What I love about blogging and why you should start one if you haven't already

Blogging has become the means for people both young and old to express themselves. Once upon a time, people were confined to whatever space the editor had available in a newspaper. Now there is an infinite amount of space to say what needs to be said, and a number of ways to get your message out there.

This year's PR assignment to create a write a blog every week was the first time I had ever thought about blogging. Unlike many people in their 20s and 30s, I am completely clueless when it comes to the internet. Sure I know how to send an e-mail, check my facebook, and search the web, but when it comes down to actually using the internet to my advantage I chose to stay away – I’m paranoid about screwing up my computer. But I was thrust right into the heat of things with this assignment; in class we set-up our blogs, and ta-da my work was officially online.

In order to write at least one interesting blog post a week I needed to find something that I’m passionate about. It was pretty hard to decide what I cared most about and what I had enough knowledge about that I could sustain over a long period of time. I really enjoyed asking myself, what do I care about and how can make other people care about it?

After days of throwing back and forth ideas, I decided I would blog about health and wellness. The topic of health and wellness comes from my love for being active and trying new things to stay healthy. But health and wellness is way more than how physically active a person is; it includes so many other facets that I feel people forget about because of the “get fit, eat healthy” rhetoric that has exploded in the media. I saw this blog as a chance to inform young people, and hopefully all sorts of people, that in order to be healthy they need to think not only about physical health, but also need to think about their health in terms of the mental and emotional health, a good blog to read on love is Kiran’s; social, spiritual, occupational, cultural and environmental healths, another good blog is Sandy’s on her struggle to be green in suburbia. I feel people have this misconception that they if work out they are healthy, when in fact there are so many areas of your life that can be unhealthy that can leave you vulnerable to disease.

I really love that every week I get to post a blog about a different health issue I feel is important. Some may feel that my blogs jump all over the place, but like I said, health and wellness includes so many aspects of our lives. My topic also leaves room to discuss other issues that I’m passionate about that I felt when setting up my blog would have been too hard to sustain. I can talk about environmental issues, different social issues and its importance in people lives, and many more things I feel are important or that my audience wants to know about.

My blog allows me to be creative and give people information they may not hear about in the world of mass media and information. In turn blogging has led me to other blogs on various different subjects and has opened my eyes to opinions and stories that I may have never seen.

Check out the top 11 reasons why to start a blog http://www.markevanstech.com/2009/07/12/11-reasons-why-blogs-still-matter/
It's better than a top ten list.


Never too late to get in shape!

This is what my dad looks like now. Can you imagine that only 15 months ago he weighted 75 pounds heavier? Now he won’t tell me how much he weighted before but you can really tell the difference from what he loving refers to as his fat photos.

For 23 years of my life, I can honestly tell you that I don’t remember my dad ever once doing any physical activity. Back when he was in high school he was frighteningly skinny weighting in at a whooping 118 pounds with 23’ waist – that was probably the last time the phrase physical activity entered his brain.

But you know, it really wasn’t that hard in the end to encourage him to change his mind about being active and eating healthy. In our family, we have a high incidence of heart attacks. My dad’s father had a few massive heart attacks during his 50s and 60s that nearly claimed his life; my dad was plagued by high blood pressure and cholesterol, so the odds weren’t looking too promising that he would elude a heart attack.

My mom tried for years to get him to change his eating and physical activity, but he really didn’t have any motivation to change. Like a lot of people, he probably felt that it wouldn’t happen to him. Luckily it didn’t. I intervened before anything could. I’m not ashamed to say I played the daughter card; I told him I really wanted him to be around for a while to see the milestones that I would one day achieve (before he got too old anyway). I told him that at the rate he was going with his health there was a very good chance that at heart attack would take him away from us before his old age could.

To my amazement he agreed. When we spoke, I came fully prepared with numbers of a gym that I felt would work really well for him. I hooked him up with Barb Cajas, who is a kinesiology professor at The University of Winnipeg and co-owner of Core Training & Therapy at 107-912 Portage Avenue. At Core they have wonderful personal trainers, and to tell you the truth if my dad didn’t have the support and motivation from his trainers and the staff I doubt he would have shed the weight he has. They’ve taught him more than just the mechanics of working out; they’ve taught him about eating healthy and the importance of incorporating physical activity into all facets of his life both in and out of the gym. And you know what else, he has less old guy pain than he did before.

