water

Method:

Add nuts and seeds to food processor, whizz until crumbly. Add dates to food processor and 1 tsp of water – you need to ensure the mixture sticks together but is not too runny. Add the coconut oil and shredded coconut, whizz. Then add the vanilla, maca powder and the ground flax.  Again check to see if more water is needed, the mixture should’t be too runny or too crumbly.  Spoon the mixture into a flat dish.  I find a Pyrex baking dish to be the best. Smooth out to the edges.  Sprinkle the top with more macs powder and some regular flax seeds.  Place in the freezer for at least two hours.  Once firm, cut into squares and enjoy!

Coconut Date bars 2

Tip: keep the bars in the freezer as they get too soft in the fridge.  Take them out of the freezer about five minutes before you want to eat them.

Coconut Date Bars 3

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Running on Empty? No more! Top 10 Running Tunes

Are you a runner? Perhaps you are starting out as part of your new year’s resolution, or maybe, like me, you’ve been an avid runner for years.  Yes, I like to run, in fact I love it.  But there is a small little caveat to this bold statement: I love to run outside.  The time seems to whizz by and before you know it, you’ve clocked about 30-40 minutes all with the added bonus of fresh air and plenty of things to look at/enjoy/focus on as you run. However, I really dislike running inside on the dreaded treadmill.  Ughhhh. I stare at the time willing it to go by faster and hit that 20 minute mark.  20 minutes is about my maximum, I get so bored and am absolutely thrilled when it’s over.

I live in Canada, so during the winter we experience the wonderfully sub zero temperatures, this Polar Vortex people keep complaining about? Oh please, pipe down, that’s nothing for us Canucks -15 is virtually tropical for us , try -30 or more plus that dreaded ‘wind chill’ which makes it feel positively arctic.  So of course, come October I have to take to running indoors at the gym, for about five months – ughhhh again.  But all is not lost, I have found that music is my saviour for getting me through as I pound away, avidly watching the clock.  Yes music and exercise is no new phenomenon, I realize that, but the type of music you listen to can really make or break a run.  Honestly chaps, it really can! Studies have been done on it – it can increase your performance by a whopping 15%!

So here goes, these are my go-to tunes, that ensure I have a great sweat sesh and not want to whip out after one measly minute.  So go on, download these bad boys to your pod, turn up the volume, lace up those runners and get ready to go for it – enjoy!

Live, love and laugh lots, Mrs T.

LMC_jumping_mountains

Mrs T’s 10 Top Running Songs:

1. Boys of Summer – Don Healy

2. St Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion) – John Parr – AMAZING tune! My favourite

3. Blow Me (One Last Kiss) – Pink

4. Sunglasses – Divine Brown

5. The Edge of Glory – Lady Gaga

6. Latch (feat. Sam Smith – Disclosure

7. Get Lucky – Daft Punk/Pharrell Williams

8. Super Bass – Nicki Minaj

9. Waiting all Night (feat. Ella Eyre) – Rudimental

10. Look Around – Red Hot Chilli Peppers

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The “Ooh ahh” of the Who-ha – Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

Yes this post is for all the ladies out there.  We’re talking about lady parts and a very important subject – cervical cancer. Did you know January is Cervical Cancer Awareness month? No neither did I. But it all happens to tie in well, as I’m due for my annual smear test (or ‘pap test’ as they say in North America) on Monday.  Over here in Canada, it’s great because you have your smear test as part of your annual physical – something I wish they would start (or re-start?) in the UK.

So your annual pap might fill some of you ladies with utter fear – but not me, no. Yes, yes, I know, I know, it’s never pleasant to have your legs a-kimbo up on the examination table and having your doc poke and prod about your nethers.  Of course not, it’s never going to be the best experience to have, but just think of it this way: your doctor performing your annual smear test could save your life.  It’s something that every woman should and MUST have done.  Once a year.  End of. 