The important thing about my dad’s story is that you’re never too old. Not only are you never to old, but also it’s also never too late, no matter your age or how unfit you’ve been, to change your life in a drastic way and become a healthier you.

*Check out the video on the top right hand corner of Core's Home page


Buyer beware - Halloween Safety Squad

Since my days of trick-or-treating, which was a while ago, things have changed a lot. I remember every October I would was so excited to decide what I wanted my costume to be, find the pattern, and help my mom put it all together. Sometimes in order to really bring my costumes to life I had to use face paints. From what I can remember, not a lot of thought went into choosing the right face paint for my sensitive skin. My mom and I never debated which product went on the best, which would stay on all day at school and still be on when I went out trick-or-treating, which would come off the easiest, which one wouldn’t irritate my skin, which one wouldn’t come off after sweating underneath my costume and my parka, and which one would come out of my clothes if I just so happened to get it all over.

These days, after my skin was red and raw from the ingredients and scrubbing the stuff off, consumers are beginning to look out for products that could potentially be harmful for their children. What better way to take the guess work out of choosing the “best” face paint for parents than by getting five students from Red River College to submit their skin and their dignity to rigorous testing. Stacia, Angèle, Kiran, Jeremy, and I tested the six most common face paints we found at places like Walmart, Superstore, Value Village, Dollarama, and Party Stuff.

Trusting Angèle’s purchasing abilities, the group sent her out to these five main retailers that we thought parents were most likely to purchase Halloween supplies and costumes from. She came back with six different brands: Lucky Art, Fun World, Seasons, Danson Décor, and Dollarama.

For five days we tested out different face paints. Every morning before class we met to decide what we would paint on our faces that day and who would paint our faces. After the first day we all decided that Angèle would be in charge of application because, and I’m sorry to rest of the group, she was the best. It was difficult to have my face painted everyday. People would stare and ask, “How can I get my face painted?” Unfortunately, it was just for a project so we couldn’t get many other people involved. After each day we were required to fill out a survey on each brand answering and grading each of the six criteria we were testing.

Over the course of the five days, I had lots of fun working on this project. Our group worked really well together to complete our designated sections, which I find is often difficult because some people end up doing more than others. I found that our work was pretty evenly divided. Angèle was in charge of purchasing and summarizing what our research would entail; Stacia made the template so that at the end of each day we could grade each category and make observations, and she also wrote the intro for the project. Kiran took on one of the biggest jobs; she took all the data we had collected and found the common results to decided which product was the best and the worst. Jeremy G. spoke with our experts’ dermatologist Dr. Minuk and face paint specialist Simbo the clown. It was Jeremy’s idea to talk to a clown and I think this was an interesting angle to include. Lastly, I was in charge of washing clothes. It was my job to see how well the paints come out of clothing. I had two cotton samples for each brand. I sprayed one with Spray ‘n Wash and the other I left as is, and after the first and second wash I recorded what happened.

After a week of walking around with our faces’ painted, a winner was finally declared: Lucky Brand from Party Stuff come out on top with a rating of 8.9 out of ten. We choose this one because it scored the best out of all our six criteria, but it also stood out in one criteria we hadn’t expected, which the ability of the paint to stand out on darker skin. I felt so bad for Kiran because every other product we tried looked absolutely horrible on her skin. The colours did not go on well, or even last till the end of the day.

We had nothing bad to say about the Lucky Art brand. The only thing was that we needed to be really careful about touching our face or putting objects near the painted area. The day we used Lucky Art I was talking on my phone and when I hung up I noticed that the face paints had gotten all over it. Fortunately all I needed to do was wipe it off. The whole day I remember being worried that I was smearing the paint and that I would look even more ridiculous than how I started, but the little bit of paint that came of didn’t affect the drawing the was one my face.