I had my first one when I was a mere spring chicken at the tender age of 21 (well over ten years ago – gulp). It was at my university’s students union, in a very basic clinic.  They didn’t even offer me a towel to cover my modesty, so you can understand how even more nervous I felt about the whole episode, not to mention feeling very ‘exposed’ – the draft wasn’t pleasant either sat on that cold, hard bed I can tell you.  I was utterly relieved to see the doctor was of the female variety, as I probably wouldn’t have gone through with it if the she had been a he. What made it worse was the doctor was asking me all about my impending exams with questions like ‘how is the studying going?’, trying to distract me, all the while she was shinning a bright light down there and digging about looking for and at god knows what.  All in all, not a great experience, and rather painful too.  But, as I said earlier, it has to be done, towel or no towel, male or female doctor.  My first results came back ‘inconclusive’, which of course totally freaked me out – and right before those ruddy exams too.  But I soon learned there was nothing to worry about, they just needed to ‘get more cells’.  ‘Oh great’ I thought, another session of digging about my nether region, just what the doctor ordered – literally.

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make, is that young girls must still be made aware of how important it is to get these tests done annually.  Soon after I had my first pap test, the UK moved the age that young girls get tested, making women wait until they were 25.  I never did understand why they did this.  Then came the tragic story of Jade Goody – a UK reality TV star of Big Brother.  Jade was the source of much tabloid fodder during the early 2000s, often ridiculed and trashed by the media.  But love her or hate her, Jade’s story was not only tragic – she was diagnosed with cervical cancer and eventually died in 2009, with it all filmed as part of her reality show – it had a grey impact on the UK: her death made the British health services sit up and listen in terms of cervical cancer screening for young females.  Of course what followed was a huge amount of coverage and campaigns urging young girls to go and get the test done.  When caught early, cervical cancer can be treated, so getting the test done is vital.

Taken from: http://emilayusof.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/cervicalcancer.jpg

There has also been numerous protests across Canada petitioning the health services about NOT lowering the age that young women should get tested.  To me it would seem absurd to not have these simple, life-saving tests done, because that’s what they truly are.  Life saving.

So, no matter how unpleasant it is ladies – please tell your female friends, daughters, nieces, neighbours to make that appointment and ensure they get checked.   A few minutes of feeling exposed and having your lady parts given the once over is worth it.  Trust me, your Who-Ha will thank you for it.

Until next time,
Live, love and laugh lots, Mrs T. 

really-big-knickers-i-love-being-a-girl-3321180-1152-864

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Hot Yoga – Why should you try it?

Yoga.  Yes like me, I bet it’s something that you’ve been ‘meaning to try for years’, but have never quite got around to it? Don’t get me wrong, I too used to think yoga was all about tofu-eating ‘hippy trippy’ types wearing hemp-made clothing, whilst floating about in a haze of love and peace, ruminating about the ‘the meaning of life’.  Well I’m here to tell you that’s old school, and anyone who’s anyone is giving yoga a go.  And not just any old yoga, I’m talking about hot yoga.

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Wheel 

There’s lots of different types of yoga out there, Bikram, Ashtanga, Power, Vinyasa Flow, Hatha, Moshka, this list goes on and on. To be honest, I’m not 100% clear on the differences in all of them, but good old Google has helped with that, and this article gives you a good guide. What I want to do is share with you my journey into hot yoga and why you should give it a try…and ok, here’s my own ‘hippy trippy’ alert.  Hot yoga has honestly changed my life.