We believe this is the best product for parents who are looking for a good product for their kids, but are not looking to spend too much money. Halloween can become quite expensive for families once you’ve bought costumes and candies, so we know that some people don’t want to spend tons of money on something their child will use only once. For $1.99 parents can be sure that their buying their kids’ a quality product that will last, will go on easily and brightly, will not bug their skin, will come out of their clothes, and can hold up after a night of running from house to house with their parkas on.


I think you should take Provencher, Wookey

Recently my mornings have been a lot better. I’ve been laughing my butt off and having a great time before I get to school with my carpool mates. For the first couple of weeks I had a car to drive to school because my parents were away for a month. But that month is up and I won’t have too many chances to get a car. I could get rides to school with my brother, Ian, but he’s there a lot earlier then me except when I start early.

So needless to say I was a little worried that I was going to have to start taking the bus at some insanely ridiculous time before sunrise when it’s -40˚. I have no idea why but after living in Winnipeg all my life I’m still not cut out for winter.

I was wondering what in the world I could do to avoid taking the bus, to save some money, and ease my conscious about unnecessarily wasting fossil fuels. A brilliant idea struck me as I was walking alone to my car one day; I thought I should see if anyone from class who lives in my area wants to carpool. I knew whom to ask. Since the first day I knew basic background info on all the people in my class.

I ended up getting a really awesome group of people to carpool. With the phenomenal Jérémie Wookey as our driver, Alexa, Angèle, and I get safely to school every morning. Carpooling is a great way to socialized in the morning when I feel the most angry and irritated – I’m not a great morning person. I have such a good laugh with these people that I quickly snap out of my bitterness. Also, I think it’s a great way to keep my mind active and sharp all the while being happy and positive. I wonder if anyone else thinks this way?

Although we haven’t worked it out quite yet, I think carpooling will end up being cheaper than getting a monthly bus pass, which costs $58.30 a month. I think if we end up getting this parking spot we want it might cost $40 each a month including gas. This works a lot better because taking the bus in this city is painful.

Even better then saving some extra cash, though, is the fact that we took single-person vehicles off the road, which reduces emissions. I think more people should consider carpooling, and I challenge anyone to not notice a difference in their mornings, a difference in their pocketbooks, and a difference in the amount of cars on the road. But not enough people consider this an option, and the city presents no incentives to even try it. If you’re like me, I like to make the most of my time in the morning and sometimes carpooling can end up taking awhile, but if the city installed carpool lanes traffic could go at a much quicker pace. I think it’s great that the city is encouraging people to leave their cars at home and take their bikes with all the new bike lanes and pathways, but really not that many people ride their bikes’ to work in the winter. As a winter town, god I hate saying that, the city needs generate interest in carpooling and make it appealing to people to do so. Unfortunately people need to know what’s in for them before they even consider making a change. But I can tell you that your mental, social, physical, and environmental healths’ will improve all because carpooling creates an environment where there is less stress, more fun and interaction with others, and less wasted fossil fuels.

Find out how many people that you work or go to school with live near you? You might be surprised at what you find.


I wish I had more time...

It’s the fifth week of school and already my activity level has dropped like 50 percent. I’m still trying to run so I can drop everything from school, work, and life for an hour so I can think about absolutely nothing. I don’t know about the rest of you, but my brain actually hurts when I get home from school everyday. All I want to do is sit on the couch and read the paper or just watch TV. I feel frustrated and down on myself that I haven’t been hitting the gym and doing weights, but after a few hours of doing work the last thing I want to do is grab my gym-bag. And it’s not like I have so much to do that I’m overwhelmed, I just miss my old routine and now I’m struggling to find one that will work better for me. But I guess this is the best time to figure it out. This is the kind of schedule my life will take from now on, and I have to get use to fitting my priorities around a busy work schedule.

This program is nothing like university where I could pick and choose my class times and have spares throughout the day that would accommodate my need to go to the gym. It’s become a whole different ball game and I realize certain things may need to be pushed aside, moved, or forgotten about until I do the work that needs to be done. I need to overcome this mentality that if I can’t do something when I want to do it I just won’t do it at all. I need to schedule and make a list of my priorities outside of school that I want to accomplish every day or every other day and stick with it – this will be my personal challenge.

Here's some advice from the experts about using time wisely.