Bow
Standing Bow or ‘Dancers’ Pose 

It all started five years ago when I moved to Calgary in Alberta.  Hot yoga is hugely popular over here, with many hot yoga studios to choose from. I was introduced to a friend at an event and she explained to me about hot yoga and how I should give it a try.  I’m always up for a new exercise or activity, so sure I went along.  All I can say is – WOW. Your first class is like doing a ridiculous amount of moves in a sauna.  It literally kicks your butt – but in a good way. Yes it’s bloody hot and yes it’s bloody hard the first few classes – the room is heated to 105F/40C and is about 40-50% humidity.  However, don’t be put off  as it does get better! Much better in fact, the more you go, the more you will notice changes in not just your body, but your mind as well.  You really learn to control your breath which believe me can help you out big time in stressful situations (more about this in a future blog post).  Most classes are either 75 or 90 minutes – again, don’t let that put you off.  The hot yoga I love is called ‘Vinyasa Flow’ and in the first twenty minutes you will go through a series of ‘sun salutations’ – check this video to see exactly what these are. Sun salutations are a great form of cardio and really get your heart going. You then ‘flow’ through a series of poses – standing, back bending and inversions to slowly but surely open your muscles and realign every part of your body.

Camel
Camel Pose                                

Each and every class is different, as our bodies change from day to day, so in one class you might be able to nail a pose and then the next time your balance might be off, but stick with it, this is totally normal and why yoga is amazing.  It is never the same, each class is different.  My one big tip to you is for the first classes at least, if you feel overwhelmed, lie out, on your back and rest (like you are sun bathing) and stay in the room so that your body gets used to the heat.  Do not leave!  No matter how much you want to.  Trust me, you will persevere, you will get better and you will love hot yoga.

After five years, I have never felt more energized. I have always suffered from upper back and shoulder problems from a car accident I was in years ago. I look forward to each and every class and I have never been more flexible, I feel taller and my core and muscles are much more toned than they used to be.  At the moment I am doing a 15 day ‘Yoga Challenge’ which means you practice for 15 days straight.  I’ve been practising at my two favourite yoga studios in Calgary – Calgary Hot Yoga run by the lovely Craig and Hot Yoga on 17th run by the effervescent Elmira – both are amazing, I just love going to them.  Tomorrow is day 14 of 15 – am so happy to complete it – it was one of my new year’s resolutions – so ‘check’ – I’ve nailed that one chaps!

If you’re still unsure, here below is ‘Mrs Thomas’s Five Top Tips’ on why you should try hot yoga.

Until next time…Live, love and laugh lots.
Namaste, Mrs T.

Fixed_Firm
Fixed Firm Heroes Pose

Mrs Thomas’s Five Tips to Try Hot Yoga:

  1. Full Body Workout. Hot yoga gives you a full body workout – cardio, strength, resistance, stamina and stretching all in one go.  It incinerates calories and burns body fat like you wouldn’t believe.
  2. Detoxification. The heat and humidity means you will sweat – a lot! The sweating is a great detox for the skin, and the poses specifically target areas to help rid you of toxins.  It’s a complete cleanse inside and out.
  3. Hydration! You need to make sure you are nicely hydrated throughout the day, so by doing hot yoga it naturally encourages you to up your water intake – we all know we have to gulp down at least eight glasses of H2O a day!
  4. Better sleep.  Need to catch up on your Zzzz time? Hot yoga can hep with this.  Again, many of the poses help to reset your sleep -wake cycle, so after a class you can be sure to feel rested and ready for a great night’s sleep.
  5. Stress less.  Hot yoga focuses on the ‘Ujjayi breath’ which is breathing through your nose, using your whisper muscles at the back of your throat – some instructors call is ‘Darth Vader breathing’. This type of breathing helps to slow your heart beat and calm your mind.  It teaches you a great way to calm yourself down when you are off the mat and in stressful situations.
  6. And finally – ok so there’s one more tip! Shop! You will need some decent hot yoga gear.  Think tank tops and capri workout legging and shorts.  Guys – you can just wear shorts.  So it’s an excuse to head to LuluLemon or another sports shop like Sport Chek and buy yourself some great new gear.  Trust me, you will need decent sports wear that is designed to wick away sweat, as I mentioned above, you will be doing this – a lot.

What will you need?
A mat, a towel, a water bottle and tons of enthusiasm!

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January 24, 2014 · 4:30 am